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I have POA of both my parents. They are overall competent about most things except spending. It's nothing frivolous like cars, but if my mom thinks she needs THREE pairs of glasses, she will go to her old eye doctor (from when she had money) and buy three pairs of her liking. My dad likes to eat out, and doesn't think about what he's spending. These behaviors are unlikely to change. Both my parents have recently gotten permanently disabled and as a consequence have unsettled debts and only live on SS, and they are used to upper middle class living. Because of their debts, they don't have anything of their life's work to show for it. I'm working to get them additional support, but they spend way more than they make every month. I have hardly any money myself (I'm 21), and I cannot spend the next 20 years paying their bills for them. I'm willing to pay myself a daily money manager or someone to give allowances, watch their bank account, and help them budget their SS income on top of their massive healthcare expenses. I hardly know how to manage my own finances, and I'm terrified of screwing them over unknowingly. This keeps me up at night, and I even had a breakdown yesterday because I'm so scared they will spend themselves onto the streets.


Does anyone know where to find someone in South Dakota? How do you manage your parents' finances? How do you control their spending?

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If you are 21 your parents must be fairly young. You need to move on and live your life. If your parents are of sound mind, they are making their own bad decisions and will have to live with the results. DO NOT pay any of their bills. At some point they'll have to apply for Medicaid and their retirement won't by very nice. Learn from this. Get a job, save your money, live to your means and someday have a nice retirement. Do NOT let them drag you down and hold you back from all life has to offer!!
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Good evening aj,
You sound like such a responsible person, but you are feeling like you are drowning because what you are trying to do is way too much for you. I won’t say it is impossible, but at 21, it is hard to believe that you will manage to pull this off. We had to take over my parents’ finances years ago because of a similar situation and they were about to lose their house, but we were all in our 40’s and had years of experience in making our own financial decisions and budgets. 
     My sister, who is a CPA, was the obvious choice to be in charge and she did it for years, guiding them through a bankruptcy, and trying to recover money that my father squandered. She became so stressed that she almost had a nervous breakdown and it hurt her marriage, so she passed it on to my older brother. He had similar issues until he took total control and arranged it so they were unable to access their money without his approval. That is the only thing that saved my parents from losing everything, but not before my father took out an equity loan on the house. We have no idea where this money went. 
    Even with these safeguards, managing someone else’s money and welfare is a huge undertaking, and I have seen him too stressed out over insurance, medical bills, taxes, etc., and that is even with the rest of us helping him with it.
       My first thought is that you need more help than the wonderful people on this forum can give. Many of them have a lot more experience than I have with this, and hopefully they can give you more places to turn, but I think you may want to start with Adult Protective Services. Don’t take no for an answer. Is there any other relative to give advice? Call your local APS. You need some actual boots on the ground support in all this. I was very concerned with your description of being crushed by a wall of water. At 21, that would have been my feeling too, if I had had to face what you are trying to do. Please come back to tell us how you are doing.
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My thoughts:
-Make all income direct deposit.
-Set up expenses (all that can be) as auto bill-pay from same account.
-Cancel all debit, credit and ATM cards.
-Provide them with a pre-paid card for monthly or weekly expenses not covered by auto bill-pay.
---- If you don't live near them, I think you can set up auto bill-pay to pay you directly (into your bank account) thru pay-pal for the cost of the pre-paid card, which you can then mail to them. (Keep very good documentation in case they will need Medicaid.)
-Direct all paper bills and other important mail to your address so you're not 'chasing' down issues/problems.

All of the above is with the understanding that they wouldn't actually try to go to the bank and make withdrawals themselvs.
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Hi AJ, I see your Dad has dementia and is living in Assisted Living. Where is the money for that coming from? Do they have assets but not much income? Where does Mom live? Would she agree to 'go on a budget'?
Understand that you are NOT responsible for their bills. Still helping them to conserve and live within their means is a worthwhile endeavor. One idea that has been tossed around is to remove all credit/debit cards from their possession and provide them with a VERY low balance card. If you think they need daily monitoring, I doubt even that would work.
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I am surprised no one suggested an elder law attorney. If Dad has Dementia, then his POA kicks in. Mom, it depends on how the strke effected her reasoning. An attorney will tell ur rights. Suggestions having bills paid electronically withdrawn is good idea. You can monitor from your computer. Maybe you can transfer their money to a new acct that they can't withdraw from.
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I don't pay bills for them out of my own pocket, but I still have to sit down and sift through their finances for them, write their checks, call insurance companies, etc. Both of them are living in a townhome now, but who knows how long that will last. (I updated my profile's information.)

My biggest fear is I set them loose to only to go live my life but then have to drop everything and come home because I find out they're on the streets or something. I feel like it's a deal with now or later kind of situation and I feel so trapped. Some days I feel like I'm laying on the bottom of the ocean trying to breathe under the weight of miles of water. I'm miserable, and it's affecting my ability to well at work, school, and at home with my boyfriend. 
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Do they have property? Can they sell their home to downsize and reduce dept? If they are disabled do they have issues where they are living? One recommendation is that you absolutely do not take them in or go live with them. There are too many posts about that
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AJ, your parents' situations is extremely unusual. They are both very young for their respective conditions. Their financial situation sounds like a minefield. And you are 21.

Given the complexities and the risks, and while I hate to stereotype, my first guess is that this is WAY above what would be any kind of reasonable expectation of your administrative skills. Find out what their alternative options are. If you vote with your feet and resign your POA, you will probably find that the state will step in and they will be assigned a court-appointed guardian.

I'm sure you do want to stay involved, and I'm sure you love them very much, and that will remain the case - you won't be barred from contact with them, or anything unthinkable like that. But this is a crazy burden of responsibility: not fair on you, risky for them. Get help!
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AJ, please take the advise offered her, elder law attorney, Adult Protective Services and other family members. To help someone that has a lifetime of bad decision making about money is truly impossible. My dad worked hard, made good money and spent more than he earned habitually, now you can fit everything he owns in tha back of a pick up and it doesn't even go above the bed. So sad and so expected, this is the end result of poor financial management. I am now in control of his money, I pay his bills, he is in assisted living so his food , utilities etc are all inclusive. I take him to Wal-Mart 2x monthly so he can buy dog food, treats for himself, clothing etc and all of this is done from the 75.00 a month cash I give him for what bots above. I bring him all of his personal hygiene items which I buy using his money. I took all of his debit, CC and acct numbers to make it as hard as possible for him to get at his money. By doing this I have been able to pay outstanding debts as well as start putting a little into savings for what it's. I do this without payment, I figure that I would rather pay his debts then myself, make sure if you charge your parents there is a contract for the agreement, be very clear about what services you will provide and how much compensation you will receive for these services, put a time frame and renew contract annually. If you don't then if your parents need Medicaid any money you received could be viewed as gifts and create penalties for them, like no benefits type penalties, very serious.

Best of luck to you in this difficult situation, I pray that you find very good help and a way to have a Happy fulfilled life while loving and caring for your parents.
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I hope that you take my comments with the long view on your life. Guilt for other's self-destructive behaviors is a normal reaction. Also believing that you can fix their lifetime of financial behaviors is unrealistic--I know this personally.
While their behaviors are painful, I suggest you have little control over preventing them. I suggest that you consult with a certified elder law attorney to find out your legal options for their problems, given they are relatively young.
Most importantly, you might benefit from working with a therapist or join a group that focuses on problems with aging parents. Don't let societal norms of children's responsibilities for their parents bog you down.
in closing, a money manager can't control their spending. However, it could give you a better picture of their habits.
In closing, you are in a difficult situation, one that you alone can't solve.
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