Author Topic: Navigating money issues with parents - long  (Read 8119 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

AylaM

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 326
Navigating money issues with parents - long
« on: September 21, 2013, 09:42:15 PM »
A short overview of a long thread is:  My parents helped me out when I was unemployed.  They are having problems now and I'd like to help.  However, they seem to be counting on a situation that I am unhappy with (me continuing to live with them).  This presents 2 problems:

  • I hate the idea of living with my parents.  In part because of the stigma attached to it and in part because I don't get on well with my dad
  • It seems to me that they could be doing more to help themselves, but instead are fighting about what to do

I want advice to help me determine what my obligations are and how to bring the subject up.  You can skip the background and proceed to the bolded part at the bottom if that is enough info for you.

BACKGROUND

My story:

My parents moved here to MyCity in 2009, because Dad was relocated for work.  At that point I was still in school as an undergraduate.  They were  buying a house and I was no longer able to keep my dorm, so I moved in with them and was paying rent. 

I was unable to find a job after graduation and eventually went to grad school using a stipend.  I was not paying rent at that point in time, but was trying to keep my expenses to a minimum and was pitching in with groceries and such when I could.  They also needed a second car, and since I wasn't working I leant/gave them my car so that they didn't have to buy one.  They used it during the day to get to work and I used it at night to get to class.

I graduated and eventually found a job.  I'm paying rent again, but I'm not quite on my feet yet, so if I wanted to move out tomorrow, I could not.  The amount of rent I pay is about going rate.  It is less than a single apartment but more than a room rental/roommate situation.

Also, I love my Dad, but would not choose to live with him if it were not a necessity.  I did not learn this until after I had gone to college and come back.  As a kid he was just the "mean parent".  Now I just think he is a jerk.  I think it is probably more of a mix.  He might be a bit of a jerk, but I see him as more of a jerk because he is trying to put himself back into the parent role and I am not as accepting of that as I was at 17.  At 17 it was "he's my dad, and he's strict, and I have to listen".  Now it is "what a complete jerk! he can't order me around like that!"

My Grandparents' Story:

My Dad's parents moved here when my parents did. They lived in OtherCity , the same city my parents moved from in 2009.  Grandparents (GP) decided to move here because there was no family left in OtherCity, and MyCity is much closer to their family.  They moved in with my parents as well and were paying rent until they encountered some unexpected debt that required debt counseling.  They talked with Dad and he agreed that until the debt repayment plan was done they didn't need to pay rent, but they should pitch in with groceries when they could.  Mom initially was ok with this because she figured it would still help them out.  It didn't because the GP's idea of helping with groceries was to buy the expensive delivery food that we don't need.  So basically my parents were still buying all of the groceries.

GP paid off the debt and now have their money and are using it for other things.  According to the agreement they made with Dad, they should be paying rent again, but are not.  They are taking expensive vacations and buying frivolous things (think custom car paint job), which Mom notices and gets mad at because they should have been paying rent.

My Parents' Story:

Dad is retiring from his current job (Military) and looking for a job as a civilian.  Mom, after years of trying and various setbacks, has finally gotten her degree and can (as soon as she finishes the paperwork - she only just passed the required tests) be a teacher.

They  have recently started discussing money and future plans.  It has come to light that for the last 1.5-2 years they have not been making ends meet.  And, apparently, they were not in a great situation before that.  The long and short of it is that even with me paying rent again and covering my own expenses, they are not making ends meet.  By the sound of it, even if I hadn't moved in with them they'd have been in this situation, but my part in it probably sped it up a little.  This is due to both some bad choices on their part and some bad luck in the past.

The parents are fighting about how to fix the debt situation.  The original plan was Dad would get a job in MomsHomeCity, which is about 2 hours away and has higher salaries.  We've lived there before and Dad likes it better than MyCity.  They intended to move in with Mom's mother.  She lives alone in 5 bedroom house.  They were going to pay enough rent that Mom's mom would come out ahead in the situation and she was happy to have them.  It was decided that whoever stayed in this house (me/GP and there was talk of Dad's single brother moving in) would take over the utilities while my parents continued to pay the mortgage.  If  no one stayed, they would rent it out for at least the amount of the monthly utilities.  Houses in our development rent readily.

They'd do this until their debt was paid off (about 3 years, with Dad's strict budget) then decide what to do from there.

This plan worked well for them because the amount they had agreed to pay Mom's mom was less that they were shelling out for groceries/utilities here, so dad would be making more and saving money. It worked well for me because I could agree to take on half the utilities or move.

