How to protect your retirement from your parents

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Sclass »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:43 pm
I didn't read the article. However, part of this retirement discussion has to be health care directive related. This needs to go beyond the idea of DNR/DNI.
I have a little experience with this. I can give some info for CA. Policy varies by state.

My backstory is my dad didn’t want the kids having much control. So he made sure mom didn’t sign any DPOA, DNR, will etc. while she was lucid. I got a couple of POAs for small financial accounts that he filled to pay small bills. He likes control. He always reminded me I didn’t have legal authority to do anything more than personally look after mom. Yeah he’s a dick.

As I went through the process of seven years of caring for mom I learned slowly and the hard way that a lot of this doesn’t matter. I got mom a DNR signed just by me called a POLST. I put mom into hospice without a DPOA even though you’re supposed to have one. I signed alone.

I also learned I could just drop her off at the nearest Medicaid facility for broke old folks and be done with her without any authorization. Yeah, there’s what the lawyers say and reality. I used this threat to get my dad to give me access to his big pots of money and I started the 24/7 $250k/yr care team. He got really upset that I forced his hand but as I say it has been a seven year war or chess game of sorts. I basically said, here is the first monthly bill for $20k, I need money or else I drive mom to the shittiest home in LA and sign her in.

I wasn’t going to pay for this. I was already giving my time.

I loved my mom but I had to find a way for mom and dad to pay for the care. They are rich after all. Dad wanted to dump it on me since I was rich in his eyes. I think he secretly wanted to financially ruin me too because he was bitter that I achieved independence on my own and made my freedom before he lured me back. I’ll never know. I don’t have esp.

At the end I put mom into hospice. Home hospice. One signature. Mine. I buried her. One signature. Mine again. I gathered up all her assets. One signature again. Mine. No DPOA, no will, no living trust no DNR.

Funny how reality works out versus what we are told by our controllers.

In the aftermath I wondered how my dad put my wealthy and independent (very lucid) grandparents into care in their 90s. They wanted to stay at home but they went to an institution at my dad’s hand. Kicking and screaming. I asked my uncle and he said they just dropped them off and signed them in. No DPOA, no wills, no trust no DNR. My grandfather was more manipulative and more stubborn than my dad. The old man fell and died while trying to escape. The only explanation I have for this is the rules really ain’t the rules.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by fiby41 »

They should publish another article on How Sticky Pop-ups Can Ruin Your Website — and How to Make Sure They Don’t.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by classical_Liberal »


I read along with your situation with mother. Indeed, you handled it in the best possible way imaginable given the circumstances. You should be proud!

My comment is more to suggest that this conversation needs to be had vs the legalities of it all. In a reasonable healthy situation, I would hope at least one family member would adhere to what a person 's preference for late life care. It's much easier to do this if it has been written out in advance. Dementia/Alzheimer's is particularly brutal if the person suffering from the illness is otherwise healthy. Still, for me personally, in those circumstances, I would not want to be admitted to the hospital for any medical treatment. Comfort only for me, and if I succumb to an easily treated pneumonia, so be it. I know my mother feels the same way, since I know this, I can direct her care appropriately should that situation ever arise.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Sclass »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:33 pm
My comment is more to suggest that this conversation needs to be had vs the legalities of it all. In a reasonable healthy situation, I would hope at least one family member would adhere to what a person 's preference for late life care. It's much easier to do this if it has been written out in advance.
Got it. There is nothing like getting things out on the table up front. It’s all about communication and expectation.

I’ve been witness to and been involved in these conversations. Some went really well and had great outcomes. Others, like with my parents were a waste of time. My mom was in denial. Once dementia starts there is a narrow window where a person will be rational and receptive. Beyond that they are blissfully ignorant of their predicament. My dad just played into this because he wanted to control mom and the home beyond their divorce.

One that comes to mind was a childless grand aunt who refused any help from my family and insisted on checking herself into assisted living. She ended up passing fifteen years later in the same facility in their nursing wing. The only thing we needed to worry about was eating at the cafeteria with her once a month. I recall the food being good but the environment was sad.

For my family and my wife’s family we’ve have met a lot of resistance. Our fathers are stubborn businessmen. They are all about control and getting their way. It doesn’t seem to matter that they cause a headache for others down the road.

