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Old 03-30-2014, 02:50 PM
47,573 posts, read 60,679,370 times
Reputation: 22283


Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
FWIW, I'm a guy.

I've been out of town training for a new job for the last month and came back home for a few days to get the rest of my things.

They have greatly neatened up the house. Dad has sold some large exercise equipment that we used years ago, but hadn't been touched lately. This has freed up a lot of space and he's also cleaned out probably half the storage totes. The excess furniture I'm taking with me has been tidied up. It's not all done, but he's done a good amount of the stuff that he can do with no money. He's also going to focus on tearing out some old carpet that has gotten wet over the years and just go backt to the concrete.

Mother has also cut down on her possessions, though not to the extent he has. She had an extra bedroom where stuff (old clothing, bedding, etc) had accumulated fairly significantly. The bed can now be used as a bed and the rest of the stuff has been organized much more efficiently.

It does appear that they are at least taking some steps toward downsizing. Mother has also been complaining about the stairs and that she needs something one level.

Honestly, a lot of the problems seem to be due to poor money management, but I've tried figuring out where it is going in the past with no luck other than eating out. They really have no clue on their spending habits. They LOVE eating out and I'm betting they drop $100/week doing so and sometimes throw out the food they intended to cook. He works 10 hours shifts on nights with two hours commuting, so he's too tired, and she feels too bad. Their Facebook friends always comment on the restaurant going. As soon as I walked in the door, they wanted to go right out to eat and it would have easily been $25-$30 for the two of them. We ended up grilling burgers at home. They probably do this three times a week. My rough guess is they are spending $300-$400/month eating out. He only drinks maybe a beer per day when I'm not there, she doesn't drink, neither smokes, and he's usually always home if he's not working or at the gym, same with her. They don't have expensive tastes or costly vices, other than the eating out. I think if they would sit down with someone competent in budgeting they could get this monkey off their backs quickly.

The mortgage is only $725/month and they have one car payment at about $250/month. They make decent money for the area, but honestly, $70k for two people, with two cars, with one commuting 400 miles a week isn't a lot. I don't see why they are having this kind of trouble, but it's still going to be fairly no-frills.

Saving for a good retirement isn't going to happen at this point - that ship has sailed. The thing they need to focus on is minimizing expenses and making do with less, which they are not going to do based on them not lowering their lifestyle after the job loss and income decline several years. My real worry is that they are going to be financially dependent on someone else before they lose their physical independence.
If their mortage is only $725, then it doesn't sound like $300 or so for meals out on $70,000 a year is all that bad. Lots of people making $70,000 or even less have an over $1000 house payment.

One woman I know thought her dad was having a hard time financially - he lived in the same humble home, same old furniture. He had a car but didn't travel much.

When he died, she and her brothers were shocked by how much money he had -- he could easily have bought a bigger house, taken some expensive trips bought himself expensive clothes.

Eating out if they don't eat all that much might cost them $25 to $30 for both except when they splurge -- it could cost almost as much to go to the grocery store and buy up all the ingredients to make a dinner. If that's their only "vice", they may be a whole lot better off than you actually realize.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:38 PM
Location: sumter
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Move on with your life, sounds like a change will do you good. Continue to remain close with your parents and keep in touch with them. Good luck
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:39 PM
Location: Tennessee
23,634 posts, read 17,606,575 times
Reputation: 27701
They had been storing my mail for me while I was gone and I found a collection notice of theirs that was mixed in with my mail for a medical debt...of $10.01. They let a $10 bill go to collections. I've seen various collection notices around the house over the last year or so and most of these were for less than $500. There seem to be numerous creditors with a lot of small balances. Collection calls to the home number have been around thirty a day for the last two business days I was at home. A couple of months ago a collector was calling my cell number asking if I knew them.

He left a 401k statement in plain view. I didn't reach much of it, but he has around $3,500 left in the 401k at his current company and is paying back on a 401k loan to the tune of $170/month. I have no idea how much, if any, is left in any prior investments he had or what the nature of those investments are.

