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Having a mini rant.....

(12 Posts)
pieinthesky48 Fri 08-Feb-19 08:00:56

My dad died last year and had been ill for a while - he was also quite a difficult man during his life, very driven, not that interested in the grandkids and ran my mum's and his 'financial' life for them - . My mum is in her 70's and had been caring for him at home with some outside help. They had a very typical relationship of their time - quite traditional with him doing all the "business" stuff and her not working or working part time at points in her life - both quite independent and a good set of friends and family - but she is an amazing Grandma /Mum. In her relationship with my Dad, she had no handle on the finances (and almost chose not to get involved) - he was working for himself for many years before his death so there was nothing "regular" other than a small state pension and then he just got what money he did from his business so it was quite ad hoc.

When Dad died she found out he had more debt than she realised, although it is mostly in his name and she is not liable. For now though, her day to day living (until the house is sold when she can buy a smaller house and create an income for herself) is tricky and she is finally not only having to deal with her grief but also face up to the fact that life, going forward is not going to be quite how she thought and she has had to start to budget, be careful etc. She has not always been that good with money when she's had it and is feeling quite resentful of the whole situation she now finds herself.

I have two sisters and one brother, all of whom are helping out financially (to be repaid once the house is sold).....
I see her regularly as I live the closest and the others live 1-2 hours away. They are all really good though and do what they can. I work part time.

Every time I see my mum, she talks about money, about how she's lonely but can't do the things she wants to do because she "can't afford it" - about how her friends are going to nice restaurants, going on nice holidays blah blah, they had a pretty good standard of living before my dad got ill but it now transpires that might have been on the never never. I feel really cross that they didn't sort out their finances years ago when I suggested that they do that and I had a difficult relationship with my Dad because I often suggested that they might downsize and create some kind of living fund rather than hope that there would be enough money in the business later (when too old and at the risk of illness).

We are comfortable financially but we budget - our kids are off to secondary soon and I don't just spend what I want - we save and are careful but also do nice things. I take her out for lunch on my own in the week or have coffee, invite her over and she sees the kids, she has friends and my siblings come out to see her when they can and am also helping with sorting out the admin relating to my Dad etc for her.

I suppose I just feel guilty that I can't make it right for her, cross that my Dad left her in this position, cross that she didn't take more responsibility during her lifetime and now we are the ones to pick it all up and wondering if I should do more for her financially or whether that wouldn't help matters at all.......I am very much the person who runs the day to day finances at home and my husband does the long term financial planning - and my husband and I are very open about what is what and what we can afford (as are most of my generation I think ?!) - so I am sort of resentful of her being cross about being not able to afford the things I don't even spend money on myself - does that make sense ?
Occasionally I have almost had to treat her like a child and gently tell her that we all have to budget and can't always afford things we want, sisters do the same.
Sorry, I just needed to get that off my chest !..... and never feel like I'm getting it quite right.......
Any tips or suggestions would be much appreciated......

PurpleWithRed Fri 08-Feb-19 08:11:09

What a difficult situation for you all. It’s a massive adjustment for her and she is probably feeling both angry and a bit stupid as well as let down and lonely. But I think you’re doing fine as you are. I wouldn’t baby her, maybe you could start being a bit brisk - “well we are where we are” - and I certainly wouldn’t give her financial support unless she’s on her uppers and can’t afford the basics. Help her get that house sold, help her manage her income, and get financial POA in place. She’s probably going to need help managing her finances.

pieinthesky48 Fri 08-Feb-19 10:26:25

Thank you for that, I do try to remain a bit impartial when we chat and not dwell on what happened but how we move forward. Once the house is sold I think things will be very different and she can try to live her life a bit..... it all feels a bit draining and hard right now.....

Grace212 Fri 08-Feb-19 17:51:25

I really feel for you OP

my dad died recently and he did all of that as well. My mum is 80 and learning to do the basics. I am impressed that she wants to learn instead of just handing it to me, but it is very frustrating at time - explaining the most basic of basic things.

pieinthesky48 Fri 08-Feb-19 21:30:21

@grace... it is hard but well done to your mum for wanting to learn....

Grace212 Fri 08-Feb-19 22:25:13

OP I don't your mum learning?

I think it would be easier - for me! - if she just handed it to me. I am tired of showing her things like the difference between a marketing letter from the gas company and an actual bill. She is trying, but in the midst of grief and stress, it's not working hugely well.

she is also poring over bank statements in tiny detail and asking endless boring questions. That said, I think she feels a right plum for not dealing with all this before and to some extent her pride is at stake now - she doesn't actually want to be the woman who handed it all over to her husband, but she didn't realise it till he died!

Grace212 Fri 08-Feb-19 22:32:06

OP "- so I am sort of resentful of her being cross about being not able to afford the things I don't even spend money on myself - does that make sense?"

this makes perfect sense - it would annoy the crap out of me!

Singlenotsingle Fri 08-Feb-19 22:42:52

How old is your mum? Presumably she's the generation before mine, and I'm in my 60s. We're all quite savvy.

Walnutwhipster Fri 08-Feb-19 22:50:25

I could have almost written your post about my PIL. The liked to plead poverty but lived in a beautiful detached home, foreign holidays and a brand new car every couple of years. They had only a few thousand pounds in savings (which covered his funeral) but had fantastic pensions so had a regular income of far more than most. My FIL died suddenly and unfortunately the pensions died with him. My MIL has become increasingly bitter because she now only has a state pension. She had to downsize (which left her far more comfortably off) but she still talks constantly about money and is so selfish. She is resentful of everyone, sucking the joy from every occasion.

pieinthesky48 Sat 09-Feb-19 08:39:48

@singlenotsingle.... my mum is mid 70’s and her (and my dad when alive) have smartphones, use the internet and drive everywhere confidently - she has been great at trying to get to grips with everything but is very down right now so I think understandably, she can’t be bothered. Plus, even the most sane and patient of us lose it after spending an hour on the phone to BT !!!!! All bills were in his name too and absolutely nothing was joint even bank accounts (good job given the debts 🥴).....she will go off and have a go if I am busy. She has always been socially independent - they weren’t the couple you’d see in matching jumpers in M &S with him looking slightly downtrodden..... I see a lot of that ... but would do their own thing in the day and be there in the evenings together. The resentfulness of coming to terms with a new normal, financially, is draining - and although I’ve thought it, I’ve not reminded her that the good lifestyle she has had in the last few years has built up a debt which has put her in this position - he should have told her and they should have adjusted their lifestyle accordingly.... like the rest of us have to..... ! .... I don’t want her to feel like she has to pay her penance for burying her head in the sand, but part of me wants to tell her to grow up a bit (at 75🙄)..... !

MereDintofPandiculation Sat 09-Feb-19 10:04:29

She's in a difficult position and has every right to feel pissed off. But she's chosen the wrong person to grumble at - it's insensitive to complain about not being able to afford luxuries to someone who is budgeting carefully to afford what she feels does not match the basic level of comfortable living. You're taking the right approach with "we are where we are". Try to shut down the grumbling, and certainly do not consider subsidising her for anything that you wouldn't buy for yourself.

NewspaperTaxis Sat 09-Feb-19 15:07:05

Nice colour TV, central heating, fridge with nice meals in, an iPod with all her fave songs... life is still by default better for her than it would be in the same situation back in the 1950s-80s.

Restaurants are a rip off anyway. Of course, cake and coffee in Cafe Rouge is an affordable option.

Do people in their 70s go on holidays with friends? I suppose they do.

But thinking while bereaved is always like this, the thoughts will be negative, and I am not unsympathetic.

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