Now Dad's other brother is being stationed nearby and apparently Dad is reconsidering this plan, as his once dispersed family is congregating around MyCity.  He is looking at jobs here that pay less, and is apparently not intending to ask his parents for rent.  I happened across Dad's budget and it has my contribution as part of his income and none from my grandparents.  With a very strict budget they could get by if I continue to pay my rent and they have a little extra income.  This income not outrageous.  Either GP paying rent, Mom working, or even some combination of that would cover this small amount. If mom starts working they need to find a way to get her to and from work.  And they need to make a firm decision about where they want to live.

Dad is urging mom to take her old job back immediately.  She quit in part because she needed the time to do her student teaching and in part because she hated it.  It was part time and minimum wage, and she made about the same amount as my Grandparents were supposed to pay in rent.   It is apparent that that job is hers for the asking.  So there is a big fight about whether she should take back her old job or if the GP should be asked to chip in again.

END BACKGROUND

My problem has 2 parts:

PART 1:
I have, apparently, become the receiver of all complaints.  My mother has taken to unloading me whenever money-related subjects come up.  I was originally content to listen, but lately it has become more frustrating because there isn't much I can do to help.  I can see both sides of the situation, and honestly feel they are both being stupid.  I certainly have my opinion, but I haven't said anything about it.

Mom rarely goes overboard with complaining in general, but this topic is such a big thing.  I don't mind discussing it occasionally, but now it seems to come up all the time.  I want to be both polite and nice about asking her to not speak to me about the fight about working vs Grandparents. I know polite and nice are not the same, but if it comes to it I'll take the complaints instead of ruining the relationship.  I am unsure about the best way to go about it.  I would appreciate advice.

PART 2:
If they stay here I honestly can't imagine staying here much longer.  They helped me when I was unemployed and would like to pay them back.  But, I don't like being an adult living with parents, and I particularly don't get along with Dad.   I can't afford to pay them the amount they want for rent and move out, but I know from the budget that they are counting on that extra income.  I am thinking of staying until next September (which is when mom should start her teaching job ,if she is lucky).  And I think that is fair. They get $$ from me for a year to help while they transition,  I have time get on my feet again, and can move later.  I think that is also enough time so that if Mom doesn't get a job then that I won't feel like I am leaving them high-and-dry.  If they go to MomsHomeCity, I would be content to stay longer and continue with rent/utilities.

I don't want to sound like I'm issuing an ultimatum of "If you don't move, I won't pay you".  But I think they should know that if they do stay here, they need to prepare for the fact that I won't be staying.  I can still pay them some money if they stay and I move out, but not as much.  I also do not I want to come out and say "I hate living with Dad, and refuse to do it".  But I honestly can't figure out what to say.  Or if I should just wait until they make a decision and then tell them my plans?

BarensMom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2585
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 09:49:05 PM »
I think you need to start doing whatever it is you need to do to get enough $$ saved to move out of your parents' house, even if it's to a furnished room or a roommate situation.  Your father's (and mother's) expectations of your income making up for their bad planning is unreasonable. 

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1367
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 09:55:24 PM »
I would casually mention that you are thinking of moving out in a year or so.  That way they can include that option when discussing it.

As far as the complaining, I think a common suggestion when there are repeated complaints from a friend is to say "So how are you going to address that?" It helps them realize you want them to move on.

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2142
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 09:56:40 PM »
I think you need to start doing whatever it is you need to do to get enough $$ saved to move out of your parents' house, even if it's to a furnished room or a roommate situation.  Your father's (and mother's) expectations of your income making up for their bad planning is unreasonable. 

Absolutely agree.  The longer that you wait to get out, the harder it may be.  Get yourself out of this dysfunctional situation as soon as possible. 

Shame on your grandparents, for expecting the two younger generations to subsidize their financial carelessness.

In our area, good substitute teachers are *gold*, and often the hiring is done from the sub list.  Your mother needs to get on the sub list for every school that she could reasonably get to in the mornings.

I'm sorry to say this, but your parents are not looking out for your welfare.  Our son has been living with us and getting a degree.  It never occurred to us to ask for $$$$. 


gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7908
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 10:02:43 PM »
I think you need to start doing whatever it is you need to do to get enough $$ saved to move out of your parents' house, even if it's to a furnished room or a roommate situation.  Your father's (and mother's) expectations of your income making up for their bad planning is unreasonable.

I agree with Baren'sMom.  If I were you, I think what I'd concentrate on is saving enough money to move into a roommate situation or an efficiency apartment as soon as possible.  If your parents and grandparents know that you cannot be considered an economic factor, they'll be forced to figure out a solution for themselves.  One that doesn't involve you!

