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Sorry all, just venting because I am just so angry. My parents were irresponsible in saving for retirement and ended up with SSI as their only means of income. My mother passed last month and now one SSI check is gone. The thing is they could have had a sound retirement as my father made a very good salary but chose instead to spend it on cars, houses (moved a lot) and just really bad/short-sighted financial decisions. He told me he never thought his health would be bad and that he'd be working forever! My mother, when she was alive, said she never thought about the future. I found about their problems when they nearly went into foreclosure last year.


Now I have been trying to clean up the mess of credit card debt that will never be paid, managing my father's limited finances, and trying to figure out his long-term plan for housing since he's not NH ready/can't afford AL. It's overwhelming and made even more difficult because he's taken such a casual attitude about it.


I know the horse has left the barn, so to speak, but I think I'm just flabbergasted that a man who was seemingly so smart made such stupid decisions and now I have to deal with it. Seriously, I am awake most nights with worry and feeling overwhelmed. And I admit a shameful thought that I do hope he doesn't live for many years.


Anybody else in a similar situation and if so, how do you deal with it?


Thanks for the vent, all!

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Not in the same situation, but know many others who are.

Bogleheads.org is a great resource.

Please remember that YOU are not responsible for your dad's care. You can arrange care, you can make inquiries on his part, but you are NOT on the hook for his care.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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SZHNJ1023 Jul 8, 2019
Thank you. Good for me to repeat to myself. It's just difficult since I'm the sole person in his life right now. But, after spending $12K+ earlier this year for my parents I've stopped that as I have my retirement to think of and it's not my fault he is in this position.

I did not know about that bogleheads site, but it's great! Thanks.
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My brother was a real saver. On a Waiter's Salary all his life, real estate is predominantly where he made all his money. He would get a property and bring it back to beauty and health, then sell for a lot more money than he would put into the next home he was bringing back to life; basically it is what he loved to do.Always a careful spender, it was something he learned at his parent's knees. We grew up poor, but always be taught to save, save, save, and to give. And to still have a great life in ways that didn't spend much money. Everyone is different. I think some find it difficult to save for the future because it is a future full of loss and need that they don't even want to consider. They hope to die, boom, happily and without a long, slow, slide to the end. Just do not lose your own financial future to your Dad's situation. My brother at 85 is in a place where, now in assisted living, it is difficult to even imagine him outliving his funds, as care needs go up. I think some didn't even make enough to save what would be needed, and current folks out there who cannot even pay off their college loan debt, cannot buy and pay off a home because of it, are really going to be in a bind. One I won't live to see, but with these college loans not forgiven even by bankruptcy, times will be rough for some. Sorry you are going through this.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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YOU don't have to deal with it - once you clean it up. Your loved one will have to live on what they have. Don't finance them. My mom had great jobs and a lot of money after splitting assets from divorce from my dad - no 401K or saved anything - but blew threw it all. When I tried to get her to save or to do 401K to plan for the future - she told me to mind my own business, that she would "live off social security". Well, that is what she is doing now. And she doesn't like it.

She is piZZed that I'm not willing to give her $2k per month (or anything per month). And gets upset when I remind her that she planned on living off social security. Several times she has spent all her social security and had no rent money for her senior apartment - pegged to 30% of her income. I paid a couple of times and told her - no more. and held to it next time I got the crying phone call. Then she started on my sister. Who is too soft hearted to say no but then is mad that I say no.

The point is - you won't change someone who has a view of money that it should be spent and someone else will cover them. I refuse to. Do the same.
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SZHNJ1023 Jul 9, 2019
Thanks. Yep, good advice.
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SZHNJ1023, one thing I noticed, if someone has been a big spender when they were young, they will continue to spend, spend, spend throughout their life. They are living for today, not thinking about tomorrow. And who suffers, the grown kids who are trying to mend the situation.

My boss is that way, he recently sold a property that he owned as he needed the equity, and my sig other who is good with finances was trying to help my boss set up stock funds, etc. Sig other asked my boss how much money does he need to survive on for the year..... he said $150k.... SAY WHAT? Just shows, that a person who is a big spender will continue.... [sigh].

Where's my helmet? Time to bang head against the wall.
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SZHNJ1023 Jul 8, 2019
For sure, even up until 2 years ago he was still spending on unnecessary things. But he has reeled it in since I'm paying the bills and call him out on even the smallest expense.

I guess I just cannot fathom not thinking about the future "what ifs." I know even at 50 I'm just assuming I'll have health issues and certainly won't be making the salary I am now at my prime years.

