Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A little help here?

My mother is returning home somewhere at the end of October. She informed my dad last weekend that, although she will let me get rid of his part of debt, she will not let me handle/pay off her debt. Ok?

I don't believe my mother understands this whole debt business and how bad it is. They have no retirement plan or fund. My dad started to put money into his company's 401k maybe 3 years ago, and a modest, small amount at that. But that is NOWHERE near enough for him to retire let alone for the both of them to do so. They don't own a home, but rent a very expensive one. Heck, they (will) own a barely reliable car as soon as I am done paying for it.

Ok, trying not to sidetrack... but what I need help with is...

How do I go about this debt conversation with her?

I havent spoken to her in years. I don't believe I am quite strong enough to actually 'talk' to her. I'll snap and walk out and go hit a tree or a fence post. Especially at the very predictable resistance to any plan or any idea of fixing this mess the right way. I do hold some (a lot of) un-aimed anger at her, but it's not because of my financial situation. At least, not all of it.

So far my plan includes every single weapon in my arsenal: graphs, charts, payment schedules, goal setting, finance 101, worst case scenarios, my plans, what they should look forward to in term of THEIR plans, more charts, more numbers, lots of numbers of every sequence and meaning imaginable... I need her to understand that I am gain nothing from them being in debt or debt free. But that I WANT them to be debt free because, well, it's easier, it's better, and it works. Also, although I don't care much for my mother, I care for my dad and want HIM to be in a better position, which includes my mother being in a better position.

This talk will take place sometime in Nov. I've tried a lot of talking, and I'm tired of the waiting game, since things will NOT take care of themselves. Any advice is much appreciated!


  1. You are not responsible for her. Try to help, but if she refuses to listen, walk away. You cannot save a sucking chest wound even if it your mother. I am sorry. I know that this is hard. I think your dad has figured it out, but mom hasn't. Do not ruin your young life with this.

  2. Wait she won't let you handle her debt, but she expects you to pay for her ticket home since she can't afford it?

  3. @ Kim/OMW - Yeah... I know you're right.
    @ Dy - She's not expecting me to. She's expecting my dad to do so. And I know he has no funds (ok, maybe $65 in all). A bit of a dilemma. It just gets tagged on to whoever cares, and that just happens to be me, as usual.

  4. your mum sounds like a really controlling type of person, so I think you're right that she is going to resist your efforts to help.
    If it were me I would just try once and if it gets heated then walk away. You can't waste your energy and youth trying to help then and I think you mother will try and use the situation to be manipulative. I know it sounds harsh, but I'm saying this with the best intentions. Focus on yourself first so if any debt is in your name get that paid off then start saving. Keep your finances separate from your parents and don't let your mum poke her nose in your business.

    Your dad sounds more like he wants to change things which is good, but you can't do it for them.
    good luck with the visit.

  5. You really need to catch me up to speed. Being new here, it sounds as if you're paying off your parents debt. Am I right? And if so, why?

  6. Here's some very simple advice for you... You cannot help someone who will not help themselves. :(

  7. Can't say I am surprised of the answers...
    @ Louise - I do keep my finances separate, but when your family becomes a huge, annoying and clingy Murphy, it starts making a dent in any budget.
    @ Mark - You are right. And in a short version, because I care and I'm a fool. Horrible short way to put it, but I emailed you a bit more.
    @ Carla - True enough, but... I think I'm yielding on the side of caution and giving them the benefit of the doubt that she just doesn't know any better. I have to try! (Again!)

  8. I agree with the other posts. My parents refused to listen to me about saving money and paying debt down until my sisters and I demanded they go to a Dave Ramsey class or lose having us in their lives.

    Please don't take this the wrong way but you may want to stop staying over at your parents on the weekend for a while. It appears to me that you are indeed the dependable child and possibly (guessing here) the kind hearted one. Sometimes family members do not realize when they're taking advantage of a love one.

    It is hard because it's our parents but if you want to punch something, you don't need to speak with her.

  9. My suggestion even though quite late is just to do as you plan and talk, take the graphs and whats not but just try. If it fails, so be it but at least you tried. Most of the time though, it's really hard to change people's financial habits unless they hit rock bottom themselves.

    You are in a rough situation and I really hope you can pull through it, both you and your entire family.

  10. Tanner, I agree with most of the people here. Your mom will not listen to you. You can't help those who don't want help. I suggest you sit them down and tell them to grow the hell up. It is sad that their 25 year old is taking care of them and that you wont do it anymore. If you don't get out of this mess you will never get ahead and out of your debt.