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Old 06-10-2011, 12:32 PM
 
Location: GA
63 posts, read 114,276 times
Reputation: 81

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I have 1 sister and 3 brothers. For the record, my 2 eldest brothers are well-off (lawyer and highly paid govt employee). Third brother has virtually nothing, lives w/girlfriend. Sister married, doing well.

I am married w/3 boys and am a SAHM. I quit my nursing job to do this. My husband works a lot of OT as we are saving to relocate to another state and buy a home. (we have been renting for almost 2yrs now, sold our house before the crash.)

We live on a budget. My eldest son is almost done with HS, and has been accepted to 2 colleges in our state. He still has no car so we will likely have to help him out with that, as well as college.

My mother is still living on her own, but has some trouble getting around. She gets out daily to go shopping, but is overweight and so she can't walk very far for very long. All in all, she's doing ok on her own, her little condo is paid off and she gets ~$800/mo SS. Many years ago, she got an inheritance. She flew through that $ and when that was almost running out she got another inheritance. Flew through that and then my 2 eldest brothers and sister 'loaned' (they'll get it back when she passes from sale of her home) her
$50k around 1.5 yrs ago. It's almost gone.

I just got an email from one of the brothers this morning. He sent it as a group email to all of us, but it was more 'focused' on the 3rd brother and me. Asking for us to donate $ for our mother.

My mother is a semi-hoarder, or is addicted to shopping. She spends spends spends on things she does NOT need. Junk. Thrift stores, Target, buys food in large amts and lets it go rotten in her fridge. All the junk she buys eventually makes it out into her garage. From there it sits and eventually goes into a black garbage bag and to the curb.

My sister and the one brother are in charge of her $/account. They have had a hands-off approach with my mother. One of them moves $ over each week, Fridays I think, from a savings acct, to her checking acct, and that is her weekly amt to spend. If you ask me, this amt of $ for one week, is insane for one person. $550.00! Plus, add to that the SS $ which makes her weekly living ~$850.00! Yes, PER WEEK.

We are a family of 5 and we DO NOT even have that much spending $ per 2wks! On top of her spending habits, she has a long-distance phone call problem. She is constantly calling someone long distance. My brothers, my sister you name it. She has NO control over her calling problem nor does she try. She also calls 411 at LEISURE...when she has phone books available. She does not even bother to write down the frequently called #'s that she uses 411 over and over for. So she will call again and again for the same #. I won't even use 411 unless it's impossible for me to find the # in the phone book!

I have serious issues with the way that my sister and one brother have handled her $. Hands-off. They are on her accts. Now, the $ is running out and it's my problem. And my 3rd brothers problem. The verbage of the email was that 'they' (the 3) have helped her to 'live and eat' and now they are asking for 'something' from us. Well, we don't really have extra $ to give!

And if we did, I'd have a problem giving it w/the way my mother has the freedom to blow thru it! Pretend we could/would give her $1k, (a drop in the bucket for her.) it'd literally last her 2-3wks, when my husband has to work 30+hrs of OT to earn that much.

In the past, I have tried to give my sister and this one brother advice on how to help mom's $ to stretch out. I said to them, 'why is she getting so much $ per week, when we all know how she spends it?' I also have said to them, 'we HAVE to do something about her phone bills.....a $500.00 phone bill for ONE month is wasting her $'. And what do they do? Nothing because they don't want to UPSET her.

About 8 mos ago I even tried to actively help her out with her long-distance dilemma. I took her to MetroPCS, bought her a cell phone and got her signed up with the $40/month (never more) UNLIMITED long-distance plan. (what I use myself!) I then told my brother (he's on her acct) what I did and reiterated to him that her bill MUST be paid on time every month OR MetroPCS will cut off her phone and she'll lose her #. I told him if this happens, she'll then without saying anything, ditch the phone and get another one with AT&T or the like...where she'll pay exorbitant amts again, compared to the $40.

Well, whaddya know? That's what happened. He took hands-off to her phone bill and the other day I found a $557 phone bill from AT&T, this is just for her HOME phone. I found out the other day, when I was there cleaning, that she ALSO has a Verizon cell phone! When I asked her how much they charge her per month, and for how many minutes......she DIDN'T EVEN KNOW.

