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As I've had to take over the medical decisions for my mother, who is now transitioning from IL to AL (and most likely to an MC ward in a year or so), I am very concerned about our own situation.
Before you lambaste us for not planning properly financially, you're reading the post of a person whose husband is so accident-prone that he's been hit multiple times as a pedestrian, has been electrocuted at least 3 times (he's not a lineman, thank God, or he'd be dead), and has been hit in vehicles numerous times. He walks about like my 82-year-old father does. By some miracle, he survived a horrific rollover accident earlier this year while avoiding a vehicle that fled the scene. It's a miracle he's alive. Our finances have always been a "wreck" because of all of these life events.
We are about to be empty-nesters in the next few years, are struggling to help our kids with cars and college, and I don't see my husband being able to work much longer. His pain level has wrecked his blood pressure and every time the weather changes, he struggles to not only get out of bed, but also to be the sweet, kind man he is. We cannot afford health insurance for him, let alone any LTC insurance.
Can anyone enlighten me on what our eventual living options might be, IF we can get him on disability? I DO NOT want our kids to feel as responsible for us as I feel for my mother. Our kids are full of potential and I don't want to stifle that. Any input would be much appreciated.

The not paying kids college costs sounds great in theory but if parents can’t help pay, kids get trapped in never ending student loan debt imo if they want a college degree.

As an aside on higher ed costs, the system I’m dealing with for our in college kid right now is nothing like it was when either I (1970s & 80’s) or my hubs (1960s) applied. Back then it was apply directly to a univ. & maybe apply to 2 or 3 in fall HS senior year and you got accepted around the holidays with tuition & scholarships dealt with directly with the school that spring. If $ was an issue - and not scholarship - work study would be figured out within your majors dept or what dorm you lived in. Tuition, dorm, fees & misc. maybe 10k. Another $500 or 1k if you went Greek. When we were doing our kids college shopping in ‘14 & ‘15, the 4 yrs in-state schools ran 25k-40k yr and private or out of state ran 30k-90k. Mediocre schools had same tuition as top 100.

Going to Jr college for some majors flat not feasible cause it adds on another year or yr&1/2 as many majors have required sequential classes starting freshmen year. My kids major is structured this way; this seems to be pretty common for the STEM or architecture majors.

To get any federally backed financial aid, both student and parents must do FAFSA. Even if a parent is incarcerated, there’s a form that has to get filed for the kids FAFSA to move forward.

almost all schools have FAFSA filing as mandatory for getting any financial aid even if it’s just state financial aid that’s being applied for. So now basically any aid, whether it’s loans, work-study, grants, scholarships whether federal, state or private all require a FAFSA done as FAFSA filing gives schools a uniform way of evaluating “need”. “NEED” as a determining factor is there for college financial aid much like the “at need” determination that Medicaid does for LTC.

A few schools are rarified enough that they don’t require FAFSA as majority of their student population come in w/top tier grades & have parents who can pay 100k+ in full so the lower income scholarship kids get verified by their HS as to need and get almost zero cost to attend. Brown does this and some other Ivies or semiIvies do as well. But these are just a few schools out of thousands in the US.

FAFSA links to IRS and it’s pure hard #s. What your income is and # of dependents are is what counts for FAFSA. If you have lots of other debts, like medical costs or credit card bills, or huge mortgage or you help pay your dads AL.... none of this matters. If you say make 90k with family of 4, your probably coming in as FAFSA determines at being able to pay 20-25k of kids college costs. They as a student can get a federal subsidized Stafford for $3500 freshman year. But the difference has to get paid. They or parents end up getting loans unless parents saved for their kids higher ed since they were in diapers.

When we’ve done the annual FAFSA, all you have to do as a parent or student is hit the buttons for the loans you want. All your financial is there, the loans get selfpopulated from your IRS info and presto! You & or your kid now has 10, 20...40, 50k of debt. Per year! Easy peasy! Tuition & fees paid direct to the school. It is way, way beyond easy and I really truly believe that most kids & their parents at the time do NOT realize the crushing debt those student loans will end up costing. If kid drops out and end up without a degree to get the better job to enable them to pay off that debt, they are so screwed imo. Student loans cannot be included in bankruptcy either.
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Thanks to everyone who has responded. I am familiar with Dave Ramsey, but we've been down our paycheck-to-paycheck road for so long, and with a past medical bankruptcy and being on the verge of homelessness, I'm just thankful for our home and for both of us working. We've only had a stable dual income for the last 4 years, although my husband has no benefits--his employer is too small. We have NO money to throw at insurance--my teacher's health insurance is so prohibitively expensive, with such high deductibles, that it's almost worthless for me to even use. I get it for free, but to add my hubby is about $600/mo. Health sharing organizations are not much better. We just can't afford it. I am putting a few hundred a month away in an HSA, which is pretty much used up thus far. We are going to begin the process of seeking SS disability.

