(Closed) Financially Support FMIL?

posted 10 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
596 posts
Busy bee

how has his mother been getting by this whole time?  is Fiance sending her money?  is she in massive amounts of debt?  did she recently develop bad spending habits and blow through all her money in a short amount of time? 

i think it’s important to understand the issue more, and then see what the remedies are.  to be honest, it sounds like you won’t be able to get out of supporting Future Mother-In-Law.  however, this does not mean sending unlimited amounts of money for her to spend on purses and bags.  you and Fiance should agree on a reasonable amount that you can provide for her to pay for the basics (food, shelter, etc.) and then have him tell her that it is not reasonable or fair for you guys to fund her shopping habits.

good luck!  i don’t think you’re being a brat…these kinds of situations are always difficult to handle.

Post # 4
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee

this is a toughy.  I know how you feel.  I’ve also worked very hard in my life to get where I am as has my Fiance and my parents.  My parents have done so so so much for me in my life and without them I wouldn’t be where I am.  I know that if they need me to take care of them later in life I wouldn’t think about it twice, after all they took care of me while I was pursuing all my dreams and aspirations. And I know that it’s the same for Fiance.  So even though his parents are not my parents I would be ok with supporting them as well because they are the reason he is where he is and he is the other half of this relationship.

You have to ask yourself if you would feel differently if this was your mother and if the answer is yes then you have to learn to be ok with supporting you Mother-In-Law because she might be the reason that your Fiance is where he is and who he is.

Post # 5
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I don’t think you’re being a brat. You’re trying to be realistic. I think your fiance has to be CLEAR with his mother that he will NOT be supporting her in the future. Why let her think she can keep spending? If it comes down to it, then I guess he might have to, but no sense in instilling that idea in her.

One idea would be for your fiance to make an appointment for her (and accompany her) with a financial planner or bank’s investment officer to create a strategy. That way, she can’t get out of it, and maybe she’ll take her responsibilities seriously. She needs to start investing for her retirement and not spend beyond her means!

If it comes down to it, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to support her. If you are NOT, you and your fiance may want to consider maintaining separate finances, and having a common "pool" or account for household and other expenses, then spending your own money how you see fit. If this is the case, you two may want to visit financial planners, and maybe also therapists, to discuss this.

You do need to do what’s best for you, both as an individual and as one-half of a married couple. I know there’s for better or worse in the vows. However, it sounds like Future Mother-In-Law is at fault for her poor decisions; it wasn’t an illness or accident that caused her to have no money. That would be a completely different situation.

I think some people will disagree with me, but that’s how I see it.

I have two questions I’d ask my fiance if it were me. First, I’d have asked him why he didn’t not mention it sooner … Second, why hasn’t he discussed this with her mother before now? Does he even have the fortitude to have this discussion? I’d want to know!

Anyway, this is my opinion, but you have to do what’s right for you.

Post # 6
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Oh, and emileee’s point that he might already be funding her is something else to consider. Sorry for such a long post (above), btw.

Post # 8
Member
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

If she is living on very little right now, than hopefully medicare and social security will take some of the burden off you two. Unfortunately these are the things we have to deal with as adults. Just make sure you and Fiance are on the same side and support each other. Because no matter what happens with his mother, it will be okay as long as you two are working together.

Post # 9
Member
7 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I am going through something very similar with my fiance right now. He is an only child and his mom raised him by herself. She doesn’t make a lot of money but her house is paid off so her monthly expense aren’t too high.

The problem is every so often she will confess to us that she overspent on something and she is in debt. We have been together almost five years and we have had to pay off her credit card bill three times over the last five years. I tell my fiance that the only way she will learn is if we don’t help her and she has to pay off her own debts. But he feels that either way we will end up having to pay off her bill for her because she just doesn’t make enough money to be able to pay it off. He would rather pay off her bill right away so he doesn’t have to pay the interest. (He has a point.)

I get so angry with her for taking advantage of her son and not trying harder to spend within her limits. And I feel for my fiance because he is her only son and the only one she can really turn to – because off that he feels he has no choice but to help her. But honestly, I feel her spending is going to continue to be a problem. My fiance and I have worked very hard for everything we have and want to maintain a debt free life. We are getting married in two weeks and our focus right now should be establishing ourselves and saving so we can start to build our family. 

