October 03, 2019
Listen to Podcast Episode:
Are your finances a family affair? Do you have the right perspective when it comes to caring for your parents in their old age?
Welcome to the Women and Money podcast and the men smart enough to listen. The theme song is by Effie, go to Spotify and look it up. I still love that theme song but I am thinking for season three maybe we need a change of one. Maybe we need to change the beginning of the thing because you know that this isn't any ordinary podcast. Why don't one of you write to me a theme song? I can play it all the time. Why don't one of you write what you think I should say to open up this podcast for next season? I would love to be able to use that. But I want to talk on today's podcast about family and money and especially parents, parents that maybe have to end up going to a nursing home. Parents that maybe you have to take care of whatever it may be, but making finances a family affair. And the reason I want to do that is, as I'm looking at the questions, a lot of you are writing in about that. So, I thought, you know what? Maybe that's our theme on this Ask Suze Anything, and make it about that.By the way, if you want to write in and have your question answered, all you have to do is write to AskSuzePodcast@gmail.com, S-U-Z-E. I read them, and if I choose it and answer it on the air here, then you'll get the answer to your question. But for now, let's first go to Marisol. Now I'm going to read a lot about her question, what she says it's quite lengthy, but I just want to get an idea of what happens as you're getting older and your parents are getting older. Your mom, your dad, whoever is getting older just so you can see what I can and most likely will happen. She says, hello, Suze. My question is regarding paying for a nursing home for your parent with an HSA. By the way, HSA, everyone, stands for health savings account. I did talk about them in a podcast a few months ago, so look it up.Anyway, I am 48 years old, excellent health and single mom of two boys, a 20 and an 18-year-old. My mother has been suffering from dementia for a few years. Now, however, she's getting to the point where she needs special care, such as a bath, etc., and my three siblings cannot do it any longer as they're exhausted. Their ages are 63, 65, and 67 years old.Before I go on, I just want to say, given that I'm older than all three of her siblings, I'm wondering why they're exhausted. Makes it sound like they're so old, doesn't it? But what makes you old? Are you old, physically? Are you old, financially? Because you just don't know where it's going to come from and just even feel old. Are you old, mentally? I don't know, I don't know. I'm 68 and I still feel like I'm 25, and act like six half the time. But again, that's beside the point.Anyway, I cannot help out as I live in another state and work full time. They're all retired and married but are very tired as my mother barely sleeps through the night and requires care, 24-7.Before I go on, I'm just going to say, really? Like they can't take turns, like remember when your mom took care of you maybe, and didn't sleep at all for years when you were a baby? But again, that's beside the point. Anyway, we decided the best for her is to go to a nursing home, even though that breaks my heart as she wouldn't want it. I have to tell you, it breaks my heart too. It breaks my heart, too, because if you ever have a choice in life to keep your parent at home with you, can you just do that? Because it's not like you think, everybody. It's not like you think, but anyway, but at this point, that's best for her. And she needs regular medical care that she's not getting now because she doesn't have enough medical coverage, so doctors don't want to go to her house.Why is it that she can't go to the doctors?OK. The cost of the nursing home will be split between the four of us, which is $183 a month each after her Social Security and Medicare Part A. My question is, can I pay the $183 through my HSA even though my mother is not my dependent? My sister claims her.So, Marisol, first of all, you cannot pay for your mother even if you claimed her as a dependent. You cannot pay for her with your own HSA. You could pay for yourself, you could withdraw money for yourself, even for a long-term care insurance policy, but you cannot do it for your mother, just so you know.But the real question becomes, all right, if you can't pay it with an HSA, you're going to pay for it out of your pocket. But you also have to be realistic, and I know this is going to sound harsh to you. When you put your mother in a nursing home, if she doesn't have at times, and she gets dementia and she gets worse, an aid while she's in the nursing home to take care of her, things can go wrong. So, the answer just isn't let's put her in a nursing home. The answer is, all right, if you're going to put her in a nursing home, somebody also really has to watch her very, very closely while she's in the nursing home. I am just telling you that I have been through this so many times now with so many people, especially even KT's mother. And so, it's not just putting her in a nursing home. It's making sure that she is very well taken care of while she's in that nursing home. For me, I still wish that somehow you could figure out how to keep her at home with all of your siblings.Now I know that I sounded a little sad answering that question. And I sounded sad because do you know a little bit about my background? Do you know that my degree was really in social work and I spent a lot of time at nursing homes and I saw what went on? My grandparents went to a nursing home and I saw what went on, and even KT's mother went into a nursing home and we paid a lot of money for that to happen. And then one day she was doing pretty well and she fell out of her bed. Nobody was watching her, somebody dropped her, whatever it was. And so even though she was in a nursing home, we had to get an aide to be with her to watch her so that she got the attention that she needed. So, I get sad. I think that's how people's lives end up. Maybe that's how my life's going to end up, who knows? But it's what made me sad about that last one, it's that Mama didn't want to do that, but yet because her siblings were tired, that's what's going to happen.So anyway, sorry about that, just got carried away. Let's go to the next one from Shanna or