I am very upset at the way that these siblings have handled her $ over the past 2yrs. They ignored my opinion on things. If they had been more conservative, she'd have another year of funds left! Instead of one month! Now, from the email, it seems like it's my and my other (poor) brothers' emergency!

I was even willing to take over, pay her bills via bill pay for her. But, I am not on her bank acct. And I didn't want to step on the toes of the 2 siblings who are on her accts. So, it is what it is.

We are not poor but we are definitely on a budget and at this time, are seriously trying to save to buy our own home in another state. My husband works all the OT he can, for our savings toward this. We don't take vacations. This summer, we have NO plans. And at this time, my almost 19yo still doesn't have a car. He has a savings but not enough to buy a car/insurance/gas. He has tried for 3+ mos now, to get a job. Any job. But as we all know, the economy is in the dumps. Plus, he is almost ready to enroll in college and we will likely have help him some with that.

I feel bad that I can't just throw a check in the mail for 20k for my mom and say 'no problem!'. But, I can't. Even if I had it, I have a serious problem with her spending and the way that the 2 siblings are handling her $ for her. (giving her such hefty living amts) The email said her weekly sum was going to be decreased to $475....that's still, IMO, way too much for a single woman to live on, whom has minimal living bills. NO mortgage and NO car pmt. Plus, a SS check coming in.

I am local to my mom and am always here for her health issues, MD appts if she needs me, I often help clean her house for her, bring her food when/if she's not feeling well, and I am a hands-on type dtr. The others are not so much, but help her w/$ instead of being here. She often gets angry that she doesn't see them more. On another tangent, and I won't go detailed into it, my mother cuts me off (and others when she feels like it) at will and won't talk to me for months for something I don't even know that I did (or didn't) do. She is very difficult to get along with. She can be verbally/mentally abusive.

Any ideas on how to answer the email to my brother? I am unable at this time to help her. And, I do want to mention in the email, that I think that she's been allowed to virtually throw away thousands w/no oversight. My husband thinks I shouldn't mention this, but I feel like in some way/form, I 'need' to. Opinions?

I can already expect that I am going to be ostracized at my response (that I can't help).

Last edited by rebelson; 06-10-2011 at 12:48 PM..
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:39 PM
 
1,647 posts, read 3,604,900 times
Reputation: 1264
If you can't do, then you can't do.
Everyone should understand.

Last edited by JustJulia; 06-10-2011 at 01:45 PM.. Reason: Removed off-topic comment.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:42 PM
 
380 posts, read 682,677 times
Reputation: 455
My suggestion, don't lend her (or the people in charge of her account) any money until someone has sat her down and had a serious conversation with he about he spending habits. Unless everyone comes to the realization that she is burning money frivolously, you donating anything is going to be a worthless cause.
I suggest you respond to your brother that at this point in time you cannot provide any additional money but seeing as you are local and don't work, that you are more than willing to help with the day-to-day things she needs assistance with.

Offer physical time rather than monetary means-which seem to be going to waste anyways. (shes not a teenager, she should know proper spending habits and she should stop taking advantage of he children's willingness to give)

Last edited by JustJulia; 06-10-2011 at 01:46 PM.. Reason: Removed off-topic comment.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,796,945 times
Reputation: 5454
I completely agree with your feelings based on the information you've told us and don't think you should be spending money that's just going to be wasted when you have the needs of your family to consider.

Last edited by JustJulia; 06-10-2011 at 01:47 PM.. Reason: Removed off-topic comment.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,542,478 times
Reputation: 39866
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebelson View Post
I have 1 sister and 3 brothers. For the record, my 2 eldest brothers are well-off (lawyer and highly paid govt employee). Third brother has virtually nothing, lives w/girlfriend. Sister married, doing well.

I am married w/3 boys and am a SAHM. I quit my nursing job to do this. My husband works a lot of OT as we are saving to relocate to another state and buy a home. (we have been renting for almost 2yrs now, sold our house before the crash.)

We live on a budget. My eldest son is almost done with HS, and has been accepted to 2 colleges in our state. He still has no car so we will likely have to help him out with that, as well as college.

