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Old 01-27-2014, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Charlton, MA
1,229 posts, read 2,708,957 times
Reputation: 584
Default Can't afford to Retire!

Looking for advice for my Mom and her husband.

My Mom and her husband own a house that they owe more on than it's worth. Her husband recently lost his part time job. He receives retirement funds from his full time job from years ago plus social security. The loss of the job is huge for them as it helped them be able to afford their mortgage. His income without the part time job isn't enough to pay the mortgage.

My mom works as well, but her income isn't enough to pay the mortgage either. IF they put all their money together they would have enough money for the mortgage, but there would be little money for anything else. Her husband has extensive credit card debt.

They live in South Carolina.

Do you have any suggestions? I know this is short on details as I don't know a lot of specifics.

My Mom is 69 and her husband is in his 70s.

Her husband is suffering some medical issues and has had a complete personality change. He's either losing his marbles, or extremely depressed. He makes weird noises, grunts, gets really upset and hollers a lot. This is really just a total change. Mom believes these behaviours got him fired from his job.

I'm really mad at them for not planning better for their future and not making good financial decisions. I'm at a loss. They talked about filing bankruptcy but decided against it.

The only thing I can think of is just selling everything they own and downsizing into a small apartment. Short selling the house? Walking away from it? I don't know what the right thing is.

With the way things are it seems like my Mom is going to be working till she drops dead. Her husband is probably not going to be able to work again with his issues.

Help!
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
1,343 posts, read 884,099 times
Reputation: 2770
My advice will not be popular, but at the age your mother is and her husband's condition, I would advise them to try to sell the house right away (perhaps "as is, short sale") and if they can't, WALK away from it. She needs to reduce her stress right away ... it sounds as if her husband may have dementia -- that can manifest many of the signs you describe. As to his credit card debt, they should contact each entity and see if they can get a reduced balance to pay off, or just advise each of them that they will pay a very small amount a month each and ask that they cancel the cards and stop adding interest to the balance. It can not hurt to ask. However, those debts should come after the house situation is resolved and your mother can simplify her life. She should also get her husband to a doctor to see if they can give her a diagnosis based on his personality change you mentioned.
If your mother can manage to simplify, get out from under the mortgage, find a simple senior or rent-controlled (by income) apartment, with their combined social security income and his pension perhaps she could retire or work part-time. Life is too precious to worry about all the problems she is facing at her age...To all who read this I KNOW my input will be criticized but please, no haters -- this is just my opinion for this particular person's situation.
No house (mortgage) is worth the rest of one's life. I hope you can help your mother simplify, and try not to be too angry about her lack of planning -- believe me, this creeps up on a lot of us who thought we would still have lots of time to plan for old age. It comes quickly before we know it.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Lubbock, Tx
4,521 posts, read 1,323,780 times
Reputation: 5348
I think Magnolia has about the best solution. They probably can't handle renters, so sell and help them find something small and cheap to live in. Homes cost more than just the payments: taxes, insurance, maint. heat, law maintainance, watering, all kinds of expenses. A small apartment would probably be fine for two. They don't need that much space.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:41 PM
 
18,870 posts, read 13,496,346 times
Reputation: 24727
I agree, go with short sale. They are better off in a small apartment with less expenses. Downsize, at their age.

My friend had a similar situation, yes, he was sad to give up his home, but happy with lower utility bills, and no maintaince costs.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Oakland CA
7,006 posts, read 9,286,624 times
Reputation: 7036
And please get your step dad to a doctor. Alzheimer's treatments work the best at the very beginning. It's not a cure, but it's a delay.

Blessings to you.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:52 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
276 posts, read 111,197 times
Reputation: 291
Imo, all this advice is spot on. Best wishes to you and your family.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:52 AM
 
Location: Wildside of Oahu
1,217 posts, read 1,367,250 times
Reputation: 1768
I agree with trying to short sale but would also try working with the lender on reducing or restructuring the loan. They should also revisit the bankruptcy. At their ages, they will never be able to pay off significant credit card debts.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:33 AM
 
1,944 posts, read 1,223,975 times
Reputation: 2493
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagnoliaThunder View Post
My advice will not be popular, but at the age your mother is and her husband's condition, I would advise them to try to sell the house right away (perhaps "as is, short sale") and if they can't, WALK away from it. She needs to reduce her stress right away ... it sounds as if her husband may have dementia -- that can manifest many of the signs you describe. As to his credit card debt, they should contact each entity and see if they can get a reduced balance to pay off, or just advise each of them that they will pay a very small amount a month each and ask that they cancel the cards and stop adding interest to the balance. It can not hurt to ask. However, those debts should come after the house situation is resolved and your mother can simplify her life. She should also get her husband to a doctor to see if they can give her a diagnosis based on his personality change you mentioned.
If your mother can manage to simplify, get out from under the mortgage, find a simple senior or rent-controlled (by income) apartment, with their combined social security income and his pension perhaps she could retire or work part-time. Life is too precious to worry about all the problems she is facing at her age...To all who read this I KNOW my input will be criticized but please, no haters -- this is just my opinion for this particular person's situation.
No house (mortgage) is worth the rest of one's life. I hope you can help your mother simplify, and try not to be too angry about her lack of planning -- believe me, this creeps up on a lot of us who thought we would still have lots of time to plan for old age. It comes quickly before we know it.
I think that this is very good advice. It sounds to me like the parents are really on the edge of crisis, and are about to go under. OP -- don't be angry with your struggling parents. Now is the time to be emotionally supportive.

Dump the house -- walk away if it's under water on the mortgage. Declare bankruptcy to get out from under the credit cards if possible. It is all just business. For goodness sakes, simplify. Rent a small apartment. See a good doctor.
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:39 AM
 
1,329 posts, read 545,289 times
Reputation: 1665
Also remember in some states the foreclosure/eviction process can take 6 months to a year.
Should give them time to save some money.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Long Neck,De
3,693 posts, read 2,117,962 times
Reputation: 3294
Bankruptcy would get rid of the house and all the credit card debt. Looks like a no brainier to me. So it ruins their credit. So what??
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