My 18-year-old is working part time, but we don't want him to jeopardize his high standing in high school (in the top 5) to ask him to do more. Basic prom expenses have been tricky, although he already has a suit! :0) We really can't help him with college next year, other than whatever we can do to send food and help with laundry, some gas, his phone and supplementing him with toiletries in care packages. That's our struggle when I talk about college--I want to be able to at least do that for him--he's a hard worker and a good kid. Our daughter is a couple of years younger, and we want school to be her top priority, as well.

We don't have cable, but we have a family data plan for phones--internet service is not good in our area, so we have to use our cell phones for wifi. That includes what I use when grading student papers and posting here on this forum. A second job wouldn't work for me (other than summer)--if any of you are English teachers, you know what I'm talking about! :0))

We are weighing our options, but with $40k in medical bills from my hubby's rollover accident looming on the horizon, we may be looking at some sort of reorganization bankruptcy--not the route we want to head down. If you pray, we sure could use your prayers. I know I surely do pray for all of those whose posts catch my heart!

Thanks again for your responses, everyone!
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igloo572 16 hours ago
Your son didn’t apply to a “the common application” school, I’ll bet. If not, find a school that uses it and download it. It’s a beast & each school usually has its own lil’ essays or “student insight profile” that has to be done in addition to the overall application. Like I said, it’s a beast. But as your an English teacher, I’d bet you could get paid to help parents & student figure out “common”. Could be a nice side income and as a parent you can totally relate to the other befuddled parents and as a teacher know how to get that kid to find his voice for those frickin’ essays.

Some “common” schools are free application but you may have to
pay an ACT info transfer fee to the school to get their common application subset. I think the Loyola’s are all on “the common” with free application.
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Amala1- as a mom w/kid in college here’s my unvarnished perspective:
- if kids want a car, they need to buy it. Whether at 100% or 50%, thats for you & hubs to determine. But % fixed & same for both. Ditto for insurance & repairs. We did 50%. Son was not happy as almost all his friends parents bought kids cars. Don’t waffle. If motivated they can find a part time job & save to buy car. Real life to go to tax collectors office to pay fees & put sticker on license plate. They will have a pretty sizeable wreck with first car in 1st yr. I can pretty well guarantee that is gonna happen. Yours sound like that might be hereditary as well...... lol.
If they flat can’t save for a car, they learn the social skills to be in the “we need to pick them up” list or learn to plan stuff at your house that makes others want to come over to stay & be a part of.

I’d suggest all have “follow my Friends” app on phones. Inevitably you are going to have to go & get them from some misbegotten adventure, even if they have a car. App must always be on for everybody.

OK in your heart of hearts are they university or jr college (then transfer) or community college or trade/apprentice program?
If its college or univ, do your kids have some semblance of what they want to do? If so here’s my suggestions for finding right school...
- for kids who have always consistently shown an interest in an area, like Architecture, anthropology, marine biology, mechanical engineering, do a list of schools that offer a focused degree in that & top 20% for program. & second list of ea schools costs. If it’s out of state there might be waviers. It’s amazing how many state schools offer in state for out of state top 10% (Ole Miss, Ark).
- is there a sport they have consistently shown an interest & participate in & likely play in college? I’m not talking football & basketball - like SEC level - but more like swim team, lacrosse, sailing, tennis, whatever as varsity or club level and is available at above school list. If so, have them agree to do that sport as gives them something to immediately belong to. Will up likelihood of graduating. Plus maybe points on application.
- testing & acceptance rate for last year &
- then your kids info gets entered & any special extras, like Eagle Scout. Schools that intersect most, that’s where they apply & likely to be accepted. Apply early.

Not my idea btw. It’s the template Project Grad & CollegeCafe uses. TigermomIgloo & cub went & sat with one of their counselors. Free. They have data on every college & university in US. Came to a list of about 17 univ & 1 academy. Narrowed to 8, visited 5. Visting does matter imo if school is on the fence on accepting a student.

Sons HS college counselor was useless & this was a college prep HS.
If it falls to you to do, pls start search jr year & create a new gmail account for their applications so you can monitor as deadlines approach. Btw “Common Application” is a beast.

If yours are clueless about what interested in, but you want a univ., I’d suggest in-state schools w/highest Fr - Sr completion rate & highest freshman retention rate. Better odds they will graduate.

Imho often scholarships are a hook. Whether reoccurring & how feasible, that is is the rub.

You will have to do FAFSA for any student loans. FAFSA pretty hard core; pure # based on 1040 & dependents. If fafsa determines you can pay tuition & you can’t as your paying NH or other debt, too bad. You or your kid has to get loans to cover whatever FAFSA determines you can pay. It’s one of the reason why folks get private loans & student debt is so high.

