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Home » Retire

Would you Support your Financially Negligent Parents?

Last updated by on 120 Comments

On the surface, the answer of whether or not you should support your parents in their later years is an easy one – yes, of course you should, right? You don’t want to see them aimlessly walking around the neighborhood, begging for food and meds. Besides, you would be paying them back for raising you and paying your expenses and maybe even helping you financially with your education.

But… what if your parents decided to live a very extravagant lifestyle and made zero effort to boost their retirement savings? And were ignorantly or purposefully negligent in their financial decisions. Should you support their retirement then?

Family is family, but you didn’t exactly have a choice about supporting yourself when you were brought into this world. You were a dependent with no alternative and really no freedom of choice to earn an income. You were entitled out of necessity.

Parents who don’t make conscious decisions to invest in their retirement and live below their means DO have a choice. They are choosing present or future financial entitlement and opting to think about themselves instead of the family members that they eventually become dependent on.

Taking that a step further, what if they were 100% capable of earning an income to delay withdrawing from a tiny nest egg, but instead choose to not work at all and live now off of their paltry savings, knowing full well that in a few years they would be 100% dependent on their children or other family members? Do you still owe it to them to support them and that behavior?

filial responsibility

Like it or not, I think this is going to become more and more of the norm. Baby boomers are going to demand retirement (ignorantly or not), and as I explored last week in my inheritance post, their average retirement savings are dismal:

  • Only 15% aged 44-54 have over $250,000 saved
  • Only 19% aged 55+ have over $250,000 saved.
  • 44% aged 44-54 have less than $10,000 in total savings.
  • 29% aged 55+ have less than $10,000 in total savings.

Even if your parents are in that stark minority (15 or 19%) with a decent amount of savings, would you feel safe having them retire to never work again on that amount of savings? I sure wouldn’t.

The thing is, you may not even have a choice. Unbeknownst to me until I was researching for this post, as many as 30 states have filial responsibility laws that mandate adult children to pay for their parents basic life needs, should they need it, including nursing home care.

But… for the sake of discussion, let’s imagine you DO have a choice and your parents lives aren’t entirely dependent on your decision. If your parents were negligent in their financial decision-making and you had your own family and self to financially look after, would you still foot their bills for them?


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I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


120 Comments »
  • Trevor says:

    As fiscally conservative as my parents are I really can’t imagine the scenario that you’re talking about however I would probably do it regardless if for no other reason then it’s the right thing to do.

  • Matthew says:

    While thankfully I won’t have to worry about this as my parents are extremely financially responsible, I would absolutely help them as much as I were able to. I have to say the idea of not doing so seems ridiculous to me actually. How did your parents handle it when you did something stupid?

    • G.E. Miller says:

      I am merely throwing it out there for debate because I don’t think the answer is always as easy as “of course I’d support them”. For example, would you foot the bill to house your parents while they were still capable earning money if it meant that you wouldn’t be able to save for your child’s education and your own retirement? Just like parents kicking their kids out of the house to encourage them to financially support themselves, wouldn’t there be some terms and conditions you would want to dictate before giving them support? What is ridiculous about that?

      • BG says:

        That is the Baby Boomer generation’s retirement plan: to have the next generation pay for it. Whether that means paying into social security and expecting nothing out, paying high prices for goods to fund their pensions (with no pension for yourself), or outright cash payments for their needs as you point out.

        We have to fund their retirement, while somehow try to save for our own.

        The boomers, collectively, have all the wealth — and they will still bleed their children/grandchildren dry. I think this is going to be a major problem for Generation X/Y to deal with.

        • kim says:

          This is my situation. My Mother-in-law. She retired at 62 so she could have a new car. She had 0 savings. She divorced my husbands step father later.She bought another car just to get the rebate to blow.I have seen her blow through thousands for her shoppping addiction. My husband is now disabled and we have one income. I have a decent nest egg,but am only 51. My mother is passed, and my father well off. He works still at 73, although he doesn’t have too.My Mother-in-law would take my last dime. I have helped for years, but I will have to sacrifice MY retirement, and I’m not going to anymore.May sound harsh, but I am struggling with the ability to work overtime anymore. My husband hasn’t gotten disability yet. My Mother-in-law knows about my nest egg and thinks I’m cruel. It isn’t that much, only $300,000.What do you guys think?

        • Dang Smith says:

          you are ungreatful child period.

          • PennyRex says:

            If your comment is directed to Kim…..its not even her mother, its her mother in law. Why in Gods name should she use HER money to support that woman?

          • Common Cents says:

            Whoa you aren’t ungrateful you are a rational adult entitled to your savings that you had the intelligence to accumulate. Ungrateful for being brought up by a parent that elected to have you or married into your family?

            I’m sorry if my parents generation didn’t think of the financial and emotional responsibility of raising a child, it is not your child’s responsibility to take care of you, it is your responsibility to take care of your child.

            When they are adults they are their own creature, do not expect them to be around to help you out, you should have responsibly planned to take care of yourself. Let’s not forget that the worst case scenario even if you are not completely backwards in your logic, your children could even die before you do.

          • WM says:

            “A Good Parent Leaves Behind An Inheritance For Their Children”. Pretty straight forward to me.

            I told my stepson “I want you to have a Better life than I had” not “I want to sponge off of you because I was irresponsible or lazy”

            I’m not going to enable anybody’s bad habits but I do think things should be looked at on a case by case basis as we do have a familial responsibility.

          • Elizabeth says:

            My mother is exactly this way. My husband and I have been financially prudent and we’re in our late twenties. We’re already saving for retirement and have been for some time. My mother, on the other hand, has absolutely zero in savings. She’s physically capable of working, but can’t, or won’t, get a job. She moved in with us due to some poor life choices she’s made and since then we’ve been supporting her. It’s not right in the slightest, because we’re having to cover her portion as well and will likely continue having to do this for some time to come. We’re also not talking about a woman who is 78. No. In fact, she’s in her early fifties and more than capable. I feel major resentment towards her for her lack of fiscal responsibility. The article mentioned less than 10,000 saved? I’d be really surprised if my mother had 250.00 in “savings.” The worst part is, she moved in with us under the premise that she would pay 1/4 of the utilities and 250.00 in rent (super minimal amount). This would cover her portion of the utilities and the “rent” could go into a general savings account. She’s 1,400 behind. Should we continue to be responsible to her and help her out when she’s clearly unwilling to even help herself out? Oh, and her car, a SAAB which is super expensive to fix, is broken again so now if she’s got somewhere to go she uses my husband’s car. The point about the car is that we’ve been telling her for the past three years to put money away because every time you turn around that car is breaking down. She still hasn’t gotten rid of it and we come back to less than 250.00 saved.

            Sincerely,

            Annoyed with a fiscally irresponsible parent

        • Genny says:

          I don’t like your assumption.All the while raising your generation parents have sacrificed a lot to give you guys more than we had.Your toys were more expensive,we paid thru the nose for electronics that only keep getting better year after year and everyone had to have the latest.The pension plans and unions, etc.died along the way with our parents’ generation – keep that straight.There is no longer security in work,everyone is dispensable.Most parents don’t want to live with their adult children because of the selfish, opinionated, callous people they have become.I say most,I am not generalizing here.

          • Common Cents says:

            Toys are more expensive therefore that’s why you have no savings? Toys aren’t a part of a good quality of life, emotional bonding and development are. A sense of purpose and community are. Financial stability certainly is, but not toys. Who said you had to buy the latest and greatest? Why not reach your child to enjoy what the have?

            A child is a one way investment, period. If you think otherwise your kids will suffer because of your irresponsibility.

            The financial landscape changed, true, but that’s not a child’s responsibility to figure out, you still chose to have a child, accept the risk that there could be another Great Depression and it will be your job to take care of them. Otherwise, don’t become a parent, it’s that simple.

          • Miss Lady says:

            Expensive toys, what! When raising a child the parent has the option to buy toys, clothing and anything else in a frugile manner. Regardless, being financially negligent is not right on any level. It is ok to help your parents when they need it but only when they are not purposely taking advantage of you or making you feel like you owe them. Afterall, children don’t ask to be born. Parents should always make good decisions financially & not make their children their “go to” when they want something. My fiance’s mom comes to him every month for bill money. This is after she has taken other family members out to eat & finished her monthly HSN or Kohls run. I can’t stand it because she spends her money on her wants & comes over to his place to manipulate him into paying for her needs. Not right at all. I tred softly when this issue comes up (he is burdened by the way) because this is his mother but it is uncalled for. Again, it is ok in certain circumstances but shopping addictions, gambling, living beyond your means and not giving a care & then guilt tripping your kids into paying for your bills is very selfish. Do all you can to become independent unless you want your child to resent you, be stressed over your actions or lack their of, or be dead weight.

        • Rebecca says:

          I agree that the generation X/Y (of which I am a part) will be placed into a financial crisis as we enter the retirement era of our parents. As a group of individuals who are taking over the leadership roles that our parents once held, we have to start problem solving this right now. My parents are 62/63, healthy, have made good money but have never been financially responsible. My dad told me last week they are upside down on their mortgage and have only $12,000 left in their retirement savings. My mother is a huge problem – she spends money and gambles on the internet. I am very concerned about how to help them get into a better position to retire, but its not looking very good.

      • Jen says:

        Mr. Miller, my reply is a tad late considering this article was written two years ago. I recently dated a guy, (we are not together now) who’s son was paying his rent. I did not know this at the time we began dating. The ex is 65, in excellent physical condition and can work. But he refuses to do so.

        Recently, he was evicted from his loft. He did have problems in the space, but he should have placed his money in an escrow account until those problems got resolved. He did not. His son is going to assist him with moving into another place. Wonder how that will turn out. He is well off and helps his father, along with his other siblings.

        Aside from his son paying his rent, he has very little money, save for a few dollars from social security. He also has no car. Yet, I have observed him running out buying the newest iphone and other doo-dads and gadgets. He was self-employed for most of his adult life. He and his wife were married 40 years and raised six children. She is now deceased.

        He is now wagering that since he has a patent and is also skilled as an artist, that he will receive some measure of income and become independent of his son. I would add, that I have no respect for him. I can’t wrap my head around a man feeling that he has a sense of entitlement and that his child should aid him financially. Even though his son is doing it willingly, or so he says, it gives me the feeling that he is a spineless wuss. He also likes to live in the best neighborhoods. I tried to get him to live in an affordable senior community until he could get himself together. He stated that those communities made him depressed. Nothing wrong with this. But what happens if the son withdraws support and leaves him having to fend for himself.

        His son has his own wife and family. For the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around someone my ex’s age, who seems to have a sense of entitlement concerning his son paying his rent. I guess since I’ve always had to fend for myself, this seems foreign to me.

        Just my thoughts,

        Jen

        • andrea says:

          I have to agree. My partners parents moved cross country to live with us and help with the new baby. I had no idea they would never help with the bills or with anything financially. I also had no idea his father would be losing his job completely. Now they are living in their own house with my partner paying their bills fully. I do not even see him father trying to find a job. This pisses me off to no end..