My mother is still living on her own, but has some trouble getting around. She gets out daily to go shopping, but is overweight and so she can't walk very far for very long. All in all, she's doing ok on her own, her little condo is paid off and she gets ~$800/mo SS. Many years ago, she got an inheritance. She flew through that $ and when that was almost running out she got another inheritance. Flew through that and then my 2 eldest brothers and sister 'loaned' (they'll get it back when she passes from sale of her home) her
$50k around 1.5 yrs ago. It's almost gone.

I just got an email from one of the brothers this morning. He sent it as a group email to all of us, but it was more 'focused' on the 3rd brother and me. Asking for us to donate $ for our mother.

My mother is a semi-hoarder, or is addicted to shopping. She spends spends spends on things she does NOT need. Junk. Thrift stores, Target, buys food in large amts and lets it go rotten in her fridge. All the junk she buys eventually makes it out into her garage. From there it sits and eventually goes into a black garbage bag and to the curb.

My sister and the one brother are in charge of her $/account. They have had a hands-off approach with my mother. One of them moves $ over each week, Fridays I think, from a savings acct, to her checking acct, and that is her weekly amt to spend. If you ask me, this amt of $ for one week, is insane for one person. $550.00! Plus, add to that the SS $ which makes her weekly living ~$850.00! Yes, PER WEEK.

We are a family of 5 and we DO NOT even have that much spending $ per 2wks! On top of her spending habits, she has a long-distance phone call problem. She is constantly calling someone long distance. My brothers, my sister you name it. She has NO control over her calling problem nor does she try. She also calls 411 at LEISURE...when she has phone books available. She does not even bother to write down the frequently called #'s that she uses 411 over and over for. So she will call again and again for the same #. I won't even use 411 unless it's impossible for me to find the # in the phone book!

I have serious issues with the way that my sister and one brother have handled her $. Hands-off. They are on her accts. Now, the $ is running out and it's my problem. And my 3rd brothers problem. The verbage of the email was that 'they' (the 3) have helped her to 'live and eat' and now they are asking for 'something' from us. Well, we don't really have extra $ to give!

And if we did, I'd have a problem giving it w/the way my mother has the freedom to blow thru it! Pretend we could/would give her $1k, (a drop in the bucket for her.) it'd literally last her 2-3wks, when my husband has to work 30+hrs of OT to earn that much.

In the past, I have tried to give my sister and this one brother advice on how to help mom's $ to stretch out. I said to them, 'why is she getting so much $ per week, when we all know how she spends it?' I also have said to them, 'we HAVE to do something about her phone bills.....a $500.00 phone bill for ONE month is wasting her $'. And what do they do? Nothing because they don't want to UPSET her.

About 8 mos ago I even tried to actively help her out with her long-distance dilemma. I took her to MetroPCS, bought her a cell phone and got her signed up with the $40/month (never more) UNLIMITED long-distance plan. (what I use myself!) I then told my brother (he's on her acct) what I did and reiterated to him that her bill MUST be paid on time every month OR MetroPCS will cut off her phone and she'll lose her #. I told him if this happens, she'll then without saying anything, ditch the phone and get another one with AT&T or the like...where she'll pay exorbitant amts again, compared to the $40.

Well, whaddya know? That's what happened. He took hands-off to her phone bill and the other day I found a $557 phone bill from AT&T, this is just for her HOME phone. I found out the other day, when I was there cleaning, that she ALSO has a Verizon cell phone! When I asked her how much they charge her per month, and for how many minutes......she DIDN'T EVEN KNOW.

I am very upset at the way that these siblings have handled her $ over the past 2yrs. They ignored my opinion on things. If they had been more conservative, she'd have another year of funds left! Instead of one month! Now, from the email, it seems like it's my and my other (poor) brothers' emergency!

I was even willing to take over, pay her bills via bill pay for her. But, I am not on her bank acct. And I didn't want to step on the toes of the 2 siblings who are on her accts. So, it is what it is.

