(Closed) Dealing with a financially irresponsible parent…

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
492 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@howsweetitis:  Try have a rational conversation with her, maybe try get her to see a financial advisor but if she wont listen, I’m afraid there is nothing you can do. Make it clear that you will not be supporting her financially if she makes these decisions. You do not have to feel guilty, you are not responsible for your mom especially not if she expects you to pay for her spending long term. Explain that if she were doing the responsible thing, you would help her out where you could but not if she is going to take the lump sum and spend it. Has she considered re-investing a large portion of that money?

I am sorry you are going through this I really am… My in-laws situation isn’t half as bad as your moms and I have already had my husband feeling guilty etc about it so I have a good idea how you feel.. Just breathe and remember you are the child not the parent

Post # 4
5092 posts
Bee Keeper

OMG.  I know of people that can’t get jobs-at every age.  I hope that you can talk some sense into her! Or find Someone who can!!

Post # 5
6299 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@howsweetitis:  I’ve got no advice, but I can certainly relate! My mom is the irrisponsible parent too! She and my dad divorced when I was a kid, and she fought him to “get” the house. It was 3500sqft and she was a Stay-At-Home Mom with no income. Of course she won the house, went to work, but couldn’t afford it on her own and sold my childhood home for peanuts. Over the years it’s been a constant stream of stupid things. She owned a home, which she let go into forclosure becuase she was tired of paying for it and was upside down in it and couldn’t sell it for what she had in it. Instead, she spent the money on lipsocution. Then, another time she took a trip to Europe and when she came back was “fired” from her job. Honestly, I think she knew she was fire before the trip and still went anyway.

Honestly, I have adapted the “not my problem” motto. We have other issues, so my mom essentially knows that I don’t care about her problems becuase they are a direct result of her bad behavior. 

Post # 6
1098 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@howsweetitis:  My friend’s parent is iresponsbile like this. Do you give her money? I would advise you not to. Don’t be afraid to tell her ‘I’m sorry I don’t have it” and leave it at that. My friend’s Mom use to drain her of money until she got the nerve to tell her no.

Post # 7
419 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Honestly,  while you see it as irresponsible to do this, some people are independant.  I don’t care how good of a relationship I had with an EX, I would be balistic if he tried to “bribe” me into working 5 more years and then “sign off” of a portion of the place I was living.  Perhaps she isn’t good with money otherwise, but I cannot fault her for wanting to live in her own home that her ex dosn’t own stake in.  If you were an infant it’s been what 25+ years that she’s had to live in a home in part owned by him?

That and teachers get burned out.  If she’s retiring she likely deserives it.  If she decides she wants to go back to work after a year or two, there are always private schools, learning centers and after school programs for her to go to.

The only thing I can say is don’t give her money, other than that, let her live her life.  there is always social security.

Post # 8
3069 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000

@howsweetitis:  oh sweetie, I’m so sorry for this.

I hang out on a lot of financialearly retirement boards and this is one of the hardest issues to deal with.

Right now, today–you start saying clearly: “mom, I won’t be able to help you out. You will need more money to live on and I can’t help you with that.”

Make your boundaries clear now, and repeat.

Post # 9
1072 posts
Bumble bee

@howsweetitis:  I know what this is like, but I’m still struggling and have no solution.  It’s the dark spot in my life. 🙁  But I’m sending good thoughts your way and hoping you’ll find an effective and as painless as possible way to deal with this!

Post # 10
8426 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m sorry. That really sucks. I have serious issues with the financial decisions my Mother-In-Law makes and it drives me nuts. I made DH agree before we married that she will NEVER live with us, no matter what. She has made her choices and she can deal with the outcome.

She has literally said to us “I have no idea what I’m going to do once your dad retires and doesn’t have to pay alimony. oh well!” Hmmm…how about save some money, instead of having shopping sprees on amazon, every new gadget and eating out every meal?

