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Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

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Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Old 07-28-09, 10:46 AM
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Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Ok I have had this on going battle on trying to get the family finances out of the shitter.

At long last, my mortgages were cut in half (that call I got yesterday). But it dawned on me, there is yet another potential for disaster.

I know my parents, they are instantly going to think lower payments means they can spend more. Ironically, this is how we got into a financial mess when I was a kid (around 9-12). We have always been broke...I think now is the time to change that.

So why the post? I have no idea how to attack this. A few things I do know:

1. Forget using any kind of forms, they will not fill it out
2. My father is a total impulse buyer and I have no idea how to fix that
3. Trying to get either my brother or father to try a light off might start the end of the world
4. I have no idea why the gas bill is always so high and have no idea how to fix it after getting it paid down
5. My mother thinks buying in bulk is a bad idea
6. Gas (for the cars) seems to be used way more than it should be
7. I bought my parents an upright freezer they never use
8. My parents use checks, thinking they can delay payments, but they spend more on checks than actual spending
9. I am attempting to get my parents to drop the $65.00 cell phone plan they barley use and go to pre-paid. But there is a stigma with it apparently.
10. My mother seems to think that Shoprite has way cheaper prices than any other store and refuses to shop there.
11. In Stop and Shop, there is a hand held scanner to show you exactly how much you have spent so far. I am trying to get her to use it, but she is afraid she will break it.
12. I am trying to get rid of cable and the house phone...the argument that ensued lasted for 4 days.
13. My parents and brother all have at least 2 credit cards in collections and refuse to pick up the phone when the agency calls.

The list can go on, but those are a few points I need addressed. If anyone has any tip, tricks, or tools I can use to fix these problems I would appreciate it.

I really don't want to get into another mess like we have been in and I am going to do what I can to "change" (I use that term loosely) the way my family does things.
Old 07-28-09, 10:55 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Do you live wih them....?
Old 07-28-09, 10:56 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

I don't think you can change people if they do not want to change.

Cut up the credit cards, sell the freezer since they wont buy in bulk. Call cable and cancel it.

Finally, take the savings in mortgage payments and have them auto drafted out of your checking account to a mutual fund somewhere so that money can't be spent or even seen.
Old 07-28-09, 11:16 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Are they living with you, or you with them?

Please explain the situation more.
Old 07-28-09, 11:18 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by Brian Shannon View Post
I don't think you can change people if they do not want to change.

Cut up the credit cards, sell the freezer since they wont buy in bulk. Call cable and cancel it.

Finally, take the savings in mortgage payments and have them auto drafted out of your checking account to a mutual fund somewhere so that money can't be spent or even seen.
I am not sure if they don't want to change or if they are afraid of it.

The problem is, their finances are tied to mine. My mother and I own the house together, since my father's credit was shot. When he lost his job in December, that income loss made us fall behind on the mortgage. And it nearly killed my credit.

Thankfully, I am digging myself out of the hole, but I can already sense my parents getting "too excited" about this reduced mortgage payment. My fear is that we, collectively, are going to be back in the same spot unless I do something.

Ideally, I would like to get the mortgage off my name, but it has been difficult since there are two of them. And I would lose the tax break I was getting. So I thought it made more sense to try and fix some of the other problems with the spending.
Old 07-28-09, 11:20 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by datagirl7 View Post
Are they living with you, or you with them?

Please explain the situation more.
I suppose that depends on who you ask,

In all seriousness, I have half the house and they have half the house. I don't consider it living with them, they live with me, since almost everything was in my name.
Old 07-28-09, 11:27 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Are you tied to them financially other than the mortgage?
Old 07-28-09, 11:28 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

How old are you? You need to cut the fucking cord. They are your parents, you are not going to change them.
Old 07-28-09, 11:29 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by datagirl7 View Post
Are you tied to them financially other than the mortgage?
Yes, my student loans.
Old 07-28-09, 11:33 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Alternate title for thread: How can I make my inheritance as large as possible?
Old 07-28-09, 11:34 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Sell your interest in the house to your mother for cheap, and file a quit-claim. Then move far, far away.
Old 07-28-09, 11:36 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

What a weird living situation.
Old 07-28-09, 11:48 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

We know that your brother contributes nothing to the household income. If your father still hasn't a job, he doesn't contribute anything either. So you have absolute control over the purse strings. Right?