  • Leah says:

    My parents gave me life, raised me, fed me, put clothes on my back, a shelter over my head and gave me all the advantages they could for our modest middle-class upbringing.

    If they ran out of cash, I wouldn’t have one qualm in the world about giving back what they gave me.

    • Dang Smith says:

      Ther you go a good greatful child. Good thinking!

      • Brian says:

        You are a complete moron!!!! it’s my parents were that irresponsible ,….let Medicaid take care of them. They can visit anytime. give me a break!!!

      • Common Cents says:

        Sounds like you may be a dead beat. If you think it’s your children’s responsibility to take care of you, you must be.

        They are individuals with no obligations to you, you choose to have them not the other way around. You should have thought about that before you had kids.

      • Common Cents says:

        I never knew such laws existed! They don’t in my state but I understand the motivation is really for people that could easily afford to take care of their parents to take some pressure off the system. If you are a millionaire and your parents are in a home being paid for my the government…. come on you can actually afford to do something.

        On the other hand if you are a regular middle class joe trying to save for your own retirement or your kids college it is a totally different situation, which most of these laws take into consideration.

      • michael49022 says:

        What if the child can not afford to support the parent(s)?
        I make an average wage of which I pay not only my own bills but put 20% away for my own retirement. I hope I will have enough. I am 52 and have no children to take care of me when I no longer can. My parents are divorced. My dad seems to be ok financially but my Mom, age 72, still works in a factory for $9 an hour and has no savings and still owes about $45k on her home. She has never made much but still found ways to waste what little she did have. It worries me what will become of her when she can no longer work. Her S.Security is only $800 a mth.

    • Shawn says:

      your an idiot…if your parents decide to irresponsibly blow their money knowing you will foot the bill….they are on their own…..why should you pay for it. I wouldnt expect them to do it. Get real and look at the big pic

    • Common Cents says:

      No offense but your parents should have expected to give you all of those things before they had you, it’s their responsibility since they elected to have you.

      It is not your responsibility since you did not choose to be born to your parents.

      Of course if you have extra money after all of your own responsibilities are met, by all means do what you want, support your parents out of the charity of your heart, great.

      But make sure you aren’t placing their needs ahead of your own or your own children’s.

    • Yorkshirebird says:

      My parents raised me too. Im 36 they are 56 and ive been lending them money constantly for 14 yrs, my brothers also do. It is morally right to help your parents but its also infair of them to put this on their children. They are in so much debt, yet they bought an £800 motorbike yesterday then ask me for £35 today because my mum needs cigs. Its making me ill. Please think rationally before you comment that you would definitley help your parents, thats nice but see how you feel when ypu have to live like i do and lend hundreds and thousands to a couple who just dont care….

    • Amber says:

      So what if it was your mother in law? Would it be okay too since she raised your husband, etc. And she was in her 50′s, completely able to work, previously making over $100,000 a year and squandered it away? Then moves in with you and doesn’t cook, clean or lift a finger? Complains day and night about everything. Brings her hoard to your house so now your garage and back porch are full of her crap? No unemployment, no savings, only a broken down vehicle that was sold cheap. Then spent that $2000 on pedicures, eating out, movies, etc.?

      Now what?

    • jeffrey says:

      It’s wonderful that your parents did that for you. However,these are a lot of emotions rather than logic. When you don’t use logic a whirlwind of negative emotions will follow.They can work well together but not when emotions trump logic. That is why my mother is dependent on me now. She let raw emotions cloud solid logic and skew judgment. No saving or secure job. “Common cents” already explained the logic behind this very thoroughly. It is our responsibility to take care of our offspring if we choose to have them. I don’t consider myself obligated to my parents at all financially for that. I do love,respect and care for them for that. However, I will have kids and support them just as my parents did while remaining financially responsible and not burdening my offspring who have their own obligation to take care of ( kids) later on in life. Needing support from you kids is totally avoidable in most circumstance. Needing support from your parents when you are young is not. Either way, I will probably help out my mother as long as she is as independent as she can be to the best of her abilities. To ignore the irresponsibility of the past and not change them in future generations is ignorance.What if we do die before our parents? then what? nothing and everyone is screwed because we didn’t think and plan ahead. unnecessary, avoidable drama.

    • Miss Lady says:

      This article is about negligent parents not parents who make good financial decisions & later need help. Your comment doesn’t apply here. Of course most people would help their parents if they needed help as long as they have not purposely blown their savings.

  • ERHR says:

    I can definitely relate with this scenario because it’s one I’ve been mulling over recently. My parents and I do not agree on how to manage finances and they do not live within their means, despite being high-earners. The “saver” of them knows what to do but it seems the “spender” always wins out. I had to unlearn a lot of lessons when I started managing my own money after college! They have retirement savings, but not nearly as much as I think they should by this point. So I may face this very decision in the next decade or two.

    I think that if I were to help them out monetarily on a continuing basis, it would have to be on my terms. As in, we make a budget together that I approve of and if they don’t stick with it I withdraw my support. Harsh but I think it’s the only sustainable option.

    I’m trying to avoid getting into this situation by probing my parents about their finances now, when they are still several years from retirement. I have made suggestions in the past about at least keeping track of spending and I think over time I will become more insistant. (Actually, my parents would be doing OK now except that my adult siblings are still living with them and are almost entirely financially dependent. So that’s another twist!)

  • David says:

    @ERHR I can completely relate you having to unlearn lessons. My parents were not and are still not financial ready for retirement. I might have more savings at 25 then they do currently. I also have that twist, my father still contributes a large percent of his income to my adult siblings.

    I will not be providing my mother any financial support, and I would be willing to help my father, but definately on my own terms.

    My mother and I are not on speaking terms, so I don’t see why I would.

    Also I don’t know how giving them money will solve the problem. I hate giving people money, its normally the first thing they ask for and the last thing they need.

    When I was in high school I worked with many elderly people as a bag boy there is nothing wrong with that (It’s the 30 year old working there that worries me). These part-time jobs plus social security is often enough to live a bare minimum life style.

    They took care of me as a child, their parents took care of them. I do not expect anything from my children. I am an adult and I have to live with my decisions. I know my grandmother would never take a dime from my father and my father would never ask me for a dime.

  • Brandy says:

    My Dad owns his own businesses. He loves to work and says he will work until the day he dies. He has no debt but has very small savings outside of the business. I think the businesses can run without him and pay for his medical bills, but what if is in the hospital for years? My mom can retire in 3 years, but she has a lot of debt. She is working hard to get it paid off, and I think she will, but what if she doesn’t? I have several siblings but at this stage in life, I feel like the financial responsibility will fall on my shoulders. I have thought that I should set aside money for them just in case, and if I don’t use it for them, I can use it for my retirement. Both of my parents work hard and don’t want to leave any debt to us so I don’t feel bad about helping them. However, if they were just racking up the debt and not trying to change, I could see how I would feel resentful and not want to help them.

  • Little Miss Moneybags says:

    Whoa, I did not know about filial responsibility laws!

    I would most likely help my parents however possible, but hopefully I will not be faced with this decision. I have a friend with a parent who was abusive and neglectful and he really struggled with their relationship when his father got older and sicker. I don’t know whether he helped him out financially – I doubt he could have afforded to – but he lives in a state with those laws. His father passed before becoming completely unmanageable, but I hope that the courts take into consideration the actual relationship an adult child has and has had with their parents before requiring the support.

  • K C -Stl says:

    I am facing this now. Growing up, my parents were very careful with money. After I left home, they started spending. My father passed away 10 years ago, and my mom has now blown through the cash, and took out an interest only mortgage that she will no longer be able to afford in 3.5 years. Several months ago, i advised her to get and stick to a budget. an elder care lawyer advised her about her future $$ including what happens when she becomes unable to care for herself. Not a pretty outcome.
    Just found out, my mom is still spending and increasing her credit card debt. I’m not sure how she will be able to afford her real estate taxes. somehow she worked out with the mortgage company, 6 years ago, that she would not escrow her tax $$. She promised me 3 months ago she would open a savings account and start putting the money away. She hasn’t done it. This seriously the polar opposite of the mom i grew up with. She is currently 74 years old, not in good health but could potentially live another 15 years!
    I’m mad and angry. She is NOT helping herself, she is making things worse. So do i have to go over there and take away her check book? I think it would get very very ugly.

    Until you are in the situation and everyone’s circumstances are different, you do not know what you will do. I envision i will have to support her someway, but I have a special needs child that will need that $$. (plus two other college bound kids) I’m stressed! Brothers and sisters unable and unwilling to help.

    • Paula says:

      Your mother sounds like she has a mental illness such as depression. You should insist on a thorough physical exam including psych testing. Many people use shopping as a remedy for lonliness, anxiety and depression. I know my mother did and so have I I was recently diagnosed bipolar and my mother’s heart was broken after the death of my father and she became seriously depressed. All I can say is I would give either one of my parents (both now passed) anything in my power to give them.

  • Jason says:

    This concern crossed my mind a while ago. I feel like my parents have done ok saving, but question whether my wife’s parents have made the same choice. I think they fit in the 44% category…44-54 year olds with less than $10k. I can’t imagine walking into their home and telling them they need to shape up. After all, they aren’t my parents, but when it comes time for them to need financial help, I don’t doubt we will be supplying it.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Why not tell them to shape up? If you think they might be dependent on you for income, it’s really not much different than a 27 year old who has overstayed their welcome at home. You’re an adult now, just as the 27 year old is – it’s just that the dynamic is different in that the discussion is going the other way. I understand it’s taboo to discuss b/c they are your parents, but should it be when your future financial livelihood is at stake? Not promising that it will go over well though =)

  • Vanessa says:

    My mother retired in 2003 and my father in 2010. They have exactly 0$ in savings and live off of their government pensions. Earlier this year I found my mom serving my dad/brother peanut butter sandwiches (she skipped supper that night) and I forced them to take 5000$. After they blew it on crap and on bailing my brother out of debt, I don’t think I will help them out again.

  • Natalie says:

    I think it depends on what you mean by “help.” Will I hand my parents money? NO. Will I welcome them into my house and help pay for their food and basics if necessary? Yes. I expect to have to do this with my mother and mother-in-law. As far as medical expenses, I don’t feel obligated to pay for debts in someone else’s name. My parents may have to declare bankruptcy. That’s what those laws are for. The two family members I mentioned have less than 10k in savings between them and are 57 and 64 respectively. Both parents have helped me out of many jambs, stupid or not, without question. I do feel it is my duty to care for them, but it not my duty to give them any lifestyle they desire.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Wow. That is a tough call.

    I think that I could not support them w/ money. We ourselves are struggling w/ what we have so I think the best that I could do is to allow my parents to live w/ us in our house. They would get food & shelter and the least they could do in return is to provide free baby sitting and house cleaning services in exchange.

    I wouldn’t be able to put them up in their own place nor pay for any of their vacations.

    • jeffrey says:

      I would probably help bail my parents out as much as is financially responsible. However, before I do this we would sit down and talk about the poor financial decisions of the past. The lifestyle changes that need to happen now and devise a plan to be as financially independent as possible for the future. If they disagree with any of these things or stray from the plan in the future. The gravy train stops.