Post # 11
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013



 I have no advice, but I sympathize.  FIL and Mother-In-Law are terrible with money and receive government assistance.  They currently do not live together and Mother-In-Law keeps hinting that we should allow her to move in so we can “take care of her.”  Like PP, I made DH promise that we would not let Mother-In-Law live with us…EVER!  He agreed, but he still gives her money (nothing outrageous, but he buys her groceries every month and pays her car insurance).  If I had to choose, I would rather him give her money every month or so, than deal with the headache of living with her.  I am not quite sure how Father-In-Law survives, but he has not asked us for funds.  


It is hard for me because I was raised SO differently.  My parents have planned for their eventual retirement for years! They said they NEVER want to burden their children with their medical bills or living expenses.  I am surprised at how many parents BELIEVE their children SHOULD take care of them financially.  Depending on the finances of the child, it can be a burden. 


Post # 12
5622 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Also no advice, but I know exactly what you are going through.

My mom divorced my father, but she did remarry a younger man. They spend money as fast as they make it. I understand people are living paycheck to paycheck, but they each smoke 2 packs of ciggs a day, have mutlitple computers EACH, a 60″ tv, and buy lots of silly things on the internet all the time. My mother is also one of those people who “collects” tv series.. even if she’s never heard of it or never wants to watch it?! What?!

They have NO money saved. At all. None. No retirement, no emergency fund, nothing! Neither of them have a retirement plan through their work. It really worries me, but everytime I try to have that talk with her, she just goes on and on about how she’s had such a hard life and things don’t work out that way. I’ve tried giving her ideas such as NOT chain smoking.. only smoking 1 pack a day [even though I’d like her to quit], that right there would save them about $300 a month.

Post # 13
2184 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013


I hear you on this frustration… my IL’s are a huge worry to me.
For you it sounds like you cant really do much for your mom except just tell her exactly how things will be (for the sake of your marriage). There’s nothing worse then money combined with family to tear you apart. Make sure she knows that once she makes this choice she’s going to have to make it last because you and your hubs will not be able to afford to help her for the long run. Its only thing when someone needs a one time help-out but if someone gets themselves into a situation where they are depending on other people to support them for…well…. until they die that’s not fair! You and DH need to be able to make a life for yourselves and your future kids (if that’s the plan) and you shouldn’t be held responsible for her mistakes. She is making this choice and its NOT on your head!

Its hard to see anyone you love going through hard times but unless they’re forced to go through it they wont learn and will always think someone will bail them out. You need to sit down with DH and set out the rules and boundaries for this so if your mom tries to guilt you into anything your DH has the power to yay or nay. As long as you two are on the same page!!!

For me my IL’s have not been smart with money and there’s all these cocomamy plans I think are ridiculous. a) my Father-In-Law is on a whooooooooooooooooole other level of “entitlement” and is constantly hounding Dh and I about how much money were making and what we have etc etc… I do not like this at all and I’ve gottin in fights with dh about our private business being our PRIVATE BUSINESS. b) Father-In-Law has a nit of an….”explosive” personality (italian) and hates working for other people so he wants to open up his own shop (mechanic)….thing is IL’s have nothing….. they would “need” us to basically be their “sugar mammas” to open up this business and I want to part of it. DH and Father-In-Law can hardly get along to have one conversation without it turning into a huge argument….both are WAY too emotional and take things waaaaaaaaaay too personally which is NOT a good combo for business You need to be able to separate the personal relationship when its business time and I know that will never happen, c) DH and I went into 75,000 debt because of this man….. because he freaks out so much they got in a fight last year and they didnt speak for like a month….and we both ended up getting brand new vehicles (totalling 75k) simply because DH couldn’t stand of thought of ever dealing with his father again (for cars)…. he wanted to make sure we were covered by warranty and we jus need to go into the dealership etc…. never again did he want to have his dad to deal with…and now your trying to tell me going into debt like 300-500k to open a business because you feel “GUILTY” that your parents raised you is a good idea????
lol COME ON…..