So how are they getting ahold of money to overspend?

Your parents lack self control. They have no reason to learn self control if their current behavior is rewarded. They buy stuff, they ruin their credit, they can't buy a house, and you bail them out. They kite checks, they get stuff, and you bail them out. They keep the house bright and hot all winter and cold all summer, they run up a utility bill, and you bail them out.

Your brother is a leech. He sucks money out of you and gives nothing back, not even courtesy. He will never learn to take care of himself, because he has no incentive to grow up out of childhood. Because of an ill-considered agreement you made with your parents, he will never improve.

You're the most generous guy in the world, but you're being weak and your family is taking advantage of you. If you want to get their finances in order, you need to cut them off. Stop being a democracy. "My house, my money, and my rules."

Turn off the cell phone. Don't negotiate. Get a prepaid. When they run out of minutes, they don't use it for the rest of the month. Install a programmable digital thermostat with a password that only you know. Take away their checking accounts, put them on ATM cards, and put them on a monthly allowance. When the account is empty for the month, the card gets declined. If they have any credit cards left, take them away and cut them up.

They have no self control, and don't want control. If you don't impose it, it will never happen.
Old 07-28-09, 11:56 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
We know that your brother contributes nothing to the household income. If your father still hasn't a job, he doesn't contribute anything either. So you have absolute control over the purse strings. Right?

So how are they getting ahold of money to overspend?

Your parents lack self control. They have no reason to learn self control if their current behavior is rewarded. They buy stuff, they ruin their credit, they can't buy a house, and you bail them out. They kite checks, they get stuff, and you bail them out. They keep the house bright and hot all winter and cold all summer, they run up a utility bill, and you bail them out.

Your brother is a leech. He sucks money out of you and gives nothing back, not even courtesy. He will never learn to take care of himself, because he has no incentive to grow up out of childhood. Because of an ill-considered agreement you made with your parents, he will never improve.

You're the most generous guy in the world, but you're being weak and your family is taking advantage of you. If you want to get their finances in order, you need to cut them off. Stop being a democracy. "My house, my money, and my rules."

Turn off the cell phone. Don't negotiate. Get a prepaid. When they run out of minutes, they don't use it for the rest of the month. Install a programmable digital thermostat with a password that only you know. Take away their checking accounts, put them on ATM cards, and put them on a monthly allowance. When the account is empty for the month, the card gets declined. If they have any credit cards left, take them away and cut them up.

They have no self control, and don't want control. If you don't impose it, it will never happen.
For the record and for clarification, I only pay for the house and the cable bill.

However, when the house funds get into a mess, it hurts me since the house is in my name. Everything else is theirs (cell phone and so on). The other hitch in the giddieup is my parents pay my student loans (that was the agreement, I went to school, they paid for it), but again they are all in my name.

As for my brother, he isn't exactly a leech. He does pay for his own stuff (smokes, cell phone and such) but does not contribute outside of that.

This could easily be a battle I will never ever win, I figured it was worth the effort to try and change/alter some of these habits.
Old 07-28-09, 11:58 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Mrs Danger pointed out that you probably aren't taking care of yourself. Are you putting 10% percent of your income into a 401k? Anything into savings, in case you have a bad day? Even when I was barely getting by, I had a small automatic transfer from my checking account into a savings account for every paycheck.

You're the hard-working guy who has a good job. Don't let them drag you down too.
Old 07-28-09, 11:59 AM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by jiffy97 View Post
Alternate title for thread: How can I make my inheritance as large as possible?
Ha...I wish. My parents will be lucky if they actually get put into the ground instead of letting the buzzards have their way. There is nothing I will be getting from them when they die.
Old 07-28-09, 12:00 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

It really looks like you have three options:

1. Force them to change, as Nick suggests.
2. Give up on them, walk away and start a new life.
3. Continue to live in misery and die in poverty.
Old 07-28-09, 12:00 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
Mrs Danger pointed out that you probably aren't taking care of yourself. Are you putting 10% percent of your income into a 401k? Anything into savings, in case you have a bad day? Even when I was barely getting by, I had a small automatic transfer from my checking account into a savings account for every paycheck.