It all depends on the person I guess.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Solvent »

Hey. Can I just chime in to say, and I have thought this in other threads but not outright said it, thanks to Sclass for sharing so much of his experience. I feel like I've learnt a lot.

For what it's worth, I know my mother is vocal frequently about not wanting extensive medical support towards the end of her life. My father, well, I don't recall that he's said anything on the matter. I have two other siblings that I trust deeply, that live close, so I hope our situation will not look the same. Also, at a later date, I hope I'll be closer to home, but one never can tell when things will happen. I really do fear that there's a chance that some emergency will happen and I'll be 24hrs+ worth of flying away.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I am now in semi-crisis mode with my mother's situation. I was at my BF's for a couple days and she had to call the fire department to get her out of her reclining lift chair, because it came unplugged. Actually, all they had to do was plug it back in for her, but they sent out 4 emergency workers to do it.

So, I picked up a copy of "How to Care for Aging Parents: Your One Stop Resource for All of Your Medical, Financial, Housing and Emotional Issues" by Virginia Morris, and based on reading 3 most relevant chapters and skimming everything else, I highly recommend.

For instance, she recommends that you consult with your parent regarding their preferences for Time(longevity) vs. Comfort vs. Lucidity vs. Mobility if/when it comes down to a choice between these options. Just reading this suggestion was very enlightening for me, because I instantly realized that I had been burning rubber attempting to work against my Mother's clear, strong preference for Comfort. As in, "Why will she not co-operate with her physical therapy? Doesn't she realize she will end up in a wheelchair and likely get another possibly deadly blood clot?" So, VERY helpful in revising my boundaries.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Jin+Guice »

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories. I haven't had these conversations with my family, but y'all are making me realize that I need to. I don't have a great relationship with my parents and have been avoiding them for the past decade, visiting as infrequently as possible. Thankfully I have a good relationship with my little sister who is a high income earner, very responsible and very reasonable.

Both of my parents have more than sufficient resources to make it through retirement, barring expensive end of life care. However, I don't trust them not to squander it. I'm particularly worried about my mother in this regard. This thread has inspired me to have some uncomfortable conversations in the next year, hopefully before my parents experience any serious health issues.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Lemur »

Interesting thread...well I don't have a bad relationship with my parents but not really a good one either. Its sort-of an arms-distance relationship. I think this stems from growing up without sometimes, not really being taught anything one-one as my parents were both working minimum wage full-time, and an overall lack of care upbringing. Not like bad but not really caring. My dad never had any kind of "talks" or anything like that. On a positive note, this way of growing up made me ferociously independent from a young age...and I grew up quickly and moved out at 18. With myself and 4 other siblings, full-time work and the like, time between child-parent relationship building was very limited. My mom's favorite words when asked "whats for dinner?" was "idk scrounge."

Now fast forward and I'm almost 30. My parents are divorced and no savings for either. My father doesn't take care of his health and he is falling apart as I write this post (in the hospital getting another toe / possibly foot amputated) because he let his diabetes out of control. My mother deals with depression, is obese herself, and barely making ends meet with my older brother and younger brother. My older brother is 40, never married, and is the stereotypical basement dweller (minus the basement). My younger brother is the same way and not independent in the least but this is due to some mental health issues as well.

I don't often think about my parents financial situation. As odd as this sounds, its very likely my father will pass away from health issues before my sister or I (the only two in the family responsible with money) will have to worry about it. I would be surprised if he lived another 10 years and likely he has 5 years left or so. My mother is someone we will have to worry about unless a health issue takes her too. My sister and I will have to gameplan this one. The best case scenario is if my mom can get herself to reach social security age (3 more years) to bring in some income. I can work with that but I'm not subsidizing anyone anytime soon unless a real effort is made by either to change.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Bankai »

Whatever you decide to do, don't do this: ... r-48105453

"A man who plotted to dump a vulnerable American pensioner in England so he could be treated for free on the NHS has been jailed."