Thanks.
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My FIL is one who failed to plan for retirement. He served 18 years in the army and then worked as a mechanic, sometimes for himself but for at least the last 15
years of his life he worked for a nationwide equipment rental company. If his company had a retirement plan, he squandered away the money!

He passed a month ago and I was shocked to discover that his “retirement” was nothing but a $1300 social security check! He also retired at 62 1/2 so he wasn’t even eligible for Medicare! It all makes sense now, why he finally moved out here! He didn’t plan for his retirement and $1300 was hardly enough to live off of! We know he had almost $800 worth of monthly bills that were on auto pay. $591 of that was for his truck payment! He bought the truck when he retired. Just my honest opinion but was it was stupid and foolish to finance such an expensive vehicle when his only income was social security! My husband was also shocked to find out his dad didn’t actually have a retirement. I don’t have a clue why my FIL didn’t plan for retirement but maybe he was content living on an extremely tight income. After he divorced his 3rd (might have been 4th) wife, he rented a room. And he was content doing that. I know that he was pretty poor when my BIL lived with him as a teenager so.....I don’t think saving for retirement was something my FIL ever thought about.

my MILs partner......was a county worker and had he not been fired, he would have had a nice retirement. But he got fired in 2008 and he cashed out his retirement which came with a hefty penalty fee. He took home $48,000. He put it in him & MILs joint savings account. Within 8 years the money was gone, squandered away. I think some of it went toward paying extra money towards the mortgage and down payments for various cars they bought. My MIL retired from the county in 2016 and between her retirement and SS, she lived comfortably. It was because of her money that they kept their lifestyle. She also contributed a little money to a deferred compensation plan-i. 30 years of employment she put $20k in to her deferred comp fund. So when she died, her partner lost his cash cow and now all he has is $1000 month in social security and a $300 pension.

My parents worked for the city and county for their entire careers so they have retirement plans. And social security. If they hadn’t gone to work for the city and county, they wouldn’t have planned for retirement-wouldn’t have been able to afford it. My dad is also a Vietnam veteran with war injuries so he gets a check from the VA every month. It’s not aid & attendance, I don’t know what it is though. So by the luck of the draw my parents have live very comfortably on their retirements, especially considering my mom retired early and my dad was forced in to medical retirement. They are fortunate that the VA pays for all my dads health care and my mom gets champ VA in addition to her medicare so her out of pocket medical costs are very low, and if they need to go into LTC the VA will pay for it.

My husband is a city employee and when he retires in 5 years, he will receive 90% of his highest paid year. He has also paid in to deferred comp his entire career and has over $100k so we will live comfortably even after he is retired. I will go back to work in a few years to earn more SS credits for myself but mainly to pay for our health insurance. If I can land a job with excellent employer-paid health insurance then my plan is put a good amount of my income into a 401k or something. My husband retires at 51 and even though he’ll have a great retirement income, he’s retiring young and we’ll have a lot of years left, God willing. I’d like to have enough assets that our kids will never have to worry about how to pay for our care or our debts! I don’t want to burden them with anything.
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I went through something similar with my father. It was truly tragic because at the end he could not afford the care he needed and basically didn't have any choice but to go to hospice. If he'd had savings, maybe he'd still be alive. I felt like I was forced to make responsible decisions for him, decisions he didn't want to make, but there weren't many options available by that point. It felt unfair that it became my problem and responsibility.

I wouldn't worry about the credit card debt at this point. They can't get blood from a stone. There's nothing they can do to him besides send threatening collection letters. Getting on the subsidized housing waiting lists is a great step to take, even if the wait seems really long. It gets him 'in the system' and in an environment where there are more resources available to figure out what comes next.
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SZHNJ1023 Jul 9, 2019
Thanks for this.
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Wow, I'm in this boat as well! My parents have always been horrible planners. It's almost as it they never thought about the future - ever! So after my Dad came out of the hospital (after a fall that landed him in there for 3 months), he needed a lot of changes in the house so that he could stay there. My Mom has her own issues (possible dementia, debilitating anxiety and depression). It has not been easy. But I was just blown away with how little my parents understood about certain things, like how assisted living is paid for. When my Dad was in the hospital, he said Mom would probably need to go into a place soon because of her condition. I was like, how are you going to pay for that? He thought insurance would cover. Once I told him the grim reality of that, the ballgame changed big time.

