Would you *continue* to loan Money to Your Parents if it was hurting you Financially?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by devotedchristian, May 22, 2007.

  1. devotedchristian

    devotedchristian DIS Veteran

    Oct 16, 2002
    My Mom (Age 51) and My Stepfather are extremely poor to the point where they rely on Me and my StepSiblings to get them through every month.

    They only have Stepfather's Disability Income of $900 per month and they are in the negative each month.

    My Mom said she cannot work because she is legally blind in 1 eye and stopped working about 10 years ago to be a Stay at home wife (Us Kids had moved out).

    But a major part of the problem (and has ALWAYS been their problem) is my Stepfather's bad gambling habits...he plays the Georgia Lottery every Day. Cash 3...I don't know how much he spends on those Cash 3 slips but let's just say I had to loan them $20 for gas to get to my Grandmother's funeral and I saw him go into the Gas store and buy Cash 3 numbers

    I'm close enough of to My Mom but I've been giving money to her almost my entire life...Stepfather just makes it worse with his bad gambling habits.

    I pay their Car Insurance (DH does not know this) every month, given them money every month (anywhere from $25-$60 dollars per month) and my StepSister (Age 42) who gets food stamps every month for 3 kids buy them them grocery every month.

    After going through years of being broke and working through late nights and sleepless nights WITH our small child (DS...Age 4 in July), DH and I have finally built up a small savings and are trying to go on our first family vacation in 4 years.

    We really need it.

    My Mother has breast cancer and is going through Chemotherapy. She doesn't have health insurance... only Medicaid. She's responding well to the Chemo (no nauseau or fatigue) but the Cancer under her arm is causing her pain.

    Her oncologist presribed her pain medication but she has to wait to see if Medicaid will pay for the prescription ($30).

    Now, I have already decided I am going to pick up the prescription after work, ...because obviously I don't want my Mom in pain when I have $30 dollars.

    But, I just shelled out money this past Saturday for her to get her hair done...I had to go into our Savings/Disney Vacation account to do that...but DH said "I understand, go ahead, your Mom is worth it"

    But, had I known her Medicaid would not have paid for her prescription, I would said "Mom, I'll wash your hair for free...we need to save this money for your Pain Medications"

    I just found out about the prescription, I thought she had it already...

    It cost $64 to get her hair done and Stepfather and I went in together to get it done.

    So, at some point, because we have to keep dipping into our Savings/Disney Vacation account, DH is going to lose understanding. He feels we have fought too hard and made too many sacrifices to even get to the point of being able to pay our bills, keep a roof over our heads, AND put food on the table.

    I could go broke with trying to keep up with My Parents unexpected expenses... (Medical, Necessity Expenses like paying their Gas, Light, phone or last minute Property Taxes they get hit with every year).

    And my Step Siblings (Ages 25-33) aren't really helpful (Drugs, in and and out of Jail)

    I'm definetly going to get those pain prescriptions (and I know DH will gripe but say "Okay...one last time") ...because remember, he doesn't know I pay their car insurance per month...it's a small amount that he would miss anyway.

    Any Advice for me?
  2. TALB

    TALB Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2006
    I am so sorry for the struggle that you are facing. We have been going through a similar situation. It is very difficult because you feel guilty when you say no and angry at yourself when you say yes. Their addiction to the lottery needs to be addressed. That would free up alot of money for themselves. Please stay strong and remember that your husband and child comes first. You and your husband have worked hard to better your lives and do not need to feel that it is your responsibility to parent your parents! Good luck.
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  4. luv2nascar

    luv2nascar <font color=purple>You're a wizard Harry. And a th

    May 17, 2000
    Personally I think you are being taken advantage of. $64 to get her hair done. If you don't have money do it at home or go to the cheapest place Holiday Hair of something $15. Honestly you think this situation is okay??

    They need to do something for themselves to make ago. I would not continue to pay for them money period no if and or buts. This is not a one time situation you are helping them out of. You and your family will never have anything because they will always need more money. He is gambling while you pay their bills. Give me a break. I wouldn't give them a dime. Maybe food or groceries but that's it.

