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Old 07-20-2005, 09:37 AM   #1
kaabost
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Concern about the financial situation of my future inlaws

DF and I are in the beginning stages of our careers. We are planning to be married in the next 2 years. We both earn decent money but we'll never have a ton of money to throw around. My concern: His parents are in their upper 60's and have not saved a dime for their retirement. Furthermore, I would die of shock if they actually did start saving. My future DFIL is still working when he really shouldn't be because they need the money. However, they still live in a nice house and purchase alot of things that they don't need. I believe that his mother is just planning on moving in with us when the time comes (DF is an only child). Ha! DF has already assured me that that will not happen although he will have to deal with alot of guilt bestowed upon him when the time comes. My parents have given me excellent advice in that we need to have a plan worked out concerning this issue before we get married (my Dad is dealing with his elderly father and finding out how expensive elderly health care is..........even with long term care insurance).

So, any suggestions? It's too late for long term health insurance. What happens when his parents can no longer take care of themselves. They're his parents. We will help them as most "kids" do and expect to do. We want them to be happy and comfortable. However, I don't want everything that we have worked for and will continue to work for in our own lives (money wise) to be consumed by people that haven't bothered to secure their own future (and continue to not work toward security). Am I being cold and selfish? What do people in this situation do? Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:41 AM   #2
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Wow...that's a tough spot to be in. I'm afraid I don't have any helpful advice...but you did just make me realize I'd better get started so my kids won't be posting this about me in 40 years!

Good luck to you...hopefully someone here will have some good advice!
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:43 AM   #3
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DH and I agreed before we got married that our parents were financially responsible for their elderly care and that none of them would be moving in with us. I don't mind coordinating the care, but we're not paying for it. My parents have spent a lifetime saving, and they are good about wills, trusts, and such. My in-laws are spendthrifts who expect someone else to take care of them. I'm quite sure that they figured that that would be us...not happening.

Nobody tells them to spend money that they don't have...they do that all on their own. DH and I don't spend money that we don't have. Why should we ultimately pay for their poor decisions? When DH was still on speaking terms with them, he tried to get them to see the light. It never worked. They actually made fun of us for saving up for things Yeah, it's SO much better to borrow against your house for vacations and cars and then to b*tch about how you're going to have to work well into your golden years

You and your future DH need to make a plan and stick to it. See a counselor if you need to to get it all figured out. Whatever you do, stick to the same page and don't let anyone guilt you into anything. Neither of you told your future in-laws to spend money that they didn't have during the years that they had an opportunity to save. It isn't cold to put your and your future children's financial futures first. Your in-laws had a chance to save and they blew it.
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:53 AM   #4
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Your future husband is an only child? I have to tell you that no matter what you may agree on right now it will all change when his parents health begins to fail. You and your future husband are going to end up supporting his parents...both financially and otherwise. I'm sure they (his parents) already realize this and thats why they live their lives the way they do. Good luck!
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:56 AM   #5
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Thanks for the support and advice! I do worry about the guilt my DF will face. His mother, while in many ways an excellent mother, has brought him up with alot of guilt. Although he has long since risen above the frequent guilt trips, he still gets bothered by them to some extent. This will be a huge one. Chrissyk, I am feeling the same way that you do. My parents have been preparing for their retirement for years and I guess I would have expected this of them too. However, what happens to elderly people who need various levels of care and who don't have any money at all? Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:58 AM   #6
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I have to agree with Broadway. Only children handle their parents different then children with brothers and sisters.
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:03 AM   #7
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I don't blame you for your decision.

I think you are your future DH need to really sit down and talk about this situation, and make sure you are both on the same page, although it sounds like you already have agreed. Then DH needs to relay that information to your in-laws NOW, and offer to help with some of the planning. That way your decision will be no surprise when the time comes.

I want to warn you, though, your DH might have a change of heart when the time comes and his parents lay the guilt trip on him and really need him. Prepare yourself for that.

Good luck.

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Old 07-20-2005, 10:05 AM   #8
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I feel the same way you do. I don't think that you should be obligated to help out his parents. I mean, you can't let them starve to death, but there are things you can do.

Since it sounds like they have a decent house and possibly other assets, you may want to go with them and talk to a financial planner (specializing in elder finances) about if they should sell their house or look into a reverse mortgage when the time comes. Make it clear to them that you would rather have them take care of themselves instead of leaving you an inheritance. Agree on a plan for them and stick to it!

I am 25 and both my DH and I contribute to 401(k) plans with a large % of our salaries. We are already thinking about our future and saving knowing that even social security probably won't be there for us. Both our parents have savings and pensions/401k's for retirement, so I don't think we will ever face the situation you have luckily.
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:06 AM   #9
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My inlaws are the same exact way. My FIL was diagnosed several years ago with bladder cancer and MIL is a hypochondriac (the only thing NOT bothering her is her prostate!!!!). FIL has not saved a dime for his retirement either. They have 4 dogs and 3 cats that have literally destroyed their house with urine. If the city came in I bet that house would be condemned! FIL has borrowed from his Ford TESPE fund many times and chances are there is not much left. He realized almost 2 years ago that if his health fails and he should pass on, my MIL wouldn't get his pension. He did retire as of 3-1-05. He has to pay that extra premium to make sure she gets a portion of his pension if he dies. I think they are having a hard time with that money coming in the first of the month. I can guarantee you that it is all gone by the 5th. He is about 2.5 years behind on his property taxes but goes out and buys big tvs and furniture. Go figure. We have loaned them $$ many times. They do pay us back, but what are they not paying so they can repay us?? I have told DH that the last time we loaned him $$ was the last. I am not a bank and we are done!! We have our own bills and responsibilities and that does not include theirs.
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaabost
Thanks for the support and advice! I do worry about the guilt my DF will face. His mother, while in many ways an excellent mother, has brought him up with alot of guilt. Although he has long since risen above the frequent guilt trips, he still gets bothered by them to some extent. This will be a huge one. Chrissyk, I am feeling the same way that you do. My parents have been preparing for their retirement for years and I guess I would have expected this of them too. However, what happens to elderly people who need various levels of care and who don't have any money at all? Thanks!
Well, the people who have either done a Medicare spend-down or who are just w/o assets get their care provided by Medicare. This takes planning if you have assets. In your in-laws' case, I don't think you have much to worry about in that regard. My folks faced it with my grandparents, who were unwilling to do the planning until it was just waaaay too late. In a way, I'm thankful, as it inspired them to do what they needed to do for themselves also.