Shayna, or however you say it. Anyway, first off, she says, I'd love for you to talk about family and money. Well, that is what this podcast is about. She says, my parents in-law are both 70. They spend their money on vacations and material things with minimal regard to saving for their retirement. My husband and I, both 45, have and continue to work to save money for our retirement and maintain a debt-free life, with goals to pay off our mortgage in the next year and then save, save, save. My in-laws have implied they don't have to worry as much about retirement, as they seem to expect their child to support them in their retirement, since they, as parents, supported him through higher education and paid for part of his tuition. She continues to say at the least, resentment is building up. I agree the goal of money is to feel secure and the idea that this security could be wiped away because of the expectations of others terrifies me. I recognize assorted duty to take care of one's parents, but what about when they make no effort to take care of themselves? How would you suggest someone approach this dilemma? Surely, I'm not the only one in this kind of scenario.This is a hard one, and it's a hard one because of people's mental attitudes, as you see. You say that they are both 70. That is two years older than me, two years older than me, as I am recording this answer, and that is not old. In fact, I'm going to be doing a podcast here shortly on a Sunday for a Sunday podcast about what I think everybody's going to have to do to be OK in the future, economically speaking, because of certain things that are going on. And 70 is still a period of time where you should absolutely still be working. They are being disrespectful to their money, they are being disrespectful to you. And even though I have said many times that it is our duty to take care of our parents, it’s our duty, that's only when our parents, truthfully, have been respectful of their money, and they honestly cannot take care of themselves anymore because they are older and they don't have the ability to work. And maybe they're ill, but that is not the case with your parent in-laws. Got that?So, you and your husband are going to have to sit down with your parents and have a serious talk with them, and you should tell them the following. That they may have these expectations, but you are here to tell them you are not going to step up to the plate. I would write them a letter and I would tell them what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. And I would have it in writing and I would make them sign it. I would have two copies, one for you and one for them, where you sign both copies and you have them sign both copies. And when they come to you in the future and ask you for help, you need to be firm. You need to say, go and read the paper that you signed, we are not going to waste money on you because you don't respect money. You should tell them, however, if they change their ways, if they start saving money, if they start respecting money, if they start respecting you, that then as they get older you will have a different feeling about it. But right now, if they continue to waste money that you are not going to have any part of it. Now, is this going to be easy for you? It is not. Will it probably cause a serious fight between all of you? It probably will. But you know I have a saying, and the saying is: Sometimes helping is hurting, and hurting is helping. And the sooner you do something that hurts them to their core, it will help them save their future. By sitting there and saying nothing, by just worrying about it and letting them continue to act in a way that is disrespectful to themselves, to their money, and to you is not going to solve any problem.So, yeah, this is a Suze Smackdown. This is Suze, tough love. But if you don't get tough right here and right now with them, you're all going to suffer. Because when they are older and they are out of money, you're not going to have the heart to say no, and then there go your dreams. And really, who knows if it can even help them, depending on the situation that they've got themselves in? So that's what you need to do.All right, in the same respect, we get another email from LT and she says, as of June 2018 I am retired and I have a good monthly retirement income. I'm currently helping family members to survive financially on a monthly basis of approximately $500-1000 each month, as needed. These are funds I want and need to save for myself now and in the future. Yes, they are employed with high rent and other expenses. How do I overcome to maintain the funds for myself now and for the future? My long-term goal is to help two daughters buy a home. Hope you can give me some advice.Oh, LT, listen to me. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Here you're saying to me you need this money, you want it now and you want it for your own future. Yeah, you're helping these kids or these people, your family members because they have high rents and other expenses. So how do you overcome doing that? How do you say no to them? How do you say no out of love for yourself, versus yes out of fear that they're not going to love you anymore? And then you end this email, you end it with that your long-term goal is to help your two daughters buy a home. Really? Really? If you're going to help your daughters buy a home, then how do you save for yourself and in your future? I don't get it. It's like, what do you really have going on here? So, stop wanting to save everybody else.You know, years ago I created something called the Save Yourself Account, and you need to save yourself. And you need to tell them that you are not going to be helping them anymore and that they're going to have to figure out a way to do it on their own. But because you have been helping them, you have to give them a month or two or three to get used to this. So maybe what you say to them is, starting in January of 2020, as I'm recording this, this is September of 2019. So, tell them as of January 2020, you are no longer going to be giving them $500 or $1000 every month, that you are going to be saving that money for yourself. And whatever is left after you've died, of course, it will go to them, and they'll get at that time if anything is left. But they're not going to get it now. But you also have to get a long-term goal out of your head of helping your