    You are way to nice. I could never let someone use me like that.
  5. Hedy

    Hedy <font color=blue>I'm <s>22</s> 27 and I still kind

    Mar 14, 2006
    Honestly, I think as long as you're giving them money and your stepfather is gambling-you're just enabling his habits. You might want to think about coming clean to your DH, and then make helping your parents a line item in the budget-x a month, and once that's gone, it's gone.
    You might also want to think about gamblers anaymous for your stepfather.
    Take care.
  6. peanut12392

    peanut12392 Mouseketeer

    May 9, 2003
    I have a family member with a gambling problem and I know the problems it causes. He owes everybody in the family and we will never get it back. I would never give them cash for any reason. With my brother, we eventually took over his money, he had to turn over his check, and we paid the bills. There was no money for him to gamble with. This was the condition, and the only way we would help him at all. This may be too much for you to take on, but I think you need to try to force an end to the gambling (if at all possible) if you are going to help them at all. I worried all the time about what would happen to my brother with all the problems he was creating, and I finally realized that I shouldn't care about it more than he does. He needed to suffer the consequenses of his actions, and we were enabling him with our well intentioned "help."
    You DO deserve a vacation. You should take the vacation. DO NOT FEEL like you need to pass the money to them just because you have it. For me a vacation is a necessary part of my mental health. You are responsible with your money and should make sure you can take your vacation!!!
  7. perd

    perd DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2002
    I am shocked that they LET you do that. My parents would rather die than ask me for money. I would LIKE to help them and they flatly refuse, so my brother and I use birthdays, mother's and father's day and holidays to give them things they really want/need but would never ask anyone to help them with.

    No, you should not continue to give them money. By doing so, you are only supporting your stepfather's gambling habit and I think it's horrible that they accept money from you when they are wasting money on unecessary things. You should tell your husband you've been giving them money and let him handle it after that. And your sister has her own family to take care of; she shouldn't be giving them money, either!

    I just can't see paying for food and prescriptions for them so they have more money to use for gambling!
  8. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    There's no way I would continue to subsidize their income unless the gambling stopped. I think its time you had a family meeting and laid it all out on the table. I truly wouldn't mind helping out - even at the expense of my family vacation, if they were doing everything they could to make ends meet. There's no way I would sacrifice my vacation or things for my family so they can gamble.
  9. HayGan

    HayGan We could all use some pixie dust now and then :)<b

    Apr 28, 2004
    Wow! I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. :hug:

    Isn't your mom eligible for SSI? Aren't they eligible for some sort of public assistance? Have they looked into assistance with utility bills, food stamps, etc? Has she applied for any of these? I would begin by looking for programs that they would be eligible to add to their monthly income or help reduce their costs.

    I wouldn't be funding their lifestyle if money is going to things like lottery tickets. Many people look at that as some glimmer of hope to changing their life when it really is just a waste of money (but I'm sure you already knew that!)

    As for her prescriptions, talk to her doctors (or have her talk to them) and explain that she is on a very limited income. They will often change their scripts to something they know will be covered or often they will have samples that they can give her. Talk to the pharmactist. They often know of programs that people can appy for that will help cover the cost of medications.

    I can understand if you want to help them out but I wouldn't be giving them any money in the form of cash. By paying their bills you are freeing up money for your step-father to gamble with. Let them get thru it by themselves for a few months to see what they can really do on their own.

    I'm sure it is a big worry for you taking care of your mom in this way (plus dealing with her cancer) but she is an adult and has to learn to stand on her own feet. Your help to her should be a nce in awhile thing not a monthly part of your budget (unless you are really comfortable with it being such.)
  10. formernyer

    formernyer DIS Veteran

    Mar 16, 2006
    This is a horrible situation for you to be in. It's easy to "do the right thing" and stop enabling users when they are friends, siblings, etc. It's a lot harder to do when they are your parents AND there are health issues involved.

    It seems to me that they are taking advantage of you though. I'd probably pay her medical bills directly (don't give them the money...pay the bills for them). Other than that, I'd make them fend for themselves. The only reason I'd continue with the medical is because she is still your mother and if it were me I'd hate to look back and regret not making sure her illness was taken care of to the best of your ability.
  11. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Mar 1, 2007
    Man. THat is a tough one. Have you talked with them about not being able to afford to do this anymore?
  12. Stein

    Stein DIS Veteran

    Mar 8, 2006
    Although it would be so hard, I wouldn't give them cash help. If she is disabled and can't work, she should also be able to draw unemployment. At their age, they have a long hard road ahead until social security.