They have always been TERRIBLE about reading and even getting their mail, and often let it pile up for several weeks at a time, then go through it in one big round. By the time they get around to it, many of the bills that weren't in collections when the notice arrived have probably gone to collections. I went to the mailbox Sunday and there were newspapers piled up from at least Friday, so they don't even get the mail every day.

He also procrastinated on doing the taxes. He finally sat down and did them, but was missing some documentation from last year. They are terribly disorganized and are just sticking their heads in the sand, and that's killing them.

Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
If they can't make it on 70k in this area I really think they need some financial advice. I support three people here, and occasionally help out another, on half that, but it does require budgeting and not a lot of 'extras'. It might be tough but if they can work another 10 years or more they can still put up a little bit of an additional retirement fund too.
Working at a bank your mom should have some sort of nice pension or 401K set aside, what about your dad? How much longer do they have on the mortgage? Possible that the mortgage ends before retirement and they feel like their retirement savings will be enough to cover their other needs? Are they hoping for an inheritance from your grands to cover them later in life?

Not to be morbid but don't begrudge them enjoying things too much now. My dad scrimped and saved and planned well for a long retirement, a retirement he enjoyed for less than 2 years before he passed. I wish he had taken more time to enjoy his life, and worried less about the future he didn't get to have.
It is a local bank and there is no pension provided that I know of and she only has about $20k in the 401k after working there for nine years. After nine years, she's still not making more than $35k, and started around $30k.

They took out a 30 year mortgage in 1997, so it won't be paid off until 2027, when they're 70. I don't know if they've refinanced or on what terms.

Dad is one of five kids and his parents are not well off, so even when they die, what he'll be receiving won't be meaningful financially. Her mother is still alive and seems to have a decent amount put back, and there is only one other sibling, so he's talked about buying out my aunt's half of the home (with what?), living in the grandmother's home without a payment, and trying to sell the current home. However, that side of the family has always had long nursing home stays, and with the exception of one family member who was a wealthy developer and politician in the area, the rest died penniless after end of life care bills were paid.

They were wanting to help me shop for an apartment this weekend here in Indy. Dad said earlier in the week he didn't even have $200 to pay for the rental truck for when I do find a place, even though I'd pay him back once he gets here. I told him that if he can't afford to pay for the truck, he can't afford the gas to come to Indiana and back. He seemed really upset that he doesn't have the money to be helpful, but I can't do anything about it. If he can't afford $200 when I'd pay him back the next day, he's just dead broke. I could book the moving truck on my own, but then mother has to drive their car so they have a way back, and he can't load it all himself. If I come back to help him load the truck, then I'm out gas for another 800 mile trip, and I don't have any time off to work to move. As far as I'm concerned, they're too broke to even help. Unless something changes drastically over the next few days, I'm going to tell them to just sell the furniture and I'll get new stuff delivered on my own.

I have no idea how they got in this shape or even how bad off they really are. Like I said, $70k isn't a ton, but it's not poverty level, and it's only the two of them with a reasonable mortgage payment. There is no "stuff" to show for it and not a lot of vices. I'm clueless as to where it's all going and apparently they don't have a clue either, or if they do, are too inept to correct it. They really need financial counseling and a plan to try to get this debt under control.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:03 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
5,798 posts, read 4,851,439 times
Reputation: 19509
Okay, I'm beginning to see the problem, and it has nothing to do with where they live. They are overwhelmed by their debt problems and are in denial, and sound like they may even have some depression going on. By not opening their mail everyday they are compounding the problem. I think it is sort of like a hoarder, when things get so big and bad, they just close their eyes and hope it all goes away. I would help them look for a financial counselor in their area who can help them sort this out, then sit down with them for an honest discussion. Offer to help them gather the bills and sort them and make an appointment with the counselor, if they will let you. Remember, they are adults, and your parents, so show them respect but compassion for the mess they have gotten themselves into. They need to figure out what they owe and to whom before they can tackle it. Then one by one they can start chopping down the debts until they are debt free. It can be done. Their income is sufficient to live quite nicely in east Tenn, once the debt issue is resolved.
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