  • Amanda says:

    My parents, although still married, have EXTREMELY different views on money and working. My father will work until he dies (and he owns his business, so they have a little stockpile in that if it is sold). My mother was on trial for embezzlement when I was young (and got her first job when I was 12 after her court ordered community service was done). She then proceded to secretly go $40,000 in CC debt and steal my identity. I go home for Christmas, but I haven’t called her Mom since clearing my credit history of all her crap. My father won’t need my help, and my mother has no right to ask for it…

    I am from one of the states on that list, though, so I may not have a choice. Darn.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Your mother embezzled, racked up $40K in CC debt, and stole your identity? That ranks up there with one of the craziest stories I’ve ever heard. You need to write a book!

      • Amanda says:

        I’ve actually thought about writing some kind of book, however I am an engineer. I’m a little too concise to get more than 15 pages from my life…I like bullet points too much :).

        Her aweful example and my father’s “push you out the door, have fun paying for college” technique have made me extremely financially independent. I also gained the experience of working with the credit agencies and credit cards to clear information from my report 5 years ago. It wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard recently, but I’m sure they’ve cracked down. One credit card still checks my report about every 6 months (I think it’s to ensure I wasn’t just trying to get out of a true debt).

  • Trisha says:

    I am sadly already in this situation. My widowed mother saw fit to live well outside her means as well as support an older (10 years+ my senior, married) sibling of mine’s bad habits. She easily ran through the money my father had both left to her and saved for them within a year. The result is that I gave up college, took a dead end job and live with the constant fear of her relapsing to helping my deadbeat brother (which has happened and will continue to happen until I cut them both off). Two years down the road and I’m just finally digging myself out of the hole and considering my exit strategies.

    All I can say is that my own upbringing drove me to help her but I’m quite sure my late father would be horrified by the entire situation and beating my tail for not staying away. Although I’m grateful to her and dad for raising me, if I had to do it over again I would have let her sink on her own. Law or no law.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Trisha

      I think if you are not in the situation yourself no one can understand the accony of us only trying to live our own lives and often the people closest to us sucking the life out of us.

      My father is very lively and healthy, for years he had his own business did very well but did not handle money well.

      After my mom died he was in terrible debt because of hospital bills. He sold our family house and spend all the money on luxuries.

      He ended up without a job my husband took pitty on him offered him a job in our compnay, he never took responsibily, made stupid mistakes, acted like a fool in front of our clients, really did stupid things. He does not clean his home and often walks in his pajamas for days does not bath. He gets agressive whenever we ask him to get his act together. We have screaming sessions and it interferes in my marriage.

      To top everything up my brother who was a drug addict cleaned himself up and is also staying with us. It is going to be hard but I need to set them free. My dad is capable of dating women, he is in perfect good shape but he is just so lazy he crawls under my skin. For years now I tried to do the right thing but it feels as though he takes advantage of me. I developed a tumour and is so sure it is because of my frustration with them.

      Wherever I moved they always showd up said they are coming for coffee en then my husband and I have to move to get rid of them. We even had to toe his broken down car to the next home.

      If i look at this picture I laugh at myself and think It is like the dann Adams Family, it is a joke.

      If I know they are ok I dont think I would ever want to see them again I would phone them ones a year from a enynomous line in case they trace where I stay. I am so fustrated with the situation.

      Other people also get furstrated with them, you can’t tell me that the 20 odd people that chased them away all are in humane.

      I feel for you, some people are so lucky to have team players for parents.

  • matt says:

    my folks have always been responsible. I love them dearly but, they can set a camper up in my back yard and stay there if its that or homeless.

  • PigPennies says:

    This hits close to home today regarding my parent’s in law. It’s funny how most of the people who are shocked anyone would even consider not helping have responsible or hard working parents. In that case sure, if something drastic happened, they would help. But in the situation with my in laws, where they are both over 50 and in an extreme debt situation (I would be overjoyed if they had anything close to $10K in savings!) and are in their situation solely because of irresponsibility, I can’t imagine ever giving financial help because it would just be throwing good money after bad. Just today a “loan” was requested, and I’m terrified of opening that door. Despite having a little bit of sympathy for the immediate situation, I can’t help thinking that the small loan would be nothing but a band aid to the gaping wound that is their overwhelming financial situation.

    On the other hand would we let them die in the streets? No, but I don’t think it would ever come to that. The fact is that they always seem to muddle through, but I don’t ever want to be the one supporting financially irresponsible people.

  • Melissa says:

    No. My parents would not help with college, my wedding, and I have worked since age 14. They give money to 2 brothers and don’t save at all. In laws are even worse off and have asked us for money several times. They did not pay for hubby to go to school but paid for sis then asked us to help pay for her school when she was still in after 6 yrs and she wouldn’t get a job.

  • Leslie says:

    Wow, great topic.
    @ERHR I can completely relate you having to unlearn lessons. I was not taught or even mentioned to about investing, the different options for savings, college costs, house finances, etc. Nor was that a class at the elementary or high schools I attended. I then proceeded to have to learn on my own – and thanks to my man I am better off now (despite the dismal market).

    Yes the parents’ raised you and YOU think you owe them (some parents -the reasonable ones- didn’t expect to be ‘paid’ back when they raised you, they had you because they wanted the enjoyment of having a child).
    With that being said, they can still pass down their debts to you after they are gone! PLUS learning about these LAWS that mandate filial responsibility sucks.
    It’s not fair if a parent won’t discuss their finances with you.

    My mom keeps asking me to buy her a house! Out of the 4 kids she had, I am the oldest and most responsible and well off child (for a 27 year old, that has been financially independent since 17/18.)

    Everyone needs to find a way to be able to live the way they want to live. Most would disagree with the ‘mooching’ strategy, but it is a real one. Protect yourself – I think I heard you can declare “financial independence” or something like that even if you are an adult from your parents to protect yourself from inheriting debt.
    FYI.

  • Agatha Kulesza says:

    Ugh this is such a hard one. My parents were up sh*t’s creek financially the past few years and I had a hard time with wanting to help but also still needing to build up my own nest egg. Most of us in our 20′s and 30′s are still building for your own future. Who’s going to take care of you if you deplete your savings or go into debt to take care of your parents? It’s one thing if you are young and have hundreds of thousands already saved but if you are like most people who don’t then I think you should focus on taking care of yourself first. Then once you are on solid ground you’ll have plenty to take care of others with.

  • LaTisha @YoungAdultFinances says:

    This is actually a big concern of mine because my parents are not really budget conscious. I am working really hard to save and invest because I know that I will probably be the one taking care of them financially in a few years unless my dad decides to never retire.

  • Eric says:

    Fortunately my parents have always been extremely retirement/savings conscious, and while earning a decent living, lived within their means. My two sisters inherited this responsible nature and I know my family won’t ever need to call on me for help, but if they did I would most definitely help, as I know whatever occurred would have been out of their control.

    My girlfriend’s (and likely future wife’s) family is the polar opposite. Despite making a decent livable wage, they continue to live paycheck to paycheck. They are in their low 50′s with $0 in savings. They are completely irresponsible in general, but particularly with finances. My gf and I joined finances a couple of years ago and are working hard to pay for our needs/goals/wants and planning for our future. We’ve already “loaned” money to her family’s company, parents, and sister, and I know in the future we’ll be called on more. I have no plans of continuing to help them out until they can show they’re at least making an effort to be more financially responsible. /rant

    • Agatha Kulesza says:

      I so completely agree Eric. My parents are just like your girlfriend’s parents so I’ve really had to draw the line there. If you keep giving money to people who are irresponsible financially that’s like rewarding them for their behavior. It doesn’t solve any problems and only becomes a financial drain on you. It can be so hard though when they are your family and you love them and don’t want to see them suffer.

  • Jennifer says:

    This is the perfect post for me. I have to say no I would not. My parents have never been financially responsible. As a CPA, I have attempted to help them over and over.

    Now they have chosen to support my adult sister, who has chosen to quit her job to change careers for the 5th time in so many years, and at some point they will run out of money and come to me and my husband. I’m at the point where I would like to go to them now and tell them up front don’t come to me asking for money, because I know it is coming.

    Me and my husband work very hard and save very hard, my mother has not worked in 20 years (by choice) and they pay my sisters bills (by choice). I will have to tell them to move in with her, since they paid for half her house anyways. (sorry that sounds kind of bitter :) )

    • bschild79 says:

      My dad has worked HARD all of my life, mother would work only during the holidays and almost always quit the day after christmas. Her last job was in 2000. My dad is a owner/operator driver. After paying insurance an gas for his truck he sometimes comes home with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! My mom has stated that she does not want to work and have no plans of working. She’s constanly asking relatives for money, constanly borrowning money from the church, and from my sister and I. They’re over a year behind in their mortgage and currently facing foreclosure (duh!) She spends her day gossiping on the phone and buying more furniture to fill their 2600 sq ft home. My dad says NOTHING to her, he always states that he’s willing to do anything to make her happy (sweet gesture, but wake up buddy!!.What makes this situation worse is that my younger brother (age 29) is staying with them he has two kids from two different women and pays childs support for at least one, he has no other expenses except for his drinking and Masonic affiliated expenses. He doesn’t pay rent or bills in the house, He takes trips out of the country whenever he feels, he shops like theres no tomorrow. My mother is always finding blame with my sister and i. We both have husbands, kids, homes, etc. She’s always nagging about how we don’t help her out and how selfish we are, etc. So to answer the question will i help out my irresponsible parents NO….better yet HELL NO!!!!
      Don’t get me wrong I love my parents but I have a life of my own to live. My husband and I can barely make it on the salaries we have. My sister and her husband have the same situation. I’m sorry but 100% of the problems they’re having is their fault and their alone.

  • BW says:

    This is an excellent article, and really got me thinking. This is an incredibly emotional topic, and as such it is difficult to think in the abstract about what you would do. I do not foresee this issue with my parents, but I do worry about my in-laws. How would others feel about taking on the burden of the spouses parents? It is much easier to feel resentment!

    • Agree with BW says:

      I face a similar situation where my in-laws have been financially irresponsible. They have portrayed a lavish lifestyle while making bad decision upon bad financial decision. There is no discipline, there is no long term vision, and now they are faced with significant financial challenges.

      The spectrum of emotion has ranged from ‘its not my problem’ to ‘what plan can i put in place for them, while also supporting the future investment needs of my family’. It has been difficult to say the least. For now, I am choosing to be disengaged, because my efforts in the past in trying to change behavior have been ignored. Basically, if they’re not willing to change, I can no longer waste my most valuable asset: my time.

  • Quita says:

    My parents moved in with me and instantly became a financial drain. I gave a one year cap to assisting them. I am 25 and I have been a homeowner for almost a year now . They are 42 and443. My dad makes 2x my income and depends on me bc he is wasting his money. They don’t have retirement accounts. :(

  • Freaked Out says:

    My divorced mother decided to retire early (meaning a decreased pension and SS payment) then spent her savings on remodeling her house, vacations, furniture, etc. until she started to run out of cash. So, she got a part time job at WALMART and promptly bought herself a Cadillac (what every Walmart cashier needs). After a year or so she got “sick of working” and quit her part time job. She proceeded to sell all her jewelery, silver, etc., NOT to pay her bills or buy food, but to buy MORE new furniture, new landscaping and new hardwood flooring in her home. I’m so angry because I know she is squandering her money because she feels that when she runs out and can’t pay her bills, she can just move in with me and my husband. We are aggressively opposed to that idea because my mother is perfectly capable of earning and saving but chooses not to. Her living with me and my husband would put a horrendous strain on our marriage.