    I don't buy lottery tickets (ok, maybe $3 a year) because I view it as wasting money. If I gave someone money and they bought lottery tickets, giving them money would be wasting money.

    Could you use the money you give them to get them into financial counseling?
  13. Anewman

    Anewman <font color=green>Likes it topped with relish<br><

    May 13, 2005
    If you can not afford to support them or you choose not to it is 100% nobody can blame you.

    It is not easy, but then again I always think it was not easy for my parent to raise me. And I am not sure how I would cope with losing my mother someday knowing that I didn't do everything I could.
  14. gonemousin'

    gonemousin' Mouse-a-holic

    May 6, 2005
    I agree with all the previous posters...I wouldn't be giving them money for discretionary items and I think you and your DH need to take a look at how much you really can afford to pay their household bills on a limitless basis. I really think you and your DH should sit down and talk about the fact that you're paying their car insurance bill as well. What if he finds out - think of how insulted he might feel that you didn't share/discuss that with him. The fact that you're draining your savings account over this situation is alarming.

    If you and your DH decide to continue to fund a portion of their living expenses, I would suggest NEVER giving them actual cash. Buy the things they need and deliver them to their house...but do NOT give them the cash or you'll grow even more furious as you watch your stepfather waste it on the lottery (or other potential gambling fetish).

    The key point here is that this doesn't appear to be a short term situation. Your mom and stepfather are adults and need to find their own way through life without living off their children. I would have a heart to heart with your DH and figure out what makes sense for you.
  15. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Sep 29, 2002
    I agree with the others who said you are just enabling them. Why should you support his gambling addiction? And why should you support her decision not to work? If she isn't working due to her cancer treatment, that is totally understandable, but if she isn't working for the reason you stated (blind in one eye) that's just a poor excuse. My wife lost her left eye at age 20. She still graduated college and had a career in advertising and retail management before stopping to be a SAHM. After 10 years, she went back to work and has an interview on Thursday for a new position. So the "blind in one eye" argument doesn't fly with me. Sorry.

    I think you need to sit down with both of them and explain that you can't afford to keep supporting them and you know that some of your money is going toward gambling and you aren't willing to give any more money when that's where it is ending up.

    Tough love works both ways.
  16. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

    Sep 29, 2002
    I think this is great advice. If you continue to help support them, don't do it in cash so that the gambling can't happen on your dime.

    And forget about those $64 haircuts. My wife and I earn a very nice income and we both cut our own hair. Years ago, we used to go to Hair Cuttery for $15. No excuse at all for spending more than that in their situation.
  17. KristinU

    KristinU DIS Veteran

    Mar 25, 2000
    I often hear Dave Ramsey recommend the book Boundaries for folks struggling with situations like this. Maybe you'd find it a helpful read?

    Best of luck!
  18. PaulaSue

    PaulaSue <font color=purple>I have a purple car too and lov

    Aug 20, 2004
    Great Advise! IT will be hard but I think you guys have to say no. IT sounds like they know they family will pay so they don't. KWIM
  19. sk!mom

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

    Dec 30, 2000

    You are damaging your own finances and potentially your marriage. You are not responsible for adults. I would distance myself immediatly and refuse to pay any more bills. They gamble, live irresponsibly, and come to you for handouts because they can. It is way past time for them to take responsibility for themselves. If your mom can't get her prescription then she should contact her doctor. He can write a scrip for one that is covered.

    DH and I have similar family situations and have had to take a hard line so I am speaking from experience. They will take advantage as long as you let them.
  20. DVCJEN

    DVCJEN DIS Veteran

    Aug 10, 2005
    I have to agree. By funding their gambling you are only enabling them. Sure help with meds or food but pay for it directly. No cash and no nothing that isn't a need as defined by you. Don't jeapordize your marriage or your family for others.
  21. marianleah

    marianleah Earning My Ears

    Apr 28, 2007
    I am a 55 yr old breast cancer survivor. First of all, I'm amazed that she's going thru chemo and has any hair to cut...I lost mine after 2 chemo treatments. I also worked full time all throughout my treatment except for chemo days. Medicaid pays for all medications, including cancer related pain meds. You are being used! Take your mom to chemo, be her shoulder to cry on, help her with the housework or the laundry but don't support her financially. Her husband should be doing that. Take care of your family and go on the vacation you deserve as long as you help them in this manner, they will not help themselves.

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