Sorry for the long post. I guess I don’t really have any good advice for you. I’m just as confused about what to do with my situation : (

Post # 10
Member
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

I don’t think you’re being a brat. I know how you feel! My parents are extremely frugal and pinche every penny even now when they don’t have to, whereas my FI’s parents randomly drops a few grand on food and toys for their pets and don’t have much savings. I know that I’d help either set of parents financially in the future if they need it, but I’d be annoyed at having to help FI’s parents when they are so irresponsible with their money now.

 

I don’t have a solution for you, just moral support! I agree with the pp’s that sitting down with her and planning everything out is the key. Goodluck!

Post # 11
Member
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

<!–StartFragment–> <p class=”MsoNormal”>I am coming from other side of this. My mother is not well-off by any stretch f the imagination, and Fiance and I currently make a good living (FI especially, although my income will go down in the next year).  My mother does not spend like it seems your Future Mother-In-Law does, but she makes do on what little she has. Fiance has acknowledged this and knows that he is not marrying someone who comes from wealth.  Also his parents live extremely comfortably and don’t help him at all (not that we ask or want them).  Basically, this is to say that we don’t and can’t control completely the spending habits of the family we will join.  That’s not to say that you can’t mitigate this and encourage her to get some financial planning to help, but I think it’s fair to say that we should expect to provide at least some financial and emotional support to ILs in their later years.  <!–EndFragment–>

Post # 12
Member
39 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I can completely understand where you are coming from.  Fiance and I have talked about the possibility taking care of his mom and potentially his father as well.  (they are separated.)  This does not bother me so much, although they have done zero planning on how to take care of themselves. What does bother me is that his mother is unable to support herself now.  AND his sister who is married with 4 kids seems to think he should assist her as well.

Post # 13
Member
80 posts
Worker bee

As frustrating as your situation already is, I would like to call something to your attention:  there might be something else going on with your Future Mother-In-Law.  People who regularly spend outside of their means are often-times diagnosed as bipolar. 

Just a thought.

Post # 14
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

We currently send my Mother-In-Law money every month; I know that Darling Husband did this before we were married.  His family has never been well off, and the fact is that now that his father is gone, his mother’s savings and her social security are not enough for her to live on.  The main problem is not that she spends badly; the main problem is that she wouldn’t really be able to afford decent food and medical care without a little help.

However, when it became apparent that she was going to need help (after his father died) here is what we did.  We sat down with his brother (thankfully an MBA and quite financially astute) and his mother, and looked at all her finances.  BIL drew up a budget, and figured out just how much money she was short every month.  Then this amount was divided equally between us, DH’s brother, and DH’s sister.  (There was some implication that we should pay more, since there are two of us – I pointed out that we have DH’s two kids in college, while neither of his siblings have kids at all – which put an end to that pretty quick.)  Then we made sure that BIL actually handles the money.  He pays the bills; he gives her an allowance every month; if something unusual happens (water heater breaks, she gets more or less hours than she expects at her part-time job) he adjusts accordingly.  I was adamant that while we are happy to help out, we need to know where the money is going, and be satisfied that it is really needed.  Neither of us has so much money that we are interested in just giving it away.

The main problem (IMO) is actually DH’s sister, who also has no savings, and no health insurance.  I have made it clear that while I understand the obligation to help one’s parents out if requried, I’m not going to get into the business of supporting siblings, particularly when their situation is really the result of their own decisions (like not wanting to work for "corporate America" and also preferring to spend money on designer clothes than on health insurance).  DH’s mom was in the habit of helping his sister out with her bills – but we made it clear that if we are contributing to her finances, that won’t happen.  Why should we pay for MIL’s medication while she is slipping money to SIL on the side?

Once the kids are out of college and we have a little discretionary income, we are going to go the reverse mortgage route.  This might be a nice thing for you to consider, if Future Mother-In-Law has a house.  Essentially we will buy her house back from her, which will give her money to live on, and continue to let her live in the house rent-free on the condition that the house belongs to us upon her death.  This leaves us esssentially providing all the excess financial support she needs, but also gives us something for it in the end (and avoids any kind of crazy battle over the house after her death).

If you can’t be sure that the money that you are sending Future Mother-In-Law is being spent appropriately, maybe think about doing something like putting her utility bill, car insurance, or account at the local pharmacy in your name (so that you pay these bills directly rather than sending her money).  We have also considered this as an option if it seems like the money doesn’t end up where we like.  That way you help make sure she has the things she needs without actually handing over cash, which could end up being spent on the wrong sorts of things.

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