    I don’t know what to do or say to her. She already proposed a few years ago that she was considering moving in with me and my husband (apparently she just assumed we’d be thrilled with the idea), and I made it clear then that we were NOT on board with that, and would never be on board unless she had serious health issues and needed care. Yet she continues her reckless spending. I feel like I need to have a heart to heart with her but not sure how to go about it in a way that won’t sound heartless and mean. How do you tell your mom, “You better stop spending your money because you’re not moving in with me”???

  • Yiiup says:

    My father can go drop dead in a ditch for all I care. He’s a violent criminal and did me no favors. If I was held accountable for his basic needs as an old a-hole I would sue the state for allowing him to have me in the first place. Or something to that tune.

    My mom is altogether another animal–but I’m not sure that she’s going to get the retirement she thinks she deserves. What is up with people thinking they “deserve” everything???

  • So Angry!!!! says:

    My in-laws are completely financially irresponsible. They have no savings and they have a small amount of CC debt, but a house they “rent” to no profit to them, in AZ that the bought during the housing bubble, proceeded to put in travertine tile, granite countertops, and a pool, and now they owe $130,000 more on it than it’s worth after the recession. And not only that, THEY WERE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS working at minimum wage jobs the whole time!! (Now they’re legal). My mother-in-law was working 80 hrs a week to pay for it all–it’s really her that wants it all too. They were well off in their own country, and she can’t handle the status change I guess. But that house was nicer than any house my parents have owned and my dad’s a dean at a university. Umm, yeah. Oh, and they also spent oodles of money supporting my lame brother-in-law who only wants to party and drink and get tattoos. My other brother-in-law is nice and financially responsible, but whenever my husband tries to talk to him about plans for their retirement, he acts like he has the emotional capabilities of a 15 yr old girl and says along the lines of “I just can’t think of them getting old” and gets all emotional and his mom when my husband tries to talk to her, acts the same, “You act like we’re in the grave already!!!” and starts to cry. Yet, really, if they were just going to die soon, none of this would be a problem except for paying for the funerals. The problem is how are they going to LIVE when they can’t work anymore. My husband and I have tons of debt from grad school (just finished this year) and pilot training, and while we earn the most, we also have 4 kids with one on the way and a couple more possible. (Yeah, I’m one of 9–I love big families–but my parents are extremely smart with their money). And one of our children is an adopted family member that my mother-in-law asked us to take in years ago, and because of that instead of having 15 yrs to pay off our own debts and free up some money before needing to help with kids in college, we’ll be barely managing to help our daughter go to college in 6 yrs. Having that old of a child given to us threw off all our financial planning to begin with. And I know my mother-in-law just expects us to take them in. In fact she’s made comments along the lines of “I’ll never forgive you if you put me in a nursing home.” Anyway, it’s so frustrating because in 10-15 yrs when they won’t be able to work anymore (long past their retirement age) I’ll still have kids in elementary school. My husband tries to advise them (get a smaller apartment instead of renting a 3 bedroom home, stop leasing the expensive Toyota and buy a small Ford Focus, etc) but they won’t listen and just continue to say that in ten years they’ll be able to buy and pay off another house for them to live as long as they’re independent. Errrr….that’s impossible. I’m so angry. So, so angry.

  • Angry, Frustrated, & Confused says:

    With my parents, yes, I would support them if necessary. This is mainly because of their financial management values. They have always pinched pennies, and scrimped and saved, and never splurged on themselves. They’ve always provided me what I needed, and have never left me truly missing out. If they needed help, I know it would be because they were absolutely desperate and tried everything within their power to avoid it.

    The anger, frustration, and confusion comes my boyfriend’s family. To keep a long story short, until I addressed this with him, he was just handing over whatever they asked for without question and I’m not talking about chump change. And my frustration comes from seeing a complete disrespect for this support by not cutting unnecessary items, giving it away as gifts to “save face”, lack of creative problem solving when it came to accepting a job offer without ideal hours, spending on vacations, gambling it away, and more. Beyond the actual money, it’s frustrating that the family doesn’t communicate about what the budget actually is, and how they plan for the future given that they have no assets or pension. I understand the cultural implications of taking care of your elders, but this should not happen in your 20′s and when they are not even 60 years old. It’s hard to be okay supporting people who don’t want to face reality, and treat your loved one like an ATM.

  • angela t says:

    my parents i would help yes. my mother in law, no. she screwed over her kids so bad. they had vehicles repoed and even when my husband had tried cosigning a loan (big mistake which was also before we got married) to help her consolidate she failed to pay that back too. so on his credit there is 30k + of unpaid debt all because of her. i try to get along with her because of the grandkid but dont get me started on her being extremely irresponsible with money and then saying it was everyone elses fault. she had won a 300k lawsuit from a surgery and it was gone very quickly. credit card debt, goin out to eat all the time. buying all kinds of unnecessary crap for people. the list goes on. why she didnt pay her house off in the first place i dont know. but her house foreclosed and she is starting all over. living on part time income plus unemployment. she needs full time work but being too picky about where she works. then has the nerve to ask if her sons (c and my husband) if they’d help her pay a life insurance policy thats on their dad cause she cant afford it $200 every 3 months and then asked if me and my husband could take it over when he goes back to his old job. (my name isn’t even on there and how do we know if she wont go taking the guys’ names off so its just her on there) all ready in the grace period and only a day till that period is up. i am sorry, but i will NOT be financially responsible for this woman. she needs to go down the frickin walmart get a full time job there and she wouldnt have to bum money off of people. i know it is hard to find work here but sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

    as far as i know, she has nothing but a few dollars in the bank and that life insurance which may or may not benefit her down the road. its not that much anyway. live off it for a year then you’ll be right back where you started. no retirement or anything. i am not gonna be trying to help her out when i still need to set up college savings for my daughter and retirement for me and my husband. she just needs to quit being lazy and pick whatever job someone gives her (just like she told me that walmart was gonna hire her but i guess in my opinion she is too good for them). sorry if this seems harsh but i dont care. every bit of it is true. the baby boomers CANNOT rely on us to take care of them 100%! we can help but the last thing i want is my mother in law living with us when she gets older. you’d have to be frickin nuts

  • theresa says:

    It’s hard for those with responsible parents to imagine this scenario. But for those of us constantly being asked for money by a parent who is 67, tens of thousands in debt, and who has facilitated one of my three siblings’ financial neglect, this is our reality. Just recently, my father, with guidance from two of his children, sold his house to settle several debts. He is marrying a lovely lady, so he has a place to live and a chance at a new life. But this came at a price, as he basically ran away and left us, the kids, to clean up his very messy house. But we did it. Fact is, we would have inherited his debt. That would have been very unfair. Parents who spend tomorrow’s prosperity today end up less than prosperous. And for those who find this hard to imagine, count your blessings. It is not fair to ask me to support my father when I have a family, one child in college and the other preparing to graduate high school. I am saving for retirement so that my children never have to go through this. It’s sad and unfair.

  • Leslie says:

    Where can I find the laws about debt passing to the children? In Georgia. Maryland.

    • Sue says:

      Ga is a filial responsibility state. In fact 30 of 50 states are filial responsibility states. These laws are old and were never intended to be used in this manner. The original intent was to require family to provide basic food and shelter to their elderly. PA is the worst state to try to enforce this old law. From what is on the net it looks like they believe it will get to be a bigger and bigger problem. Since the assisted living/ nursing homes have won awards in PA the belief is they will try it in all filial responsibility states. The wise thing would be for people to start contacting their state congressmen and representatives to get these laws modified or done away with entirely. The rich own corporations including assisted living facilities and nursing homes. They want the money even if it means the children of these elderly will have nothing left to fund their own old age!

  • YoungNOTDumb says:

    So, I’m 24, and just graduate college last year. I’ve just been able to book substantial interviews. Thus, I’m on my way to a job that actually caters towards my degree. (That is, a more than minimum wage paying job. No retail, food, etc.. for me!) Btw, I stayed in my college after graduating, until returning a few months ago.

    I live between my two parents houses. My mom is 43, and hasn’t worked for about 9 years due to a work accident. However, for the last 7 years she’s been physically able to working her own, but chooses not to. (No legit college education, or high school diploma.)

    My father lives comfortable, maybe even under his means. He doesn’t say anything about paying bills because he knows I’m trying. However, my mom thinks I should chi in and help with bills?! Really? What do you all think about this?

  • Frustrated says:

    I am in this very situation with my husband’s mother. We are only in our early 30s but will likely be financially responsible for his mother for the rest of her life (she is only in her mid-50s) due to irresponsible choices she has made in her adult life. If it were my parents or his father, I would bend over backward to help them as they have worked very hard and saved hard their whole lives. Were they to need us, it would truly be because of circumstances beyond their control, but I resent that my family will now have to support his mother’s health, transportation, housing, food, etc costs for the next 30 plus years because of her poor choices. My biggest worry is that she is going to defer money my husband and I would otherwise have put towards our future retirement savings and that my children may one day have to care for me because their grandmother couldn’t get her act together. Older people may lament Generation X/Y, but the Me Generation couldn’t have been more aptly named.

  • Thomas Armstrong says:

    I am 25 and my parents are getting divorced. Not my real parents mind you. My mother and my step-father. Our combined paychecks from 3 seperate jobs have barely made enough to scratch by in the luxury apartments that we live in. That’s not all…I have lived with them in 2 other locations in the past year, giving them money because of the expensive things they choose to finance. I do not argue with them about the poor decisions they make because it always turns into a guilt trip about how much she “provides” for the family. We are dead broke (Once again) but they can for whatever reason afford to finance HD televisions and luxury furniture. Now a paycheck is walking out the door and I am once again looking forward to going broke to house and feed my mother and a couple of siblings. I mean WTF!!!

  • Justannoyed says:

    My father gambled his entire life. He is a high earner (doctor), so was able to hide it from most of the outside world but I saw it destroy first my mother (till she died) and then my step mother. My parents have never lived frugally and have several mortgages around the country. I gave my inheritance money to my father which he gambled away. They said that I didn’t need this money, and that they would provide for me when I needed money. Well, I’m getting married next year, and so far…. nothing.

    Yes they clothed me and sent me to a good school, but they would never miss an opportunity to tell me what a huge favour they were doing me. If I have ever discussed finances with my father he has practically exploded with anger. He never listened to anyone, saved absolutely nothing, but still has two other kids to put through college. He’s already past retirement age.

    I don’t feel like I owe them a penny. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but they certainly won’t be able to live in their current lifestyle if he is only drawing a pension. I’ve supported myself since I was 17 and learnt to live within my means. I say it’s about time they learnt that lesson for themselves.