The first thing I will say to you is this - you are doing the best job that you can. Your parents missteps are not yours to own. You can do what you can to help your Dad and get him on some kind of track I take care of my parents finances, tell them everything that's going on, do a monthly budget to show them the reality that is their lives now. It's an eye opener for them and for me.

If your Dad owns his home you can sell it and put him in an assisted living place. Look for a place that takes private AND Medicaid. The money from the sale goes to pay for his AL, before that runs out he applies for Medicaid and payment is made that way. (I am hoping I'm understanding that correctly because it's what I'm looking into as well. If I'm not, I hope someone corrects me).

My Dad wanted me to make sure I got a POA and a Medical POA right after his injury, which I did. My names are already on all the banking so if yours isn't, I'd do that asap, too. Makes it easier to sign checks and move money and such.

Honesty is what I find works best. Give your Dad an honest accounting of what is happening. I tell my parents exactly what is going on with their finances, what I'm paying and why, what they can and cannot afford. And I let them know in no uncertain terms that I do not have any money to bail them out. I'm looking forward to my own retirement soon and there is nothing extra. Their bad planning is not going to impact my future retirement, which my husband and I have been planning for the last 30 years (I guess I did learn something from my parents...how NOT to plan for your future).

Just try to remember you're doing the best you can.
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Reply to imtheparentnow
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Judysai422 Jul 10, 2019
I hope you are on his bank accounts as POA, not a joint owner. If not get that changed immediately. Otherwise, you could find yourself responsible for his debts if someone Sue's him for payment or anything else.
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If Moms name was the only one on the card, Dad may not be responsible for that debt.

You know it surprises me when people end up relying on SS as their total income. SS was set up to suppliment savings and pensions. Used to be people waited till 65 to collect. By then the house should be paid off. Kids have been grown for a while so should have been able to save something. No, my parents didn't save. They had 4 kids on one living wage salary. When the last one left the nest, my Dads health was bad so he was forced to retire and get SSD. TG he had enough service for a pension.

Does Dad own his own home outright? If so, sell it. Then find him a nice Senior apt. There are HUDD apts but proceeds from the sale of a house make take him over the income limit. If no house, then look for Senior housing. They take 30% of his income for rent. The debts, he may havevto file bankruptcy. It takes more than the monthly minimum payment to pay CCs off. That pretty much pays the interest. I would call ur local Office of Aging and see if they have a credit consultant that can help u to get things straightened out. Maybe consolidation so he only has 1 payment.
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SZHNJ1023 Jul 8, 2019
No, he's renting now... in a much too expensive apartment. Again, a poor choice. The problem is the senior housing apartments around here (southern NJ) have waiting lists of 15 mos to 5 years long. But I do have a call into two social workers (one at the hospital from which he receives PT/OT, etc. and the other with his general practitioner's office). Hopefully/maybe somebody can offer some advice. Area on Aging was helpful, but not much can be done.

And two of the cards were in mom's name; the others were joint.

Thanks for the input!
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Some people live day to day. You have to accept your parents for what they are. You are the responsible one. Talk to a social worker to find out what resources are available for care. Ask for help wherever you can. You will not be responsible for their credit card debt. Don't put your name on their accounts.
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So many of the 'greatest generation' saw their own parents live fairly comfortably on SS alone, and assumed the same for them.

My parents couldn't even cover the house upkeep on SS---and had to sell it-no options. Their poor planning didn't make for a problem for all us kids!

AND, they had 2 favorite kids they could not say 'no' to, so they gave and gave and gave (and were robbed by one)….none of that $250K+ was ever recovered. That amt. would have made it possible to for mother and dad to live independently--'losing' that made it so we kids all have to pitch in occasionally.

DH and I decided 30+ years ago that it was unlikely we'd live to see SS, so we planned and saved accordingly. Surprise to us, we will receive SS, and that is just going to back into savings as we saved and saved and invested so that what happened to our folks cannot happen to us. (Hopefully-you never know!)

I am still VERY surprised at the attitude my mother has about money. Such a fuss and to-do made about her 'inheritance' which totals less than $50K for the 5 remaining sibs to share. $9K will not buy a crummy used car, but mother has held that 'inheritance' over our heads....

I think we've been pretty cautious--hope so. We retire in 2 years and hope that all the planning will come to fruition and make our retirement not be a burden to any of our kids.

My YB has control over mother's spending and watches her closely. She's making some big mistakes now, big deal if she ruins her credit rating at age 90--but he put her on a cash only basis some years ago. That really helped the CC spending and careful "catalog" shopping.
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