If your DH is still bothered by their guilt trips, then get him to a counselor pronto! I know whereof I speak. I was VERY bothered by my mother's guilt-trips until I got help. He needs to get over that BEFORE you get married, ESPECIALLY because he's an only child. You don't want YOUR children paying financially because your in-laws lived high off the hog and then expected you all to fund their retirement.

Frankly, they can "expect" anything that they want. What you actually give into is another story. People without ANY children manage in their old age. Why should people with an only child expect him to be their cash cow retirement fund while they live it up and don't save There is Medicare and Social Security. They may have to live on a fixed income, and they may end up in a lesser nursing home than if they'd saved up and moved into a nice assisted-living place. Oh, well...life is all about choices, and they've made theirs. It doesn't mean that YOU have to pay for those poor choices.

I agree with the poster who said that your DH needs to sit down with them NOW to lay it on the line. If I were him, I'd do it in writing, and I might also involve an impartial 3rd party (counselor, financial planner, etc.) so they can't claim "amensia" about the conversation later on. I'd rather have them realize that it's time to pay the piper NOW than to have to put them in substandard care later on because that is all they can afford.
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Anne
I have to agree with Broadway. Only children handle their parents different then children with brothers and sisters.
Yup. As an only, who else is there to care for the parents? I've known this since I was a young child and was very upfront with my then DF when the time came. It's not just parents moving in with you. It's being responsible for EVERYTHING if/when.
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:30 AM   #12
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My DH is also an only child. We are in a different situation because my in-law's and my parent's are probably the most prepared people that you will ever come across in regards to planning for their retirement.

When we first got married, I think I would have felt the same way as you. No way would my in-law's move in with me. I am sure my DH felt the same way about my parents. I do have a sister, but financially we are better off to care for anyone.

However, in giving it serious consideration I would take care of my in-laws and my paren'ts if the situation warranted it. Both sets of parents deserve to be have the same love bestowed upon them that they bestowed upon us when we were growing up.

My DH and I have butted heads with both sets of parents over the years and should that situation happen it would not be the thing I would have wanted to happen - but we would deal with it.

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Old 07-20-2005, 10:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaabost
However, what happens to elderly people who need various levels of care and who don't have any money at all? Thanks!

well, they could try to get on SSI. This is a program for elderly people who have lower income, no assets and a disability.

SSI recipients are automatically eligible for Medicaid.

You can also try uncompensated care pool from your local hospital for hospital expenses only. Prescription would not be included in this.

they can try for food stamps, fuel assistance some states do have a prescription drug component of eldery care.

if nursing home care is needed, it will be difficult to find a decent place that will take just MCR and MCD. Alot of these are dirty and the patients are neglected.

There are stories of the elderly eating pet food to get by.

they can be forced into bankruptcy over credit cards etc...

2 1/2 years of taxes the house will have a lien on it and it will be impossible to use it as an asset or sell it free and clear

Pay the taxes and you might be able to get a reverse mortgage to help pay for expenses.
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:45 AM   #14
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I wish I had the answers, because I'd use them for my own life. We're going to be facing a similar situation soon. DH's stepdad is dying, and he's going to leave DH's mom and 3 little brothers and sister (entering 6th, 5th, and 3rd grades this fall) deep in dept and with MIL not working. They've never saved anything, despite the fact that he found out he had an incurable, fatal illness 15 years ago. In fact, they've done the opposite. DH's stepdad (my SDIL?) has decided that since he has limited time left, he's going to buy everything he can to enjoy it, including a pool and numerous other puchases. And he won't let MIL work because he wants to be with her.

DH (who is similar to an only child because the next child was born when he was a senior in high school) and I have decided that we will make sure that their physical needs are met. We will give up things like Disney vacations and newer cars for them, but we WILL continue to contribute to our retirement accounts, other savings accounts, and our children's college. Yes, our MIL may try to make us feel guilty. In fact, she probably will. But we've offered our advice many times over the past years, and she doesn't take it. In her case, giving her money to support herself would be enabling her bad habbits rather than actually helping her anyway.

Sorry. I know this isn't actually any help, but I wanted you to know that you aren't in it alone.
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:11 AM   #15
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I would put your retirement savings where it is not easy to ge them out. Money sitting in a bank account is much easier to access than a retirement plan or mutual funds. If the money is invested or even in CDs then you wont be able to get to it as easily...or can use that as the excuse for your ILs. DH is one of four boys but I am also concerned about this. I want to make sure that our kids can go to college. We have even set up our wills so that family can't get their hands on our money and it all goes to a trust for the kids.
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