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WWYD- Pils and money

(14 Posts)
SerialReJoiner Mon 02-Jan-17 09:12:28

Dh is worried about his parents. They are both beyond retirement age, but are forced to continue working due to years of bad money management. Mil is in her early 70s and has to work nights in a care home; Fil recently had to leave a job due to poor health and is desperately searching for another. They live in a rural area so are dependent on their car(s?) to get around, and have previously mortgaged their little cottage to the hilt so still have high monthly bills. Dh and I both fret about their long-term prospects quite a lot and although we live 4+ hours away from them would be willing to offer space in our home if they get desperate enough.

But they are very proud about money and won't hear of letting us help them at all. For Christmas we sent a hamper of special foods with a Tesco voucher for £50 so they could top up their freezer or have some nice wine at Christmas or whatever. They were pleased but also gently told us off for it. We have our own family to look after, etc etc. We aren't rich by any means, but are doing fine.

A few days after they received their parcel, we got their card in the post with a cheque for £100. Knowing their financial situation, dh is adamant about not cashing it. That's fine by me; I don't want to put any undue pressure on them.

But I feel dh out his foot in it a bit when he spoke to them on the phone and said thanks, but I'll be ripping it up be because I know you are out of work/struggling. Considering the fact they never see us (and see the other grandchildren regularly due to them being much closer) and their pride regarding money in general, I told dh that he shouldn't have said that! Perhaps a bit of subterfuge and deflecting would have been better, like "holidays etc, couldn't get it banked yet/misplaced it, you know I'm so flighty/I thought Serial had done it by now I'll have a word/etc"

What would you do in this situation? They want to have a part in our lives, and we are grateful they are willing to make such a massive financial sacrifice en leu of face to face time, but (a) we don't actually need the money and (b) we fear it would literally be taking food out of their mouths.

Thoughts?

Patienceisvirtuous Mon 02-Jan-17 09:21:05

Just don't cash and deflect any discussions on it as you said.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 02-Jan-17 09:25:34

Stop fretting about them, this is really a situation of their own making. Bad money management does not happen overnight and this is their problem of many years standing. I do not think that anything can be done with regards to your DHs parents; you have said yourself that they have badly managed money for years.

I also think that offering them space in your home at all would be a disaster for all of you. They also value their independence and rarely if ever see you anyway.

He was correct in my view to tell them that their cheque will not be cashed. Subterfuge would have been of no benefit and besides which why should you be named as being at fault for not banking their cheque.

Do they really want to be a part of your lives, I think you are assuming a great deal here.

SerialReJoiner Mon 02-Jan-17 09:32:24

Interesting points. I didn't suggest to dh to blame me, I was just musing in the thread. And yes, I doubt they would want to come up here as they don't know anyone in the area and we lead very different lifestyles etc. But rightly or wrongly, dh feels that we should at least offer if they become desperate one day.

Their money issues have been several decades in the making, at least.

Mouikey Mon 02-Jan-17 09:36:20

If your DH is getting concerned about their financial situation maybe it's time to have that discussion with them. I am sure other MNs will flame me for this, but why not sit down and explain why you're not going to cash it honestly and express your concerns that they continue to work given that his father has been poorly. This may open a wider conversation. Even if you just state that you are worried and concerned they may accept help to get utilities changed to cheaper tariffs etc (rather than direct financial help). Also has your DH discussed with his siblings?

I am however surprised that any bank allowed them to have a significant mortgage at their age (I thought there were big restrictions past retirement age?). So potentially could your concerns be unfounded?

Isetan Mon 02-Jan-17 09:40:41

Your PIL have been fortunate to get away with this situation for as long as they have but it will need to tackled sooner rather than later. Fretting and not upsetting your PIL isn't a strategy that's been particularly successful, so I can understand your DH's frustration.

Th only thing you and your H can do is to do some research on the possibilities available to your PIL when their house of cards falls. However, pro activity gives them more scope with dealing with their issues than denial.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 02-Jan-17 09:44:07

Your last sentence dose not surprise me at all. Their money problems have not happened overnight at all, poor money management does not just happen.

And as for them potentially living with your own family unit it would likely be a disaster for all concerned (and that's quite apart from their money problems). Clearly your DH has not thought this through at all properly but seems to be under some sense of misplaced obligation to them.

SeaCabbage Mon 02-Jan-17 11:07:49

With regard to deflecting talk of cashing the cheque, I would have thought that that would be quite stressful for them. If I was short of cash and was never quite sure when £100 might be taken out, that would be very worrying.

With regard to everything else, sounds like you either need to keep out of their business or get right into their business and advise re moving, downsizing, new jobs etc.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Mon 02-Jan-17 11:16:05

If they've been using the equity in their home like an ATM I suspect they still have some equity left as no mortgage-lender that I can think of would let them add to an outstanding mortgage at their age.

If/when the shit hits the fan they could always sell up and go into a rental. If their income is low they would likely qualify for some LHA/Housing Benefit.

I would advise you in the strongest terms possible that offering them a home with you and your family would be a REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA! If push came to shove you could choose to help them with a modest weekly sum to help them out when all other avenues have been exhausted. In any case, they might agree that moving in with you is not what they want either. Having in-laws living with you full-time could be the quickest route to a divorce-court!

SerialReJoiner Mon 02-Jan-17 11:19:22

Dh told Pil flat out that he's ripped it up, so the deflection thing isn't an issue.

sounds like you either need to keep out of their business or get right into their business and advise re moving, downsizing, new jobs etc.

Yes, we should probably do this. Not sure which path dh will want to take.

jimijack Mon 02-Jan-17 11:21:35

I know you say that they are proud and private, but do you know if they have received good independent financial advice recently?

Would they be open to a discussion about this and could you between you, get someone to advise them?

This was the saviour for my pil who were in an almost identical situation..except that they couldn't even afford to give a tenner to us for Christmas. DH went with them for financial advice and then pretty much took over their finances from then on.

RandomMess Mon 02-Jan-17 11:23:21

Would they not be better off selling up and moving into a smaller efficient to run place where they wouldn't need to run 2 cars anymore?

Has this been suggested and discounted already?

SerialReJoiner Mon 02-Jan-17 11:44:21

I really don't know much more of the ins and outs of their financial situation; just that they are unable to retire - ever - and both need to work in order to stay afloat.

Their cottage is already incredibly small. I don't think you could really go smaller unless in a bedsit or attic flat! I also am unsure if they could even sell the cottage (possible negative equity??).

It might be worth dh speaking with his brother to work as a family to support them. This situation really is untenable and needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.

ThisThingCalledLife Mon 02-Jan-17 15:54:31

Sounds like it's time for a family meeting - amongst the siblings first.

We're facing a similar situation with our parents - how to help them have a comfortable and stress free old age as possible.
Our parents too refuse to let us 'take care' of them, so we've got to find a way grin

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