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 10:23:35 PM »
Do everything you can to extricate yourself from the middle of your parents' money problems, and their arguments/marriage.  You did not cause their money problems, and you cannot fix them.  They are adults, and if they were capable of raising you, then they are capable of handling things without your help.

Yes, they helped you out, but you do not owe them forever.  It sounds like you were paying rent most of the time, as well as loaning/giving them a car. There has to be some point at which the "payback" is enough.

If you had an easier relationship, it would be good to be able to sit down and discuss what you all think is a fair and useful amount of payback, but it sounds like that may never reach a resolution in your situation.  If you think it is possible to make that a productive discussion, that would be ideal. It sounds like you feel, in your own mind, that staying until September would be a fair amount of payback and tolerable to you.

Whatever the date is, September or earlier (I feel as the pp's, that the earlier the better), I think it is best if you make that decision independent of your parents' decisions.  Then you can tell them what it is, as soon as you have decided.  That gives them ample time to make their own decisions/arrangements.  If you have decided you are moving in X month, independent of what they do, then it can't possibly be an ultimatum.

Good luck to you!

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 10:24:29 PM »
I'll side with everyone else. It's time for you to start dropping hints and saving.

I don't see that they helped you out so tremendously.
You paid rent; when you weren't paying rent, you lent them your car ($$ value, frankly).
Every single one of my parents(-in-law) would have not asked for rent money while I was college. It's fair that yours did, but don't think that's some huge favor they did for you.


What did they do with that money? They blew it. They don't have it now to cushion this time.
So start dropping hints, and start looking for other roommate situations. There will be a way to get out. Find it.

As for the "dumping all the financial worries on you," stop listening intently. Start giving yourself permission to only sort of listen. And do that old "what are you going to do about that?" to them.

It's not your job to fix this, and they shouldn't be making you feel as though it is. Unfortunately many people's venting style DOES semantically make the listeners feel that they ought somehow to fix the problem. Try to remember that--it's not a REAL question, it's just the way people have been conditioned to phrase things.

Be an unsatisfying place to dump all those worries. Interrupt before she gets going and say, "I'm sorry, Mom--I have to go to the bathroom." Take your time in there--develop some constipation, or diarrhea, or something, if you're asked. "Things just took longer this time," I say when I'd been playing games on my handheld for 15 minutes.

Find somewhere walking distance that's interesting to go to (have we have this convo w/ you before? It feels like it--but maybe that wasn't you). Maybe you're going to take your laptop to the McDonald's and do some writing. Maybe you're going to go see if they've got a bra in your size at the dollar store. Maybe you wanted to get a walk in before/after dinner.

Make the conversation end as fast as it begins. (Don't even bother saying why--just the moment she gets to money or the grandparents--oops, gotta go potty NOW, something you ate, right?)

Be uninterested.

Ask her what she is going to do about it. As if there's an answer, and SHE has it (not you!!) Treat her complaints as though they are a *mildly* interesting story and you wonder what the ending is. HER ending.

Actually, your best tactic: GET A SECOND JOB!! Somewhere, somehow. Even if it's babysitting. Mopping floors at a late-night diner. Find a caterer and see if they need help (esp. if you're in a city and have a 9-to-5 job, caterers often to business functions on weeknights, I know someone who did this).

That gets you out of the house and you don't have to listen to them. And you can tell them that you're earmarking all your extra money to be able to move out.



cicero

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17343
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 11:28:56 PM »
I think you need to start doing whatever it is you need to do to get enough $$ saved to move out of your parents' house, even if it's to a furnished room or a roommate situation.  Your father's (and mother's) expectations of your income making up for their bad planning is unreasonable.
This.

And it has nouting to do with the so-called stigma of living with the parents, but everything to do with an extremely unhealthy multi ggenerational dysfunctional relationship with money.

Do it sooner rather than later. Make it seem like this was aalways the plan, if you don't want to get bogged down in endless discussions and aarguments, but don't stay on living in this situation. And as ssomeone who grew up in a very dysfunctional home ( financially) it may be a ggood idea for you to get some financial guidance now - if * their way of living* is the only way you know, it's easy to fall into that way of living unless you get some tools on how to manage your money

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

lkdrymom

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 963
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2013, 09:39:35 AM »
Your grandparents not paying rent is not your problem. Please don't feel like you have to stay and help. This issue is not of your making.