Kids can get Stafford loans. Set amount per year. Abt 24k for 4 years. Totally their debt. Can cover good part in-state tuition but not dorm, books other costs.

imo if univ super Greek socially & you cannot afford those costs, personally I’d dissuade them from those schools. College Confidental is a good no holds barred online forum for parents & pretty accurate.
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amalm1 Mar 17, 2019
Thanks so much for all of the websites, etc! We'll look into them. We have been doing some research and are confident that my kids will make their way very well. Both of them have a good idea of what they want to do and are pursuing economically-sensible avenues. God bless you and your family!
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Echoing others, you cannot afford to buy your kids cars and a college education. Period. It is not stifling their potential for them to have to work for their education, it is giving them the skills to be responsible adults.

I had to start over at age 50. I went back to university to build my skills for a new career. I am volunteering to put the learning into real experience and when I graduate in a year, I will have both education and experience to help me move forward.

In your situation if your husband is unlikely to be able to work until retirement age, you should do your best to improve your career opportunities. Look for opportunities for advancement within your company or in other organization that has good insurance coverage.
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amalm1 Mar 17, 2019
Thanks for your response--I can sympathize with the retraining, as my husband has been there and done that. I wish you the very best in your new pursuit! I myself am in a new profession, as well, so my earning potential has been going up.
Regarding stifling our kids' potential, I was thinking a bit more in the long term--I don't want them to have to take us in when we're old and frail. I want them to have a life; we'll have had ours. I'm looking for ways to help them now, if possible, while lessening our future burden on them.
Again, thanks for your time and advice. God bless you!
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amalm1 - Have you ever heard of Financial Peace University (FPU) or Dave Ramsey?

FPU is a class sponsored by many churches through out the country. It was started by Dave Ramsey, a very well known financial adviser who has the 3rd most popular radio show.

In listening to his show and reading one of his books (The Total Money Make Over), I learned to budget and control my spending. His method has helped thousands of people get out of debt, stay out of debt, and build a nest egg for their later years.

My recommendations: Look on line to see what radio station he's on in your local area and listen to some of his shows. Then go to the library, and check out the book I mentioned above and read it. If you can, you should also go on his website and see where a FPU class is held. Attending it will help tremendously because there will be support and others in class that will motivate and keep you going.

Dave Ramsey will tell you to NEVER lend money to your kids even for college, Kids who work to pay for college learn to be more responsible and more disciplined. And when they graduate, they don't have a student loan the size of a mortgage around their neck that will take a life time to pay off.
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igloo572 Mar 17, 2019
Polar bear - all libraries seem to carry Dave Ramsey. Books, DVDs, audiobooks and all for free
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If you can afford to live on SSD apply for it now. I applied for nephew the first time and was turned down. Then I got SS lawyer. I would suggest just getting the lawyer to start with. I had to get paperwork together twice. A SS lawyer only gets money if you are okd for SSD. Your time starts at time of application even if turned down first time, SS goes back to the first application for retro pay if you win. The lawyer gets 15% of total retro received and not more than 6k. When all was said and down Nephew received 5k in retro pay. Once u get approved DH will receive Medicare and Medicaid. With Medicaid you get vision/glasses and dental. Prescription coverage where you may pay a minimum fee. You may want to talk to a SS rep about getting disability before 62 and trying to claim it after you start receiving reg SS. It has to do with the amount you receive if disabled before. My Mom received more than she would have because Dad was disabled when he was in his 50s.



I agree, if you can't afford to do it, don't put kids thru college. As said, County 2 yr colleges are a good starting point. Most can cover their liberal arts here. In NJ, the state colleges now except credits from the jr colleges so an easy transition. They say the trades are suffering. Maybe looking into something like that would be wiser. The cost of even a state college is staggering. One here in NJ is 50k a year. Do you really want to be in that kind of debt in your 60s? Do you kids want to be in that kind of debt?

Do you have a Mortgage? If so I would worry about paying it off before I would worry about trying to pay for college.
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amalm1 Mar 17, 2019
Thank you so much for the advice! I have a friend who is intimately familiar with the process (she facilitated the SS paperwork for a doctor's office), and she said some of the same things you have. We are truly to the point that we are considering it--the rollover accident has not done my husband any favors. I will try to keep you posted.
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My husband & I are in the same age group as you. We have a 21 year old (he bought my mom’s house & is about to move in it) and a 16 year old.
A financial advisor is going to tell you to NOT pay for college and that you’ve GOT to pay yourself first (savings).
My son is working full time & earning two degrees from a technical college, which he is paying for. I realize if one wants to be a Dr. technical college isn’t an option, but depending on what they want to be (nursing, computer stuff, etc.) it might be a great choice. Community colleges are also much cheaper than their large counterparts. Look for grants & scholarships, AND your kids can get student loans in their name, if they need help.