Im sorry but a) newsflash: parents are supposed to raise their children (not that I dont appreciate what they’ve all done) but the point is every parent does things and sacrifices etc etc the same as EVERYONE ELSE…. its their job! That doesn’t obligate us to put ourselves at risk and our lives and everything we’ve built just because your father is too god damn stubborn to work for someone else??? are you kidding me??? He’s making great money and there’s literally NO reason he needs to do this!

anyways…. when I try to talk to DH about it right now he’s “starting” to see the light but he’s still in the defensive stage…… I try to ask him what will the consequences be if something happened to him? its all on OUR shoulders? He’s in his 50’s and not exactly the picture of health……….he and his parents keep saying “we cant think about the consequences” and Im like HELLO? ya must be nice to think that way… oh ya thats right because your expecting US to take the fall if something does and that its “our responsibility to do so??”!!!

I’m sorry but F*%k YOU!! My dh keeps saying “oh your just looking out for your interests ….this is family…..” I’m like OMG I’m looking out for OURS and our future kids, your god damn right I’m thinking about the consequences…. its my life too!!!

of course we should all not turn our backs on family but they also have a freaking responsibility to do help themselves along and prep as best they can and not just expect/dump everything on their kids when they themselves are trying to make a life! Yes you raised us and sacrificed but WE are also going to do the same thing for our own kids…its called the circle of life and we will “get ours” in terms of paying back what you’ve done for us!!!

Anyways like I said they currently have nothing….. no retirement plan, no rrsp’s nadda…. and Im sooooooo afraid that WE are going to become responsible for “paying” for the rest of their life if something happened….which I dont exactly think is fair to my family! I think they forget sometimes I have family too and anything I do for them I need to be able to do the same for mine…..at that point we’ll be left with nothing

Post # 14
985 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017 - Baton Rouge, LA

@howsweetitis:  for a while there I thought you were talking about MY mom lol Maybe you should talk to your mom about her mental health. My mom is diagnosed with bipolar disorder & borderline personality disorder. She is absolutely horrible with money. Overdraws her account pretty much every month. Has debt up to her eyeballs. Let my childhood home go to the bank & shes now living with her parents. oh & shes a teacher! I truly believe her inability to keep her finances straight is caused by her mental illnesses. She refuses to take any medications, so she keeps going down this spiralling hole which will probably leave me & my brother with one heck of a headache when shes gone. Add those financial issues with her threatening to kill herself, and shes likely got some serious issues. Be there for her, you are not her mother (although it may feel like it sometimes-ive been there.) and just tell her you want better for her. Do your research on mental disabilities that cause lack of financial responsibilites & see what other symptoms pop out at you that could be describing your mom. Good luck.

Post # 15
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - Dalhousie Castle

In the end you mother is going to make her decision and you will just have to deal with it. I would suggest having a very frank conversation with her, then emailing her all the points in the conversation, so you have a written record to show her later, that makes a couple of points very clear:

1. Why spending her entire pension in 5 years is a bad idea. 

2. Illustrate that you dad is making her a very generous offer and it would be an easy way for her to own the entire home and keep the pension. 

3. If she chooses to go this route, you WILL NOT be bailing her out down the line. In no uncertain terms tell her that you will not be there to give her any cash in the future. 

Make sure she understands this and be really firm that if she comes cap in hand you will not be giving her money. 

Then all you can do is let her make her own decision with all the information available to her. If she still decides to take the lump sum, then there is really nothing you can do. 

Post # 16
4090 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@howsweetitis:  I had a very financially irresponsible father (RIP).  As in had $250k in gambling debt, almost lost the house due to bankrupty, dealth with shady druggie/gambling people, asked my sister for 20k out of her retirement because he was in “big trouble” (she gave it to him).

To top it off he blew his entire 401k in 6 years on drugs and gambling all SECRETLY – the 6 years that he had cancer.  However, he did not tell anyone.  My mom found out she had $6.13 left to her name after he died.  We found the drugs on the day he died.


If I were you, I’d tell my mother than I will not be there to support her financially in her old age.  She really needs to come up with a plan to support heself.  You will be too busy working on supporting YOURSELF sot hat you will never be a burden to any of your children.  It’s only the most adult-responsible thing to do.  Then try not to meddle and let her dig her own hole.

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