  • Another 2 sense says:

    I usually just read through posts like these but after so many similar tales I decided to post a bit about my own situation. I am 53 Y.O. and am funding my mother’s retirement beyond her S.S. check which does not cover her basic housing-btw I paid for her current mobile home and the one she had before this one. After working gas station jobs and the like in my early 20s trying to save enough to move out on my own my mother just casually asked if I could “loan your ma a few thou for a mobile home” Whatever! I gave it to her and kept working. I knew back then that she would have no real retirement and that if I did not want her living with me I had better start saving for that. I was lucky back in the early 80s in two ways first, that I saw the problem early enough to start preparing mentally and financially for it and second that I got established in a career that allowed me to make a good living and save both for me and my mom but it was a long couple decades of worry and stress to get here. I do not feel like it is my responsibility to help her but I also know that I cannot live with the alternative easily so I struck the compromise to save some for her and some for me and she is very lucky in what has happened though she does not recognize it at all. Before I got married I told my girl what my situation was and that if she did now want to marry into that I would understand… she hung in there anyway and today we are good because I have been able to keep our life mostly insulated from the nightmare that is my mother’s retirement. I have separate funds saved for her and she will NEVER live with me. I want to say that while I am paying for my mother I do not think it is my responsibility and it is an awful thing for any parent to do to their child.
    I have saved $250,000 (yup 1/4 mill!!!) just to make sure my life and marriage are safe from the volatility and hardship of a non-funded parental retirement but I know how luck I have been to have had time and work to accomplish that. I say to anyone suffering with this because their parents have acted irresponsibly that you should SAVE YOURSELF FIRST and then if you can help and want and choose to then go ahead-especially if you have your own children you need to put yourself and children first. You MUST break a cycle of stretched resources and under funded retirement scenarios. What your parents have done is done do not contribute to a continuation of this cycle by jeopardizing your future and that of your children. Just my two cents plus another $250k !!!

  • Zack says:

    So my situation, I’m 21 and have been watching my parents squander all of their resources for years. They always ate at restaurants instead of cooking and maxed out all of their credit cards. My dad’s job at a university got cut to part time in 2003. several years later they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy. My dad is 62 and my mom is 57. They see no way out. They will work until they die. My parents have withdrawn all the money from their retirement accounts to keep the house and some other things. Because of this they end up owing the I.R.S. more than $20,000 in taxes a year They have $8 in their checking account, but more than $3000 of financial obligations this month if they are to keep the house, phone and cars. If any minor thing happens to them, they would immediately be homeless. One incidence of car trouble, or a health problem would end them. They both work a paper route, my dad works an additional 2 jobs, and my mom works at a grocery store. They’ve been good parents, but I don’t see anyway I could even help them. I’m still in university, teaching abroad in Korea right now. I’m able to forget about the situation while I’m here, but anytime I talk to my parents I hear news that just makes me feel absolutely helpless and in despair. They look so much older after I’ve been gone only 4 months. If I could help them I would, but how?

    • Common Cents says:

      They need serious financial counseling, in these situations you’ve got to let the house go. People get emotionally attached to houses but it’s the people that make a home, not the walls and roof.

      Ironically you can keep a house if you declare bankruptcy since you need a place to live, but it doesn’t make sense to have more than 1000 square ft for 2 people in my opinion, you just pay more in utilities and management.

  • Kristine says:

    What if it is you grandparents? I have been in tears because they support my middle ages uncle (that has made some very poor decision over and over for years that have now landed him homeless), go on trips, pay for my uncles cell bill as well as his two daughters but neglect to contribute to the household. I an 27, make less than 30,000 aq year and newly married with a 7 week old infant-the financial burden of them is affecting my marriage.Someone please tell me Im not wrong for wanting them to contribute.

  • DMG says:

    Hi, my father receives a retirement, he retired early only because he was forced. He has always had an on and off alcohol problem. My grandmother bought him a mobile home (paid for) and all he had to do was pay utilities and the almost $300.00/per mo. My father with his “problems” ended up shacking up with this woman who was taking him for every penny he had and then when she was evicted from the mobile home park where my father lived due to the fact she was selling her daughters pills, my father decided to move in and take her to move in with my grandmother who has dimensia. Well, the girlfriend started writing checks and having my grandmother sign them taking money from her as well as opening over 20K in credit cards in my grandmothers name. My father after he found out continued to take her over there when I was not able to be there and continue to steal from her. He supported this woman stealing from my grandmother who is on a fixed income and lost a leg, has dimensia and cannot work. My grandmothers deceased male partner left her enough to not work however my father and his girlfriend has taken her for everything so now she has no nest egg either. My father’s mobile home, bought only a few years back for $45K was sold by him for $12K because he would no longer live there because his girlfriend was not allowed. Well, after all his money is gone, and she is gone as well he has the opportunity to live in a VA substidized home however he doesnt like living with the other VA’s and he doesnt feel that he should waste his money and pay $500/per month to stay somewhere so instead he is going to CHOOSE to live homeless. I have two kids, I am a single mother, I work hard to take care of my family, my kids don’t want their poppop living with them because last time he did he would drink and scare them. I don’t feel as though I should put my kids in that position to make them uncomfortable in their own home because he wants to guilt me to try to move in so I can take care of him, OR who knows if he would steal from me and continue to lie. Why should I put myself and my kids in that situation. How is that wrong? Why should I be responsible to take care of him because he wont take care of himself nor will he work because he is picky on what kind of job. All the other family members and friends refuse to help him, I only help him by storing his stuff and take him to lunch and breakfast, etc. Any thoughts? I feel bad but I feel that I should not have the make this decision because he is well able to take care of himself.

  • janiie says:

    My fiancee has had a labor law advising business for sometime now and I joined her to career change as well as get to know the trade to better our income. In south africa its very difficult for white males to find work so you try to keep what you have.

    My questionable / problem is that she spend more than R11000-00 ($1250-00) p/m on her semi “retired” parents. She pays thei whole house for the full year and her moms medical insurance and monthly groceries which amounts to the above amount mentioned.

    Now my issue is that we are paying (renting) our own apartment for less than what we pay for them and I mentioned the other day to my “wife” that we cant afford to carry on doing this, we need to put some money away for our own retirement, plus extra need theday come that we cant support ourselves, so that we DO have at least income from the retirement fund. She says she refuses to pay any less to her parents and thats how it will be forever. I was knocked off my feet. I did not say DONT help you parents I said try to balance things in life a little.

    I enjoy life and love wit her, but seems to me that mommy and daddy comes first. Maybe its time for me to rather ove on…..?

  • Louie says:

    I am beginning to face this issue now. Ultimately, we will help our parents as much as we can without annihilating our children’s chances for college and our chances for a reasonable retirement. My struggle is that one of my parents has always been stubborn about work ethic and spending habits. No sense of saving for a rainy day or preparing for the later years when one can’t earn a living as well anymore. No willingness to work for someone else and be “told what to do”. Always self employed, rarely with a consistent and adequate income. No retirement, no attention to being healthy so as to avoid typical health issues that come from irresponsible living. The other parent is frugal, easily contented with a simple life style, doesn’t believe in debt or unreasonable spending. (Washington could learn a thing or two…) Always paid off debts as quickly as possible. The problems they are facing now are a direct result of one’s irresponsibility but both are suffering. BTW, the irresponsible one is also physically unhealthy and the opposite is true for the responsible one. So, we’re beginning to look at helping with certain bills and figuring out how to save the house. I’m sure we will later be faced with more serious issues. But, we will not blindly give money. We will seek some professional financial advice so that we and my siblings can make sure our parents have what they need and minimize the financial burden to us while they’re still with us and after they’re gone. None of us have disposable money. I love my parents so I don’t say this without care, BUT…their current lifestyle and the issues they are facing are natural consequences. I can’t fix everything for them, nor should I be expected to. Love them? Care for them in their old age? Yes. Tell my children no so I can instead clean up their grandparent’s mess? No.

    • Louie says:

      Sorry…I left something out – my parents would not WANT my help to be at an expense that would hurt my children’s college opportunities, or cause us to struggle. I think my first post sounded as if they may not care, untrue. Sigh…They’re just running out of options.

  • Lisa says:

    I am a 20-year old single girl working in Asia. I moved here from South Africa because I have to support my destitute parents. My father receives a small pension, but other than that neither of them work. To make matters worse, my older sister is emotionally unstable and seems to be incapable of holding down a permanent job. She relies on them (me) for financial and emotional support. I have spent my 20′s working, worrying about money and desperately trying to think of a way to make the future seem a little brighter.

    I have always been an ambitious girl and dreamed of having a career that made a difference. I have never been able to start my career because the starting salary would not pay enough to help out. Therefore, I have been working two, sometimes three, jobs at a time just make ends meet.

    I have come to a point where it does not seem like I will ever progress and have a life of my own. I have not been able to hold down a relationship because the men I meet can not cope with my stressful situation. I have not had the opportunity to travel or explore because there has been no money available. Its safe to say that this situation has ruined my life.

    A series of unfortunate events led to my parents financial demise from which they never recovered. I try not to blame them but do find myself wondering why, when we have been so destitute throughout our lives did my mom not work? Although I try not to blame, resentment creeps in and the feelings I have been experiencing towards them are a mixture of love a hate.

    I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone!

  • Shannon says:

    Me parents did well financially until my senior year in college, when they lost their business. Tney had always lived big and spent everything, so there was no savings and although opportunities were available, my dad refused to work for someone else. My parents have spent the last 20* years renting various houses and working on “deals” that never come to fruition. My parents have used us, impacted each of us (children) financially in a significant way. My brother had to declare bankruptcy and my sister had to short sale her house as a result of my parents. My parents made no apologies. They borrowed and lost money from both sets of grandparents, an aunt, my dad’s brother, anyone who would extend a hand. Anyone who could be manipulated. The money was used to support their lifestyle and failed businesses and there were and are many fragmented relationships as a result. My parents have also received several inherientces, which they blew through…again, supporting themselves and on failed business ventures. I spoke with my parents many times, pleading with them to put a portion of the money down on a house to create some security, but he houses were not good enough for them. They had to make it big, roll the dice….with no regard for their children and no thought for how things would be if they didnt make it big. And any mention of this, was compelte betrayal….Of course things didnt work out as they hoped and now my dad is sick with Lewey Body and my mom is taking care of him. They are ok on social security and the part time job my mom has. She works from home. My brother leased them a car when their car finally conked out. He’s continually had to help make the payments. We buy them groceries and bring them food, but do not want to give them cash. They have enough money to live on. They just dont have enough money to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out everyday, shop at expensive grocerey stores etc. There’s more to all this, but this is the gist. They’ve been irresponsible their entire adult lives from the time I was a senior in college. Prior to that, they had money and paid for things. I have told my mom several times now that they can come live with us, but that I will not give them cash or pay their bills for them, while my mom refuses to cut back…. I was a single parent raising 2 boys for years and now my husband and I are helping to put my 2 boys through college, we’re saddled with 2 rental houses we cant get rid of and need to save for our own futures…When I explain this to my mom and talk to her about being responsible financially, she’s outright dishonest or in denial abut her spending and I end up feelign guilty? I would help them with medical or housing, but I dont want to be used to supplement their lifestyle. They feel entitled! …and yet I feel guilty. I dont get it.