My best suggestion is get a second job for 6 months. This way you won;t be home to enjoy your father's company. Save all that money and use it to find your own place.

rain

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 744
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2013, 09:46:38 AM »
I'm podding everyone who said its not your problem, get a second job (save all that money), and move out ASAP

if there are efficiency apartments in your area, that might be the way to go
"oh we thank thee lord for the things we need, like the wind and the rain and the apple seed"

JoyinVirginia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6019
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2013, 10:34:59 AM »
I did not read the details. Finances, children, parents can be condensed to one piece of advice: put on your own oxygen mask first. Of you can help, great, but help with basics. Help does not mean you sacrifice you're financial security or retirement plans our your sanity for a child or a parent. Do what is best for you, then help as you can.
My relevant background for viewpoint: We helped oldest dd with getting car and with paying off student loan that had interest. We came up with repayment plan she can afford, no interest, and mutually agreed. This is so much better than a vague obligation of support that is not time limited because we helped her. Of we make mistakes on our financial management its not up to her to fix it.

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5481
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2013, 11:09:09 AM »
Ditto to everyone else. It really isn't your problem. Now in some families, it could be. If everyone was kind and rational and living at home was a bonus. Just because your dad put you down for income doesn't mean you owe that to him.

Start saving. Get a second job if possible to help with saving and get you out of that house and away from complaining. Let your parents know you are looking for a new place. Personally, I think that you should be paying less than a roommate situation as your are in your parents house. In a roommate situation you get equal access to all the house and decisions. Here you get your parents and grandparents dysfunction. Not a good deal.

You sound kind and concerned. Please don't think we are berating you for those qualities. But I almost feel that you feel a greater obligation to your parents than for yourself. Get yourself on your feet.

The Wild One, Forever

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1732
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2013, 12:11:15 PM »
I did not read the details. Finances, children, parents can be condensed to one piece of advice: put on your own oxygen mask first. Of you can help, great, but help with basics. Help does not mean you sacrifice you're financial security or retirement plans our your sanity for a child or a parent. Do what is best for you, then help as you can.
My relevant background for viewpoint: We helped oldest dd with getting car and with paying off student loan that had interest. We came up with repayment plan she can afford, no interest, and mutually agreed. This is so much better than a vague obligation of support that is not time limited because we helped her. Of we make mistakes on our financial management its not up to her to fix it.

I totally agree with the advice you have already been given, and I especially love the bolded.  Also, I think it's outrageous that your grandparents have gone about their merry way, sponging off your parents and off your contribution, as they spend money on whatever they feel like.  I also agree that your parents need you a whole lot more than you need their help, and that you have certainly done your part.  Never would I expect rent from my son if he lived with me while pursuing his education, unless it were special circumstances.  Put on that oxygen mask and take care of you.

Best wishes to you.    ;)
Soft silly music is meaningful, magical

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2013, 02:45:10 PM »
But I almost feel that you feel a greater obligation to your parents than for yourself.

Of course she does, poor kid! Her parents have couched the idea of renting her a room in their home as "helping" her.

I'm OK with the idea of a parent saying, "once you've graduated high school and are 18, we don't have an obligation to house you anymore, even if you're in college." (I wouldn't choose that, but it's a reasonable philosophy for someone in the world to have.) But I *really* don't buy the idea that renting your kid a room, especially at market rates, is "helping" her.

Good luck, OP!

miranova

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1847
Re: Navigating money issues with parents - long
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 03:11:29 PM »
But I almost feel that you feel a greater obligation to your parents than for yourself.

 But I *really* don't buy the idea that renting your kid a room, especially at market rates, is "helping" her.



You know, I totally agree with this.  But on the other hand, OP mentions that she can't afford to move out.  Which begs the question, is she truly paying market rates?

It wouldn't change my advice, which is to GET OUT as soon as possible.  There is too much mutual dependence here.  We have a set of adults that are all relying on each other for their own survival, and the OP can't become a fully functioning adult until she gets herself out of that trap.  Even signing a lease somewhere has an end to it, you are only on the hook for the term of the lease, and you have the freedom to constantly re-evaluate your situation and decide to move somewhere else at the end of your lease etc.  In your current situation, your parents are relying on you with no end in sight, and are making no plans for how they would survive without your rent.  And you are relying on them in the sense that you say you can't afford to live alone, yet you don't really have a plan either as to how/when this reliance will end and when you'll be able to fully support yourself.

It's time for everyone involved to make a workable plan and put it in motion.  Look for a roommate situation with a shared lease if you can't afford to be fully on your own.  At least that way you aren't subsidizing a 3rd couple who isn't pulling their weight.