You're the hard-working guy who has a good job. Don't let them drag you down too.
Actually, I have my money spread out all over the place. I have a 401k through work, a separate Roth, a couple savings accounts and some stock. I took a hit last year (because the market took a dive), but I am in good shape on that front.
Old 07-28-09, 12:03 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by macnorton View Post
As for my brother, he isn't exactly a leech. He does pay for his own stuff (smokes, cell phone and such) but does not contribute outside of that.
Yes he is. You pay for all his food and shelter. He contributes nothing. IIRC, he even had you paying for his girlfriend.

That he pays for his luxuries doesn't change your basic relationship.
Old 07-28-09, 12:04 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by macnorton View Post
Actually, I have my money spread out all over the place. I have a 401k through work, a separate Roth, a couple savings accounts and some stock. I took a hit last year (because the market took a dive), but I am in good shape on that front.
I'm honestly glad to hear that. I like you, and don't want you to get screwed.
Old 07-28-09, 12:05 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger View Post
Sell your interest in the house to your mother for cheap, and file a quit-claim. Then move far, far away.
That will not relieve him of the mortgage obligation.

The only way this works is if they give you total control of the finances. That means that you get all the income, give them a spending allowance, and take care of all the bills. Otherwise, it will not work. That will indicate whether or not they really want to change, as well.
Old 07-28-09, 12:12 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by macnorton View Post
I suppose that depends on who you ask,

In all seriousness, I have half the house and they have half the house. I don't consider it living with them, they live with me, since almost everything was in my name.
Too funny. When I read this, I remembered that this is EXACTLY what Slayer said about his living situation. Did you get screwed over when your mom got a boob job and you couldn't get your teeth fixed, too?

The real answer is get yourself financially unconnected and let them do what they want. From everything you've said so far, they seem uninterested in even small change and anything you're going to do to them will simply have to be tricky and that will most likely strain your relationship. You're not going to be able to save them, and it's not your responsibility to do so.
Old 07-28-09, 12:21 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by solipsta View Post
Too funny. When I read this, I remembered that this is EXACTLY what Slayer said about his living situation. Did you get screwed over when your mom got a boob job and you couldn't get your teeth fixed, too?

The real answer is get yourself financially unconnected and let them do what they want. From everything you've said so far, they seem uninterested in even small change and anything you're going to do to them will simply have to be tricky and that will most likely strain your relationship. You're not going to be able to save them, and it's not your responsibility to do so.
I was the one who got the house...my mom had to co-sign because I had little collateral (and credit). But they wanted to move out as well, so they came with me.

And yes, I am trying to do exactly that. There are a few hurdles with that, and I am doing everything I can to get myself to that point.
Old 07-28-09, 12:23 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
I'm honestly glad to hear that. I like you, and don't want you to get screwed.
I will tell you straight up, I am really good with money. When I got the house, everything went out the window. My dad lost his job (twice actually) and I carried the load. Now I realize that was a mistake. But I can't change the past.

Aside from my credit taking a dive, my money has been and will always be under my control. But I am, and I will admit it, way too generous.
Old 07-28-09, 12:38 PM
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Re: Financial Talk: I need help to get my parents finances under control

Originally Posted by macnorton View Post
I will tell you straight up, I am really good with money.
Clearly, you are not. You bought a house you cannot afford.

Originally Posted by macnorton View Post
I was the one who got the house...my mom had to co-sign because I had little collateral (and credit). But they wanted to move out as well, so they came with me.


I don't understand. You first claim you purchased the house (for yourself). You couldn't afford it, so you had your mother co-sign. At that point, did you expect your parents to live with you?

How did you go from you buying the house (and your mom co-signing due to only your needing collateral) to needing your father's income to help pay the mortgage? You make it sound like you bought it on your own and once they moved in, you became reliant on your Dad's salary.

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