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by CountHigh »

Interesting and heartbreaking stories in this thread. I guess much of the protection comes from the ability to deny unreasonable claims. Central question is which claims are unreasonable. And do your parents and siblings agree with your idea of reason. How about the rest of your (shared) social network? Yes, FIRE life might be a chink in your armor. Social animals as we are, this might mean more vulnerability via guilt and shame (that most of us want to avoid).

Just a couple of ideas how to fire back (half laugh). Doesn't necessarily bring up the party mood and always case specific:

1. How much did your parents do for their own parents? Do they expect you to be better than they were and why?
2. Does your help to your parents decrease the welfare of your children? How much are they willing to ask from them?
3. To which extent their current state is self-inflicted? Did they have bad luck (e.g. with health) or did they just spend it all as if there were no tomorrow?
4. To your siblings keeping up with Johanssons: Yes, I have a stash. But so do you. You could always sell your big house.
5. To your siblings working very hard: It seems you have already consumed what you have earned. You have committed yourself to selfishness! How could you be so arrogant!?! Now, take a loan and do your share.

I need to add that if my only living parent ever asked for help, I would always say yes. He is one of those heroic links in a chain of generations. He helped out his own aging parents, did very well as a parent, took care of my mother when she fell ill, managed to take care of his own retirement, and most probably finds it ridiculous that I would help him in his 70s. "Put me in a public institution when the time comes". His words. Of course, lots of luck there as well (and a welfare state). Whatever happens in the following decades, he managed to let the next generation invest to the future rather than the past. So I try to live up to that. So yeah, case-specific.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Kylinne »

You know, I think @unemployable has the best plan.
unemployable wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:32 pm
Maybe y'all need to get better parents.
I'm super thankfully mine have been fiscally responsibly and have taken care of their health (though that didn't help my dad much, sadly).
Sclass wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:54 am
I started the 24/7 $250k/yr care team.
Ooooof. Given that mom's side of the family seems to have a history of Alzheimer's/dementia, we will probably be looking at the same for her, eventually, in LA, too. (She can afford it on her own, though - she keeps us apprised of her finances, especially when the market goes down and she wails about going broke - she's not and we both know it.) I don't think I could emotionally deal with caring for my mom long-term - our relationship can often be described as temperamental - and while my sister might be able to do it, I think it would be a huge toll on her. Mom is in good shape at 75 (will probably be skiing with us this winter, still travels a bunch, still goes biking or walking almost daily which was something my dad made her do but now she's doing it on her own, and is now volunteering at the airport information booth and learning that yes, LA does have public transit), but would basically prefer going to a state with legal euthanasia laws if she ever really starts down the path of forgetting everything - we watched both my grandparents on her side be bedridden at the end of their lives, and it was heart-wrenching for everyone. I honestly expected her and my dad to live well into their 90s or 100s since both families are fairly long-lived (their plan had been to die in a plane crash, but unfortunately for them, commercial aviation is generally safe and they weren't flying in the 737-MAXs), but dad drowned in a freak accident last year (coroner said he was in amazing shape, especially for a 76 year old, so that's pretty cool - go dad).
unemployable wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:32 pm
I've fallen into spending winters with my mom (dad's dead) in her paid-for house on a golf course development on the Gulf Coast.
My sister and I do this a bunch, but at my parents' ski house. My sister can work from home so she can spend a lot more time up there than I can, but we both ski a bunch up there during the winter, usually spend a week or two up there for the winter holidays, and usually take a trip or two during the summer to hike or play on the lake or swim. My dad, sister, my spouse, and I used to go out skiing regularly, and we could occasionally still drag my mom out, though she skipped last year entirely.

All of this reminds me that I have an aunt and uncle on my dad's side with no kids, and my uncle is in his late 80s and starting to forget things, and my aunt is in her late 70s but in incredibly good shape (as is he - they walk regularly, and used to bike everywhere). I should probably talk to her about what she wants to do later on and if there's anything I can do to help, since even though she's likely perfectly fine living on her own for the next 10-20 years at least (her parents/my grandparents lived into their late 80s/early 90s with lung cancer and emphysema, and she doesn't smoke and is much more active), she may need help with things down the line, especially if my uncle passes, and I'm closest in temperament to my aunt. We'll probably see them for the holidays, so I should probably talk to at least my aunt about it then. She gave me a copy of their will last year at my dad's memorial, because I think her baby brother dying was a wake-up call to her, too, that everyone is getting older.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by thrifty++ »

This situation is quite a close one to home for me and something I am in the thick of grappling with now. Very stressful. I made a post on it earlier and then deleted it because of the personal nature and concerns anyone might identify it.