  • Shannon says:

    I really appreciate the honesty and posts on this website. Its helped me tremendously to read about other people’s situations. I plead with my parents for years to put aside a small amount as a downpayment for a house, to create some type of security, yet they refused and were angry at any suggestion we (me and my two younger siblings) made to them. They were going to roll the dice and make it big, with no regard for how this would impact their retirement. I’ve now figured out why they didn’t consider that. On, they’ve lived their entire lives in denial about their finances and those in our family they’ve taken advantage of and there have been many. Anyone they could manipulate into funding a deal and their lifestyle was fair game. And when the money was gone, there was no apology only justification and another marred family relationship. My parents feel entitled, period. They have a front to maintain at church and they have refused to modify their spending and lifestyle. They continue to do the same thing over and over as ling as there’s someone there to assist them financially. My grandparents are gone and so is their inheritance. My grandparents on both sides were very financially responsible and my parents never had to even consider paying for a nursing home, household bills, medication etc. My grandparents were respectable, educated people who meant the world to me. I still cannot figure out how my dad and mon became so entitled. They were not raised that way. Anyway, the bottom line is that my father and mother assume we will supplement their ways…again with no change on their part. … So, following the most recent incident where my mon was two car payments behind and needed help, i sent her an email stating that i loved her and she and my dad were welcome to live at our house for free but that we would not be supplementing their lifestyle. We would help them if they needed medical care or medications, but we would not make their car payment when they have money to do this but choose to continue overspending. I explained that if this happened again (calling for money to pay bills) that i would assume that they are unable to manage their finances and any future help from us would be contingent on them making changes and my controlling their money, which would go to pay first for their “needs” and then an allowance for their “My mom is angry because she wants what she wants on her terms- what new, we’ve never been close. I really do not want her to live with me and would actually exhaust all efforts to find other housing for them etc before doing this. However, i would not leave them homeless. I do love them despite what jerks they’ve been. However, i have drawn the line in that I wont give them cash or make payments (ie: car and house) for them. Im sure i could put the money together, but Im done with being victimized by my own parents. I am entitled to a life! Just like they were. And i have a husband and two boys in college and we are way behind in planning for our own retirement….so, what i do know is that the truth is ugly. My parents feel entitled and don’t think twice about taking money from my family. I’m just another person in a long line of family and friends that they can take from. And The reality is, I dont have to be a victim. I can set a boundary about what I will do to help, which is not all that they want. But so what, its time for them to grow up at the age of 68 & 69 and its time for me to stop feeling guilt and take care of myself and my family so i do not repeat this cycle. I have worked my tail off to get where i am with no help from my parents financially. I’m not throwing them to the wolves. I will be there if they need a place to live, but I won’t be an open checkbook…and with them that’s what it is if you give them $. And its never enough. . …so, thanks for your posts and helping me to sort this all out. I dont feel so conflicted anymore.

    • Rebecca says:

      Shannon, I don’t know who you are but you might as well have written about my parents. I’m in the EXACT same situation. Grandparents were wonderful saved money, did well. Both of my parents (divorced years ago) have a huge entitlement mentality. They were raised well, college paid for (mom dropped out) and were cared for well into their adult years with grandparents giving them only when they needed. They weren’t left with much and what they did inherit is log gone. Neither saved anything really, didn’t pay for my college, wedding, nothing. I’m VERY financially independent, thanks to them I had to be. Husband and I do we’ll so of course now they look at us as their retirement. Mom won’t work and dad is reluctant but still does. They are both 65. I truly have a big problem with them, didn’t help me with hardly anything beyond high school and they both lived well beyond their means. Now they expect me to help them and I find this disgusting. Sadly, I’m an only child too. Ugh. It was great to read your post as it spoke to me. I can relate. And sadly, I’m appreciative that others share my issue, makes me feel like I’m not alone in this. I hate it for you. For me too.

  • Chi123 says:

    It’s a lose lose situation. My mother chose not to work for the better part of the past 20yrs. She’s BK’d twice now. Had to walk away from 2 homes. Now she’s 72, in great health but is broke… she’s mostly always been broke or in debt. Zero savings, zero retirement but gets 1100 in SS a month. We pulled her through until she could wait to pull at 70 to get more. It’s torn our family apart. There are 4 of us children, all 40+… 3 successful, 1 not. But now it’s just “on us” to handle it…. all the while I’m angry and resentful about the laziness and decisions that were made by her all these years. And now the arguing has commenced between me and my brothers about who’s doing what, what everyone “should” be doing, etc. It’s horrible. In the meantime my mother has chosen to buy a camper to live in Palm Springs, she goes to a gym almost everyday, and to the library. She’s not a horrible person but certainly, how could she not know this was going to happen?? Money doesn’t grow on trees! So did she just assume we would handle it?! Makes for a terrible relationship, as is the whole family unit now. It’s completely broken. The difference being, this is wasn’t a “hardship” situation… she COULD have worked the whole time!! But chose not to and now is just “well, this sucks”. Drives me mad!! If I say.. yep, well you made your bed, well then I’m a terrible daughter. If I just give her $ then I exacerbate her behavior. Very tough, very emotional situation.

    • amber says:

      I hear you!
      My mom is only 57 and living with us. we been helping her since her husband died 10 years ago but all the money and stuff we did never helped and she ended up in our home 2 years ago. I resent her so much bc she cheated on my dad and left him and every since then had made horrible decisions which now lay her rite at my and my families feet. I only have one brother which is an addict also like my mom and he is in and out of jail. I don’t know what to do I just wnt her out of our house now but not sure what to do to make this happen. she tearing my family apart let alone leaving us bigger and bigger in debt. hope it gets better for you I feel little better knowing im not alone. good luck. any suggestions at all are welcome!

  • Tiffany says:

    Wow! It’s stunning to read so many comments from people going through the same thing as me. Sometimes you feel all alone, and wrong for not wanting to help, but I have to take care of myself and my household.

    My mom is in her late 50′s and hasn’t worked in at least 11 years. There’s nothing wrong with her, she just doesn’t want to. I had to file bankruptcy at 27 years old just to get out of the hole I let her put me in. Now that I’m 32 and back on my feet financially, she doesn’t get any help from me. She won’t get help unless or until she is actually physically unable to care for herself.

    The bankruptcy would have been worth it if she were actually thriving now as a result of it, but she’s in worse shape now than she was 11 years ago when she regressed to a teenaged entitled mindset and just stoppped working. I’m over her narcissism and guilt trips. She actually pulled the, “Other daughters do blah blah blah for their mothers” card. Well, I never got the kind of help most parents are expected to give their children. I got zero help with college (not even a textbook, No help with my wedding (not even a wedding present), no support once I was out on my own (not even a housewarming gift). She even goes so far as to use the Bible to try to manipulate me into giving her money. My response: Gal. 6: 7-9 You reap what you sow.

    The truth is, a lot of people are irresponsible just because they expect someone to bail them out later. Why should I have to pick up the pieces? I’m ready to start a family of my own and can do that comfortably if I’m taking care of able bodied adults who don’t want to do for themselves.

    • amber says:

      my mom is the same way but she has wormed her way into my house for the last 2 years and she is little by little digging my family in to a hole. she works from home but only 10 hrs a week and has meds that cost more than what she makes. so all else goes to us. she tells me I need to pray and how selfish I am. im so glad to hear im not the only one but she is hurting my family now and she starts cussing and screaming and doesn’t do anything to try to get her life under control. she says I am so selfish and brings god into it bc I don’t just keep trying to take care of her. she is only 57 and except for being lazy, on meds, and smoking, can work. I do all the researching to try to find her assistance HUD, food stamps. I am at the end of my rope and she tells me I am the one who should feel like crap. any suggestions to get her out of my house and into her own bc once she is out I am done until she is physically disabled not just mentally unstable. I go from furious to feeling bad for her. where can I get her help to get out on her own again?!PLEASE

  • amber says:

    I am to my LIMIT!!
    My mother 15 years ago cheated on my father and divorced him and married the man which was an alcoholic and had nothing no car no job no home. she was with him for 10 years and then he died of liver cancer. since then she works small jobs and gets fired she has horrible temper. since I met my husband 10 years ago she has always mentioned wanting to move in upstairs, well, she finally screwed up every place she lived moved about 6 times in as many years and finally she had no where else to go no job and money and we had to let her move in upstairs. she is selfish she eats all of our food and has us buy her cigs and meds. did I mention she is also an addict, and her personality all reflects this. I cant take it anymore. we don’t have the money and she is hurting my husband and son bc we have to help her she pays nothing. and she gets mads and screams and yells when I ask her to try to help herself by doing something.pls help im fed up and cant take it anymore!!!! any suggestions?pls

    • Louie says:

      If you view your situation the same way you would view an adult child still living with you, not contributing, on the contrary, draining you financially, mentally and emotionally because of his/her addictions and irresponsible behavior, tough love would suggest that you stop enabling the behavior and hold the child to the same standards as other members of the household. This is much easier for me to say than for you to do because what it really means is, clean up, contribute, comply or get out. There is so much more to this than I could possibly write here. Please speak to a professional who can walk you through the steps of dealing with an addict. You are no longer “helping” your mother in the current situation and it sounds as if it’s really hurting your family. Your answers are not going to be easy. Simple? Probably. Easy? No. I really feel for you. I believe in honoring our parents, but watching her self destruct, and allowing her to take your family with her on the journey is not honoring.

    • Kim says:

      OMG!! Thought I had problems!!Have her baker-acted and sent to rehab. Call your local Family Services and ask for help to get her into her own living arrangement. I would say kick her out but realize that’s family. You need to get her out to protect your family. I hope and pray you can find a solution!

  • Kim says:

    My name is Kim and I wrote one of the first posts in here and had mixed comments. Most of which most agreed with me at shouldn’t feel responsible for my mother-in-law’s retirement. should have added that if my MIL had become indigent through medical reasons or no fault of her own I would, of course, be more open to assisting her. She is in assisted living with 3 meals a day. She isn’t going hungry and has a roof over her head. I still assist with very limited personal items she needs. If I give her cash she will give it to my drug addict, non working sister-in-law who is younger than I am and needs to go to work. I am no longer paying for her to get her hair dyed ect. I was a single mom for years and had to do without things to catch up on my retirement. I do not feel that I owe her anything. I don’t think you should owe parents just because the gave birth to you. I want to hang on to my retirement money so that MY CHILDREN aren’t in this position and I am glad that most of you agreed with me. I am also very happy to hear that adults in their 20′s are thinking about their retirement. Thanks for all the support on my issue!! Kim

  • Pansters says:

    Hi there,
    I sometimes feel the sharp sting of other people’s judgement when I tell them my dad is homeless (as in on the street). So, I don’t really tell too many people. I’m 30, my husband is 29, and my only sibling is also 29. We all live in California, while my dad bums around New Jersey. It doesn’t matter that I have an extra bedroom in my rented, 2-bedroom apartment. I don’t have a responsibility to let him mooch off of me for the rest of his life. It wasn’t ME or my BROTHER’S choices that led Dad to the street.
    Without knowing a family’s complete and entire history, there’s no way someone else could possibly judge why we all make the choices we do. I know that telling my father “No” is the best thing we can do for a long-time gambling addict that has been given dozens of “2nd chances” by friends & family, and fudged them all up to the point that no one is willing to help any longer. I just want to put out a word of warning- even if you know it’s the right thing to do, it WILL be difficult to tell your fiscally irresponsible/gambler/drinker/addict parent that you won’t take them in. You WILL have very confusing feelings, such as guilt, shame, self-doubt, etc. You MUST speak to a professional MFT/addiction specialist to deal with these feelings, or your resolve WILL weaken over time. There are so few resources on the internet to deal with this exact situation, I thank this forum & Mr. Miller for putting it out there.

