My childhood was good, but a little bit chaotic because Dad had some good jobs, some bad jobs, periods of unemployment, etc. I was a teenager when Mom taught me the rules she followed when things went south: What bills to pay first (rent!), always have food in the house (my life is very different now, but when I bought my first home I got a deep freezer and it's well stocked from sales to this day), fill the car with gas when the money is still there, and take out cash and keep it with you. "Everything else is extra," she would say. She was a good manager that way. We never worried about losing our home or not having dinner, even if Dad was out of work.

She passed in 2017 and now I'm learning, especially as his cognitive abilities go, that part of the reason she was so good with money is that he is absolutely terrible with it! I'm realizing that she made him think he was in charge but was actually running everything, and now he wants me to be that person. He won't even keep track of what he's spending — he wants me to do that (how do I do that? I don't know what he's spending). He also gets upset if I criticize his spending because I'm his daughter and it's HIS MONEY.

He has some money from selling their house, as well as a pension and social security and it's enough for years, IF he doesn't spend it all on stupid crap. It's like he's never had to budget because she would literally hand him money to go to the store and that was all he had to spend. He won't allow me that level of oversight and yet he's also spending like there's no tomorrow. It's all just so frustrating and I worry he's going to end up blowing all the house money and then having no where to go.

I don't know if it's cognitive decline or just him being terrible with money. Or both?

You don’t have to be his anything. Role reversals aren’t required and they’re unwise. Since she’s gone—he may get worse before he gets better…IF he gets better. Oh well. He’s free to dig his own pit.

Accountability worked for my in-laws who were two ridiculous immature brats when it came to money. My husband set them an appointment with our Christian budget guy (not Dave R.) whose incredibly gifted in this area and whose software is patented. Monthly meetings were held (in person or over phone) to go over their budget = accountability. It worked like a charm. He is a very likable, fun, warm, not judgey guy whom clients really look forward to speaking with each session. There’s no condemnation. Just kind guidance and wisdom.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MissPearl

DoingMyBest73: Perhaps a financial planner would be in order.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Im sorry for the loss of your mom. Are you still POA & executor of his estate? Debit &credit cards have daily spending limits. You can ask the bank to set his lower.
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Reply to Catskie62

My mom can't manage money any more, and what turned out to be a huge blessing she kept cancelling her credit card because she's so paranoid and confused she thinks charges she made are fraudulent. This worked out perfectly because I told her instead of getting new cards I was getting her a special fraud protection card. It's actually a True Link card that I manage. You can very selectively block specific websites or whole categories and whenever a charge is blocked I can then either let it stay blocked or allow it one time. It's so easy to deal with.

I also put all her bills on automatic debit and stopped the various companies even sending paper statements. What she can't see can't confuse her. I do have POAs but they're not currently activated so I do these things with her permission, maybe some of it will work for you.
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Reply to Slartibartfast

From your profile:

"I am caring for my father with age-related decline, alzheimer's / dementia, cancer, hearing loss, and mobility problems."

So, assuming he has a medical diagnosis of dementia/ALZ. This plus his history of being a bad money manager = make things simple for the both of you.

Hopefully you are his legal FPoA. If so, make sure he has no direct access to funds. Instead, give him a re-fillable charge card. Fill it weekly or monthly and tell him when it's empty he has to wait for the next fill period to get more. Tell him a therapeutic fib that this is what the financial planner recommended so to protect him from theft and to make sure his money lasts.

If you are not his FPoA (or no one is), then this should be created if at all possible. If he refuses to assign a FPoA, then this is a whole other issue -- so come back here for different advice.

How old is your Dad?
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Reply to Geaton777

My sympathies go to your dear departed mother. I would take cwillie's advice.
Good luck!
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Reply to velbowpat

Maybe work together with a financial planner to set up an annuity (or something similar) that will dole out the money slowly, or if there is a large amount lock blocks of it into term deposits where it can't be easily accessed. And get yourself added to all his financial accounts so you can set up online access to view statements... once his accounts are set up online all you need are the passwords, you won't need POA if he refused to give it (but you'll have to be discrete if there is a danger he may change passwords and block you).
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Reply to cwillie

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