two daughters to buy a home. Didn't you just hear the other people that wrote in about their mom going into a nursing home? And they have to come up with the money and dat dit dit dit dit?Things can happen as you get older, and it's obvious that your kids can't help you, so you have to be able to help yourself. So just stop this and stop it now. There is nothing wrong with you giving to yourself as much as you give of yourself. You have got to save yourself first. All right, this one is from Lauren, and she says... This is a depressing Ask Suze Anything, isn't it? It's depressing because this is the reality of life when you don't have money and it doesn't have to be this way. You have to plan for the worst but hope for the best. You have to take the actions today to protect your tomorrows. We no longer live in a place and a time where you can keep postponing and postponing and postponing and thinking that nothing will ever happen to you. All right?We have Lauren and she says, my mother lost her job about a year ago. Unemployment has run out, and she has decided to dip into her already small 401k account to continue paying for her mortgage. She only has about five months of runway left in that account and hasn't shown a strong initiative to find a new job. I don't want to see my mother on welfare or homeless, but I am unsure how to help within reason. She still has more than 12 years left before retirement age.Really everybody, really? So, does that mean that this woman is like in her 50s still? Is that possible? All right, all right. So, I feel like she needs to find a job, even if it pays less than she was earning before. My husband and I have considered purchasing a low-cost home for her in a lower cost area that we feel we can afford, but she still needs a job to earn something and put away for retirement. We felt purchasing the home was a better investment for us than handing her money each month, which she has proven she is very bad at managing. Even in unemployment, she continues to spend frivolously. Do we purchase the home to help, give her money each month, let her move in with us which would be a tremendous strain on our relationship, or stand back and let her figure it out?So, here's the thing. I'm reading these emails even though they are longer because if you are listening to me right now and you are older and you are an elderly parent, do you understand if you aren't being responsible for your money, the pain that it is causing your children? Do you understand that? Can you feel that? So, you need to wake up and you need to not do this. How is it that you just go so numb and you don't look at the reality of what is out there? Anyway, the answer to this is, I have to tell you, I would buy her a home in a low-cost area because at least then you're putting your money into an asset that probably you will get back, versus just giving it to her and letting her continue to live in la-la land. But again, you're going to have to sit down and talk with her. And you're going to have to say, all right, if we buy this home for you, how are you going to pay for utilities, your phone, your food? Mom, you have to get a job. Why is it that you aren't looking? How do you think this is going to happen? You're going to lose your home, you're going to lose everything. So, either you have to do this or we are not going to help you. Again, you have to be firm. In essence, you have to be like your mother probably was when you were little and you wanted something and she would say to you, you cannot afford this. I can't afford this; therefore, you are not going to buy it. And you would cry and you might scream. But yet hopefully she stuck to her guns. That now is the role that you have to play with your mother because your mother has reverted to being your child, so you have got to be the parent and you have got to make decisions that are hard decisions. But that once again allows her to one day be OK in the same way she said no to you when you were a kid because she loved you so much, and she just wanted the best for you. I know you love her so much, I know you want the best for her. So just remember when you're doing this, you're doing this out of love. You're not doing this to punish her, you're not doing this to make her feel like a fool. You're doing this because she's acting like a little kid that's so afraid that she doesn't know what to do, so you have to take her hand and guide her step by step.All right, now, the truth of the matter is I have two more, but I don't think so. I think I'm going to wait and just save them because it's the same story over and over again. Questions about I'm worried, I'm taking care of my parents, I'm afraid of this, my siblings, all of that. Listen, you have to make finances a family affair. You really have to start talking about it openly and honestly with your brothers, your sisters, your parents, and your kids. Money can no longer be a topic that just is silent where you just don't discuss it. You all think about it, you all are afraid of it, you all don't know what to do about it, and what happens in the family with one effect all. So, can you just use this podcast, today's podcast, as an example and make finances a family affair? Be honest, take care of yourselves, come from a place of love and somehow, somehow, try to be the strong, smart and secure woman that I want each and every one of you to be. But to do so, you have to talk about money with those that you love. In providing answers neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman is acting as a Certified Financial Planner, advisor, a Certified Financial Analyst, an economist, CPA, accountant, or lawyer. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman makes any recommendations as to any specific securities or investments. All content is for informational and general purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your particular situation. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman accepts any responsibility for any loss, which may arise from accessing or reliance on the information in this podcast and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for loss or damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the information. To find the right Credit Union for you, visit https://www.mycreditunion.gov/. Interested in Suze's Must Have Documents? Go to https://shop.suzeorman.com/checkout/cart/index/.