  • Walla says:

    Hello,

    I’m 25 and my parents have 0$ in savings and live way beyond their means. They gave me everything they could when I was growing up so I could have things they didn’t and they gave me a great education. Once the recession hit they stopped helping me financially and were in trouble of losing their home and filing for bankruptcy. I thought they were suffering because of the slow economy. The truth is they had 0$ in savings then and were irresponsible when in came to money, although the economy did have a lot to do with their downfall. They borrowed a bunch of money to stay afloat and now that the economy is improving it doesn’t seem like they have learned their lesson. The ridiculous and unnecessary pending the goes on is sad. They buy the latest gadgets, drive fancy cars. When they were going through tough times I let them take out a car on my credit and cosigned on a loan for them because they had no credit or money to buy a car/keep their home. I was 20 at the time and now I realize I should have never let them use my credit. Now that time has passed, they haven’t made payments on time, and have messed up my credit score and they haven’t paid back all of the money they borrowed. I am upset that they know they need to save, but instead go out to fancy dinners and buy expensive gadgets that they don’t need but want. Meanwhile they don’t pay their bills on time or repay the money borrowed. I am young and I make sacrifices and save my money. I want to be the complete opposite of my parents and I think I’m doing a pretty good job. I am just very concerned because I know that they will not have enough money to retire and will become a huge burden on my family. I will have to take money away from saving for my kids education or my retirement to help them out. I will do it, but they will have the basics and that is all. Unfortunately I think this will cause them to fall into depression since it will be a major difference from their accustomed lifestyle and they are not strong people. There really is no way to fix them. They’ve gone through tough times and have not learned their lesson! I have brought it up so many times that they need to live within their means. The other week I walk into their house to find pamphlets for interior decorating. It pisses me off to hear or see their irresponsible spending every time I make contact with them. Furthermore, they continue to pay and support my brother who is almost 30 and has never had a real job. They tell me I’m the strong and smart one with direction, and that pisses me off even more because I work hard and make sacrifices I have to pay for their crap. They tell me they don’t need me to pay for them in the future, but they have no savings and no plan! Obviously someone has to pay for it and it won’t be no-job-Bob (bro).

  • Debbie Graham says:

    My father is self employed as a general contractor for 40yrs plus.My father is mow 70 yrs old.My mother has always worked until retiring several years ago.My father had skin cancer which turned into the loss of his neck and shoulder muscles and has kept him from using his left arm.My fathe r now has a torn shoulder rotator cuff in his other arm.My father was in business with my husband and brother until 6mos ago.My brother moved off to colorado and now me and my husband are leaving due to a very rare disease my daughtet had in houston.Well niw my father is all alone and cant work well alone and is really struggling.He c ant afford to hire help so now ge is applying at home depot on weekends and nights plus still trying to work.I am so worried.I cannot financially help.My father canmot work this much I xant leave them on the street what can I do.He will not move to houston from dallas as he is a mon paid pastor at several nursing homes and will not leave them.I almost canmot get hy myself after moving to houston.I’m affraid of outcome.My mom had spent everything th we y have ever had.What xan I do to get help for them.

  • Andie says:

    My dad is 73 and diabetic, and my mom is 70 with stage-4 Parkinson disease. They were once rich, but several bad business and personal decisions have severely depleted their wealth. Now, they are living off of what they have left from their savings, and have no retirement income other than minimal social security benefits that is barely covering for the Medicare supplements. With the combination of their high egos and prides, accustomed to carefree spending, and love to do more “business”, they will completely deplete their financial resources within two years.

    They have already sold their house to tap in the funds, so reverse mortgage is no longer an option. Both enjoy living in their old ways and are not willing to face the reality. Until their funds are fully depleted, they want to continue to maintain their expensive lifestyle.

    I have tried to talk to them about financial planning, transparent with their financial status and understand future healthcare needs… nothing worked. All I got was hostility from them (nasty emails and threats). They have also refused to take advice from any friends and family.

    I realize I cannot help them if they refuse to help themselves. And they are ultimately responsible for their own actions. But precedent suggests they will simply blame others for their “bad lucks”, and it is not their fault for wasting all their savings. So once they hit bottom in the next two years, they will have no problem showing up on my door steps asking me to take them in. They will be only 75 and 72… and with no savings, no income, and not mentioning by then they will require nursing care assistance, they will be imposing enormous amount of annual expenses on me. And to rub it in, it proofs to them that their irresponsible behaviors have no consequences. Meanwhile, I have been working hard and saving diligently so I can retire safely someday. I resent my parents selfishly imposing their retirement on me, setting my own retirement back 15+ years. I feel absolutely screwed by them…

  • X says:

    I stumbled upon this article, as its sort of my situation at the moment. I noticed a lot of people who will never have to worry about it, are quite proud that they would of course do it as it’s ‘the right thing to do’, and they would be ever so happy to do it.

    That’s where I’m at now. Because it’s the ‘right thing’. What these people don’t realize, is just how much of a burden these situations really are.

    I moved to a new country to make a fresh start for myself, my old one just didn’t have any promising future or way up the ladder for me, so I moved. I spent everything I had on plane tickets and hostels for my first month, pretty much going through hell and working menial fast food jobs, anything to just get started here. And I’ve done well. In the past few years, I’ve managed to start my own small business, (with my initial investment of a whopping 30.00), into a relatively steady, albeit somewhat unreliable, 3,000.00 a month.

    I live in a single room, in a shared house with 3 other roomates. I don’t own a car. I only take 600 for myself each month, strictly for the bare essentials and nothing else except the occasional small special treat, and everything else I pour entirely back into my business. And it’s growing, and getting a little steadier now too.

    My ultimate personal goal is small, I just want to afford my own studio apartment and still be able to save some decent money on the side. Primarily, I want my business to continue it’s growth, if I can get it to be a little more solid. It was part luck getting here, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t work my butt off as well (and continue to do so). I’ll so be happy just to set myself up with a little more home privacy and financial stability, and wow, to be self employed is such a dream for me.

    I have no savings. I live month to month, and refuse to spend on anything but barely surviving, and the rest goes only for my business. But it’s ok, I’m 29, and I feel like for the first time in my life, things are finally going right! It’s only going to get better from here! Or that’s what I thought…

    My mother made some really poor financial decisions, and squandered her life savings on some really bad business/personal ‘investments’ that, to me, were red flagged from the get go.It wasn’t entirely her fault – she was incredibly naive – but that was all of it, including the house, spent right before retirement age. And she wasn’t hoodwinked, she just purchased some things as investments that were incredibly poorly thought out, living in an imaginary world where she could afford the risk. Strangely, that’s pretty out of character in comparison to my youth, when she raised 2 children who never wanted for anything, and went from nothing to home ownership in 10 years time, all by herself.

    After losing it all, and seeing she had no prospects left there, she has just moved to the city I moved to, and she’s starting out from 0. My brother, myself, and other family (none of us have a lot) have all had to pitch in to get her readjusted in a new apartment and cover her living expenses temporarily. She has found work and is a good employee with great experience, but she is already over spending like mad on unnecessary things, because that’s just what she’s used to, like back when she had some money. If she managed to acquire any credit cards here, they’d already be maxed out.

    Realistically, I’m not too sure she can actually afford to live there on her new wage (which may last some time as she’s new to the country) and it’s a pretty miserable apartment as it is, there isn’t really anything cheaper she could step down to.

    It’s so painful for me to watch her fall from where she was (steady life with a retirement savings and a decent house), to where she is now, at literally 0 and starting from scratch in a new country at her age, when she should really be considering retirement.

    It’s not just the money (which is eroding my tiny business and only hope for my own future, and that hurts!) but it’s also the stress of knowing that she’s gotten herself into this situation and the rest of us are going to be bailing her out for probably the rest of her life. It’s not just a financial burden, it’s also an emotional one.

  • Publius says:

    Well first of all, I consider filal responsibilty laws to be outrageously unconstitutional.

    No government entity in the country has any authority to impose affirmative obligations on any adult for any other adult – regardless of whether they are related or not.

    Using force to make one person work for the benefit of another wothout compensation constitutes slavery – which is prohibited by the 13th Amendment.

    Making someone pay anothers debts is also a violation of 5th Amendment private propery rights. It is a taking of private property without compensation.

    As for what people should do in the way of support, it is entirely up to them as to what they want to do and how much help they provide. No one has any “inherent” obligation towards another unless they want to. And as some here have noted, many parents make foolish and irresponsible decisions that the children have no legal say in determining. Why should the children have to pay the price for it?

  • Bingo says:

    I agree- to force me to be responsible for my parents mistakes is unbelievable. Unfortunately, my parents live in PA, so this may be a reality for me. I moved as far away as I could at the age of 17 and by the time I was 30, I had given them a car that I had paid off, sent them money countless times and now I’m getting some passive-aggressive guilt trip because they want to retire and my husband and I are “retired” at 40. We were smart with our money and are living our dreams. Self sufficient and debt free for many years. My parents make decen money, had countless times where they had more than enough to save, but they always blew it- an not on us kids. At 16, I was buying my own clothes and lunch at school. I paid for my own car, payments made to them- the one that was supposedly purchased for me with what was left of my biological father’s life insurance payout when he died. I have never asked them for anything, not even when i was a single parent who became stuck with my ex husband’s debt that i didn’t even know about. I also suspect that they’ve tried to apply for credit in my name. I have had to initiate a fraud alert on my credit files for years because of a few strange items that have shown up over the years- mysteriously in their town, which I have not lived at for 23 years. They’re so “proud” that they blow their money on stuff to make them look like they’re something special. I live across the country from them and they’re seethingly jealous of my lifestyle. We’ve worked hard to raise our family in a simple, loving environment and I’m not going to let them take that away from us.

  • Mission Viejo says:

    This is a hard question to answer and there is no standard right or wrong answer that is for everyone. But this kind of difficult situation emphasizes to us how important it is to be educated early on about financial planning and having an insurance or financial security.