If you really want to save money, depending on how you currently live, there’s a lot of ways to do so. The idea about making your own detergent is great & I’ve done that also. Make one meal a night meatless. Do you have a large cable/satellite package? Cut it back one level. And when it comes to cell phones, I love my flip phone, $10 per month. Make it a “game” at the grocery store to see how much you can save. The money that you save from doing these things, sock it away. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can add up!

I know this sounds discouraging, but savings are no match for medical issues that pop up. You really need some type of insurance coverage. Have you tried the healthcare exchanges? Is coverage an option with an employer?
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amalm1 Mar 17, 2019
Thank you for your suggestions! We are continuing to pursue our options.
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Signup on Bogleheads.org. The last thing you need is a financial advisor.
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I would recommend you talk to a financial adviser. They will probably tell you that contributing to college plans before funding your retirement is the worst thing you can do. Your kids have plenty of time to work thru school or summers, get loans, grants and pay loans back. But if you age with depleted funds you don’t have time to make up for it. I personally would take any money you’re saving for the kids and get health insurance for your husband. He’s probably the last guy on earth who should not have insurance. The biggest cause of personal bankruptcies is hospitalizations. I think a meeting with a good financial advisor might get you back on the right track.
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igloo572 Mar 17, 2019
I agree on getting hubs health insurance and for the wife as well as a priority.
But I disagree with you on with them speaking with a financial advisor; based on what she described as their situation, they don’t have $ for doing long term investments. They need to get out of debt or lowered to get their debt to income ratio better with an solid emergency fund of 5-10k.

And do whatever they can to work till 70 and only take SS at latest time possible. Sounds like he can’t & I think Jo Ann is right about his looking into SSI or SSDI. VegasLady is really good at how these work best.
But imo the wife should if all possiblee wait till 70 for SS.

All libraries carry Dave Ramsey books and audiobooks. He's not my type of $ guru, but I think he’s a great place to start with for most folks. Some folks like Suze Orman, and too her stuff is also at most libraries, books, tapes, audiobooks. All for free.
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So if you are going to help your kids with their education and vehicles then maybe you can do so with the agreement that they pay that money back when they have graduated and are successfully employed. Get it in writing and do a sliding interest rate, the better their grades the less interest they would pay. Incentive to be top of their class.

Do you own your home? I ask because typically this is the largest asset for many people. If you do you can plan to down size and maybe move to a cheaper area that will allow your assets to go further.

Also, when you have to have medical care, ask for a self pay discount. Most medical providers will offer a discount. Check into medical share programs for low cost alternatives for coverage.

Start right now cutting out unnecessary purchases, it is never to late to start saving, put that money in a savings account that you do not touch. Even small amounts add up.

You have a couple decades of working before you collect social security, plan on collecting at 70 years old, work as many hours as you can, get a second job, anything to increase your monthly social security benefits.

Find a field that your husband can work in, just because your body won't bear heavy labor doesn't mean you can't do customer service calls or something along those lines. The longer you work the better later on.

When your husband becomes eligible for Medicare seriously research his options for health coverage. Supplemental insurance is cheaper annually than the copays required by advantage plans. Most people think it's great that they don't pay monthly but they do have big deductibles and copays and as we age the odds of needing medical care increases, we hope not for your husband, poor guy gives "an accident waiting to happen" a whole new meaning.

Start right now doing everything you can to save money, eating at home, shopping and planning meals based on sales, cutting coupons, not buying expensive luxurious items that you don't need, think Starbucks.

Go to www.everydaycheapskates.com and use the information.

I make my own laundry detergent and it costs me around 1.00 per gallon and it does 64 loads of laundry, I used to spend a 500.00 a year for this, now 20.00 bucks. There are a million ways to save for our future, we just have to be committed to living below our means.

As a side note, have you ever researched DMSO for your husband's pain? I highly recommend checking it out and if you decide to use it, learn how to make your own products.

I hope I gave you some ideas on how to prepare for the future.

Put a bubble around that husband of yours, I would be completely grey if my honey was as accident prone as yours.

You guys can do this, just decide that you can and you will.
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Shell38314 Mar 17, 2019
Very good and sound advice.
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I am bumping you up and someone will answer you.

I am very sorry that your hubby and you have been through so many horrible events.

I will say this out of kindness...You can not afford to help your kids with cars or college. You have to take care of hubby and your future. My parents didn't help me with buying cars or college, and I am strong and better off for it. I learned some valuable lessons. I think it made me appreciate things more because I had to work for them.

Just a thought.
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