We are not poor but we are definitely on a budget and at this time, are seriously trying to save to buy our own home in another state. My husband works all the OT he can, for our savings toward this. We don't take vacations. This summer, we have NO plans. And at this time, my almost 19yo still doesn't have a car. He has a savings but not enough to buy a car/insurance/gas. He has tried for 3+ mos now, to get a job. Any job. But as we all know, the economy is in the dumps. Plus, he is almost ready to enroll in college and we will likely have help him some with that.

I feel bad that I can't just throw a check in the mail for 20k for my mom and say 'no problem!'. But, I can't. Even if I had it, I have a serious problem with her spending and the way that the 2 siblings are handling her $ for her. (giving her such hefty living amts) The email said her weekly sum was going to be decreased to $475....that's still, IMO, way too much for a single woman to live on, whom has minimal living bills. NO mortgage and NO car pmt. Plus, a SS check coming in.

I am local to my mom and am always here for her health issues, MD appts if she needs me, I often help clean her house for her, bring her food when/if she's not feeling well, and I am a hands-on type dtr. The others are not so much, but help her w/$ instead of being here. She often gets angry that she doesn't see them more. On another tangent, and I won't go detailed into it, my mother cuts me off (and others when she feels like it) at will and won't talk to me for months for something I don't even know that I did (or didn't) do. She is very difficult to get along with. She can be verbally/mentally abusive.

Any ideas on how to answer the email to my brother? I am unable at this time to help her. And, I do want to mention in the email, that I think that she's been allowed to virtually throw away thousands w/no oversight. My husband thinks I shouldn't mention this, but I feel like in some way/form, I 'need' to. Opinions?

I can already expect that I am going to be ostracized at my response (that I can't help).

STOP kicking yourself or feeling badly in any way.

Your brother is an enabler and is expecting you to be one too

You have made some reasonable suggestions of ways to truly help your mother. If she and/or your siblings don't accept your offers that's on them, not you.

Giving her money is NOT the answer and you know it in your gut.

You have NOTHING to feel guilty about.

You simply stand firm, apologize to no one (that gives them the impression you think you are doing something wrong) and be polite when you write your brother back. Stay very matter of fact - don't be wishy washy and say things like "oh, I wish we could help but our finances just don't allow it" . Be clear, even if you were a billionaire this would not be something you would contribute money to.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Arizona
1,034 posts, read 3,869,296 times
Reputation: 1368
You need to stand your ground and speak your mind. This is only your side of the story, but it sounds like you're the only one with half a brain here. Your mother could live comfortably on less allowance, but why should she when she isn't being held accountable for anything? Her bills, that she racked up herself, need to be paid out of her allowance. Then maybe she'll learn to be more frugal.

As stated by a previous poster, decline the request for money, explain you don't have a penny to spare as you're preparing to see your eldest off to college and assist with buying a car for him and you have other long term goals to save for.

Personally, I would state that I feel her weekly allowance allows her to live a comfy life and leave it at that except maybe mentioning your hands-on help and its value. Criticism of how your sibs are managing her money will only start a battle.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,796,945 times
Reputation: 5454
I think you're looking at this in a responsible manner. I don't know if you can avoid a conflict with your sibling though and of course I don't know what kind of relationship you have or how well the two of you communicate. If there is a conflict you just need to stand up for yourself and explain your point of view. I think you've explained it very well to us and it's very persuasive.

Last edited by JustJulia; 06-10-2011 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: Removed reference to deleted comment.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Wherever women are
19,020 posts, read 25,562,103 times
Reputation: 11309
You have no source of income and you obviously cannot drop anything into the mom fund. Her spending and the enablers are only secondary.

Last edited by JustJulia; 06-10-2011 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: Removed reference to deleted comment.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:42 PM
 
6,475 posts, read 9,929,370 times
Reputation: 10919
I'd say, sorry, as long as mom goes crazy with her spending, you will not contribure, but perhaps you can volunteer to have a yard sale to sell off all the stuff she's accumulating Or you be the one on her bank accounts.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Texas
779 posts, read 985,720 times
Reputation: 904
Given the information you presented, I would:
1. Stop feeling bad about not being able to help
2. Refuse to help even if you were financially able to do so, until the terrible spending patterns have been eliminted. That money would be better used for counseling. The core of the problem may not be financial at all, but psychological.
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