  • Florida says:

    My boyfriend is 27. He had been taking care of his parents financially since high school! They are latin. They act like they are entitled to being taken care of! His sister lives with his parents (at a home that he pays for) and she is 37 with a 2 year and is not married. They get resentful of me and always make him feel guilty if he chooses to express that we have a life of our own. We have been together for 7 years and we live in our own home that I’ve had for years and is paid for. I am older than he is and the way they take advantage of him and disrespect him and our individual life is discusting! I think it may be a cultural thing. His sister acts like she’s also entitled to being taken care of by her younger brother. People who have children to take care of them when they are older are bottom feeders!

  • sue says:

    It tears me apart that, at this time, I am unable to toss good money after bad. Even though I wasn’t the one who for decades, blew money on vacations. Actions have consequences, and I feel bad – and upset. So fed up with MOOCHERS!!!

  • JC says:

    Reading through everyone’s posts has been a huge relief in that I see that I am not the only one who has been screwed over by their parents financially. I am from the UK and living in Canada.

    I can say that up until the age of 15 I enjoyed life (when I wasn’t at school) my parents seemed to be financially secure at the time but the house we lived in was rented. My brother and I were both at boarding schools so living away from home during the term time anyway.

    My Father throughout his youth enjoyed a wealthy, lavish lifestyle – had his own apartment in London, flash cars and a cleaner. When he married my mother they lived in Monte Carlo and Paris and mingled with famous and successful people. A life that would be envied by many.

    My father had gone through a series of sinecures, but had never done anything with them, and he hopped from one opportunity to another and never became successful himself at anything. For the last 24 years he has worked from home as a Freelance financial advertising consultant earning commissions, but this industry gets hit the worst during recessions so he has been unable to maintain a steady income, has no pension or life insurance. My mother hasn’t worked since they married over 40yrs ago though she would have been capable.

    My parents supported their hired help for their entire lives until the day they died. The house they lived in was owned by my brother and I (my father had left it to us in trust) but we had to sell it at a huge loss and all the proceeds have gone back to keeping my parents with a roof over their heads.

    We went on expensive family holidays, my parents always paid for everyone whenever there was an occasion that we were eating at a restaurant etc., they entertained a lot.

    The shit really hit the fan 15 yrs ago when my father announced there was no money (I had suspected this was the case for some time). They were renting (yet again) a huge house and as usual living beyond their means. They had just been on a very expensive cruise in Antartica and bought an Audi estate car. My mother attempted having a ‘career,’ working for a charity which lasted a year. She spent all the money she earned on furniture.

    I on the other hand was living in a shithole (nothing new here), I had put myself through university and an MSc and making a crappy living as a scientist. My brother had had his education paid for by my father right through to his PhD and then lived for free with them until he got his first job aged 30. I started working at 17 as my parents had run out of money so was fending for myself.

    To cut a long story short, the money that had been left to my brother and I by our paternal grandmother has now had to be diverted to our parents for the rest of their lifetimes because they are broke. I am nearly 40 and this has really F****d things up for me. My father is 80 and my mother 72. I am married but forget having children as we can’t afford them. My parents might as well be the f’ing children. I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for years and am on medication. No one wants to have to go through this believe me.

    I long to have my own life back and not be depended on by 2 aging people who clearly can’t look after themselves but always knew how to have fun. I haven’t been able to have fun in a long time.

    • JC says:

      By way of an update and some free advice:

      Having recently been talking to a shrink, I was advised that I should be looking after myself/my husband BEFORE looking after the parents. The shrink was trying to get me out of the “stuck in cement” way of thinking. In other words, making me realise that the future could have a different outcome.

      This is something you guys should consider.

      Just like they tell you before a flight, put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping the person next to you.

      All I can say is, is that there are going to be some major changes in the near future.

  • Taluah says:

    My partner is Korean and his parents moved here from Korea 35 years ago in pursuit of the glamorous American life. I absolutely abhor that they don’t live within their means (or at least they didn’t use to). They live in a 5 bedroom mansion (which is now owned by the bank and terribly run down because they simply can’t take care of it anymore in their old age), drive a luxury car and run around in fur coats. They have 0 dollar saved at the age of 67 and 68. At this point, I think they should be institutionalized. I’m terrified of their weekly calls they make to my partner requesting money, anywhere from a thousand to ten thousand dollars for some emergency they are facing. They owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to family members and friends from the time they owned their business that did not pan out so well.

    My partner and I have not taken a vacation in 3 years (this I can deal), not given each other xmas or birthday gifts for as long as I can remember (this I can deal) and have often been faced with difficulty paying our own expenses (this I can not deal). Every time we see his parents, they ask for money, and yet I witnessed them blowing $400 we handed over to them on liquor last Thanksgiving. I could not help thinking that $400 could have gone to my partner’s dental treatment he’s been needing for some time :( Their behavior is so puzzling to me because they see us both working extremely hard and barely making ends meet. I’d imagine this is what one goes through having delinquent kids who waste your money and time.

    At this point, it’s hard to have respect for them at all and I fear their family is plagued with this terrible cycle. My partner calls what they are going through “a terrible bouts of misfortune” but really, that’s not it at all. All of what is happening is because they were negligent and not because his father’s business had failed. They could have saved when their business was booming at one point, they could have purchased a smaller house…they could have…should have…the list goes on and on. The fact my partner can’t recognize their dangerous tendencies tells me he has some propensity for repeating this with his own children as well should he have any in the future.

    So who is the willing victim ready to clean up their mess around here for the next 15-20 years? I ask myself in the mirror this question everyday.

  • D says:

    This is a generalization, but it seems that those of us who have had financially irresponsible parents are understandably more wary of helping them that are those who have not been in that position.

    Emotionally, I can’t stand to see my mother be on the verge of homelessness; rationally, it seems less clear that she should receive my financial support.

    My mother is 65, has not worked since her late 20s or early 30s because she was supported by my father, and received a decent though not luxurious settlement (livable alimony until retirement + good retirement account) when they divorced around 15 years ago. At that time, she lived beyond her means – purchasing a house in one of the most expensive areas of the country, buying luxury goods, and then paying repeated IRS penalties for dipping into her retirement account too early. In less than ten years, all of her money was gone. Near the end of her run, she sold the pricey home, moved, and adopted a more modest lifestyle. She also had the support of a boyfriend at that point, but he eventually ended things. She now lives off of a relatively small amount of social security, waning support from the ex-boyfriend, and occasional cash infusions from sales of her jewelry and help from my sister and me. Due to some changes with the ex and otherwise, she is reaching a point where she really can’t cover basic expenses. Although she is more responsible now (despite the occasional pedicure; sigh), she still doesn’t fully take responsibility for her mistakes or her situation, and often uses guilt to manipulate my sister and me to help her even though we have little extra money (example: “If you don’t help me, I will live in the gutter, suffer, and die all because you were ungrateful and selfish”). She even has said that we should sacrifice some of our (reasonable) goals to take care of her. At the same time, she won’t accept any conditions on money given to her and goes into raging hysterics when we propose solutions that would force even more modest standards on her or require her to move again.

    To me, this is a case of a parent who does not seem to know how to look out for anyone’s well-being, whether her children’s or her own, so my sister and I have to be careful and look out for ourselves. It’s really, really hard to experience and deal with. In the near future, we may have to face some very difficult choices and either watch a decline in her situation or put our own futures at risk.

    • JC says:

      These people (our parents), have done this to themselves. And yet they try to make us (their offspring, pay for their mistakes both emotionally and financially).

      My mother hit the bottle (turned to alcohol) big time when she found out there was no money. I would spend the weekend with my parents, and my mother would start drinking (vodka and oranges) at 4pm, become abusive, scream, smash glasses onto the floor, etc., etc., she became paranoid and would also blame me for what had happened i.e say things like “Dad and I sent you to expensive schools, took you on amazing holidays and really the money that your grandmother left to you (aka. my inheritance) was intended for Dad, but she knew he would probably have spent it all. From now on all of that money is going to Dad and me for the rest of our lifetimes” – you get the picture.

      In the end she became so abusive and nasty that at the time I didn’t see any other option but to acquiesce to her demands, as it looked like she was drinking and smoking herself to death. At least it was unbearable to watch her in self-destruct mode.

      This whole situation has resulted in the following actions on my part:

      1) Changed career (with the intention of earning more money). I have done this job for the past 10yrs now and hated every minute of it.

      2) Moved continents (pursued life in another country thinking it would improve things), in some ways it has but mainly we were better off back in the UK, except this time (when we return next year) we will have a DIFFERENT way of life. A life that will make us happy (me and my hubby).

      3) Turned all my inheritance over to my parents (big damn mistake). Don’t fall for this one like I did. ALWAYS look out for yourself first THEN figure out what to do with your parents. PLEASE NOTE that I will shortly be putting a stop to this current financial arrangement as it is TOTALLY weighted in their favour and I have not seen a penny of my money as it has so far been uses to pay their rent and keep them accustomed to a way of living which isn’t sustainable.

      4) just had to take 3 months off work (covered by insurance thank God), due to daily panic attacks and anxiety disorder/depression. Shrink put her finger on the cause being the whole subject of my parents financial irresponsibility. I am on anti-depressants and figuring out my next move (work wise). Don’t let yourself get this bad. Don’t let your parents screw your life up like mine nearly did. Thanks to several weeks of seeing occupational health nurses, doctors, behavioral counsellors and shrinks, I now have the means to turn my life around.

      I know how hard the situation you have been forced into is, and if I can help other people to get their lives back, then great.

  • JD says:

    This is a very sensitive but very good topic…I just happen to come across it and thought I’d put in my two cents.

    If I were in a situation where my parents are consciously or unconsciously not taking financial responsibility for themselves while they still can and end up with nothing, the least that I would do is make sure they have food to eat and roof over their heads. I would do this only because my parents raised me properly and was not mean and abusive or anything like that. If I can’t afford it, they’ll have to live with me in whatever house I have and eat whatever food is in the house. No paid leisure. There are tons of leisurely activities that do not require money. If I can afford it, they will have their own place so they have their dignity and privacy and maybe pay for some paid leisure here and there.

    One tip for those whose parents make you feel guilty, I’m sorry to say but they do not love you as much as you think. Their only concern is their own welfare. At this point, I recommend just walk away with no guilt whatsoever. No amount of money you give people like that will be enough. I’ve heard these stories many times over. If you feel like all your life you’ve been neglected or you never got the thumbs up from your parents, suck it up. You are an adult grown up. You don’t need anyone’s approval for your actions. You need to make sure that you don’t compromise your own retirement by forking money that is not well received anyway. Walking away takes a lot of guts. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a better person!

  • D'oh! says:

    Intentionally vague to protect the “innocent”.

    Parents divorced as long as I can remember. I have a family of my own and we’re trying to survive. One parent (parent 1) is married again. Another parent (parent 2) is not married and has worked as little as possible. Parent 2 never owned or rented their own place and has zero savings.

    I have been told by parent 2 that when they “retire” as soon as they can collect Social Security that they will move in with my family. This makes me angry because I have parent 1 and in-laws that would like to visit grandchildren also. It’s still 2 years away so hopefully things will change by then. Selfish parent 2 doesn’t care about anyone else.

  • Jay says:

    Short answer: I will make them work for it. I will have none of that “entitlement” thing. If they need it, then okay. But if they say they “deserve” it, screw it.

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