I have a very complex familial situation which makes these things harder to deal with. If it was a close knit and supportive family all based in the same city I think it makes these things much easier to deal with. The answer is quite clear, you group together and make it happen and factor it all in. But when you are a disparate dysfunctional family who is distant emotionally, financially and physically its all uncertain and a huge strain.

I found count-high's questions quite helpful and raises some things I didn't think of:

1. They actually did very little for their parents, which is not something I ever thought of. But a good point. Essentially placed them into a care facility and made occasional visits. Very little in the way of time resource and no financial resources committed. They did give a little bit more assistance with providing more things like baking meals etc, but then this was shared among 7 siblings, rather than just me being the only person here while other siblings live in other cities or countries. Their parents were also much more financially responsible so the financing was a bit easier I think. They do seem to expect more from myself. I could maybe contribute a little more than I am.

2. No kids, not relevant for me

3. I don't know that the state of health is lifestyle inflicted. That might be bad luck. However the financial state is. The saving grace is that given the housing crisis their home is literally 6 times they value they paid for it. Despite this they still have a mortgage bigger than what they actually paid for the house. Nonetheless its miniscule given the value of the house due to their good luck in this sense. But they could have been totally sorted if they hadn't spent the last 25 years buying boats, cars, skiing, big holidays overseas, year long holidays expensive dinners and parties all the time, one of them working one day a week only the whole time.

4 and 5. My siblings are pretty good actually. Most of us, 4 out of 5. We all work hard and are not spendthrift, although obviously none of the others are anywhere near my level of frugality but still not wasteful. I am the only one in the same city though. But due to high living costs we are all working at least full time with not much funds to spare nor time. So its hard to see how much we can do.

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Sclass »

Yeah thrifty++ I remember your story. Hope you’ve been doing well. Your step mother and your father have certainly made their own bed. I don’t think it is your responsibility to dig them out with your stash. Your step mom sounds like just the type who wants to have her cake and eat it too on your tab.

My father just had a crippling stroke. Luckily I’m not on the hook for this one. Step mom and half sis are carrying dad to the bathroom. Whew. :) I was having lunch with them when it happened. I hate to admit it but I was relieved when I walked out of the ER and caught my flight home. I slept all the way home. I did too much hospital time with my mom. Sleeping in the hard bedside chairs listening to the beeps. Now it’s their turn.

The Holliday season was always stressful with my mom. It is hard scheduling labor around those days. Caregivers for hire can be really unreliable around this time. They keep changing their minds about their schedules and they demand extra bonuses and pay advances to cover Turkeys and gifts for their families. One of our gals lost it when I changed the food accounting a few days before Thanksgiving and she wasn’t able to use it to buy her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Basically she panicked because I switched over to Amazon Fresh a on Nov. 20th and she’d counted on slipping in her turkey and ham on our tab like she did every year. The idiot was computer illiterate and lost her method of pilfering.

Then there were my lousy siblings with their “let’s pretend to be family” so they can feel good phone calls. “Hey, what did ya do on Thanksgiving/Christmas?” I stood in for mom’s people who wanted the day off, that’s what. While my family was partying I was literally elbows deep in sh.t.

The worst was meeting my sister at an extended family reunion this summer and having her early onset dementia ass ask me, “so what did you do for your 50th?” I couldn’t believe it. Mom died on my birthday and I sat their holding her hand while my siblings slept in their big mortgaged homes far away. She was really embarrassed and nervously said “oh yeah, right.”

Nobody took my money but they sure took my time.

I am really looking forward to Black Friday. I’m just going to go shopping to look at the decorations and relax. Stare at my reflection in those shiny globe ornaments. Maybe sit in Santa’s lap. :lol:

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Re: How to protect your retirement from your parents

Post by Ego »

@sclass, sorry about your dad. It is hard to see a parent suffering, regardless of the relationship.

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