Living above her means

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by dstc_99, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    OK let me just say that I love my mother in law and sister in law but right now I just dont have any more patience for them. Neither one has ever known how to live within their means. husband and I always get to be the ones to clean up the crap.

    When father in law died a little over a year ago I took over paying mother in law's bills because she had never used a bank. It is not difficult considering I have pretty much all of it set up on autopay. Plus I set up a second account for just bills so that the money for bills never gets messed up. I left the Sears card in mother in law and sister in law's hands since sister in law was supposed to be helping mother in law pay the bill. I left the newspaper in their hands since it only gets paid occasionally. mother in law was going to be using a seperate account for her spending money. I thought that mother in law would be on a tight budget but she could make it. What could possibly go wrong!

    Since then the Sears card payments have been late multiple times. They have bounced several checks in mother in law's account. I caught sister in law going in and paying sister in law's bills out of mother in law's account. They are constantly using each others money and paying each other back. sister in law is constantly using mother in law's account so that brother in law can't see what she is paying. It's crazy and I know

    So this month mother in law calls all excited about a new chair she just had delivered. UMMMMM where did you get money for that? She will be making monthly payments. Then I see where the Sears card has been paid twice in August and that once it bounced and then was run through again. This usually happens when sister in law doesn't help mother in law out and they are atleast a month behind on payments. Oh yeah, mother in law's auto insurance is going up next month and her house insurance got changed to another provider so that is an additional amount.

    I decided to tell sister in law to send me the bills and let me just pay them all so that life was easier. I just attempted to balance the budget. Things do not look pretty. She will barely have $250 to eat on a month.

    How in the world am I going to explain to my mother in law that until October 4th she has no money? Yep thats right until her small retirement check of $250 comes in she is flat broke. The woman simply does not understand money! Its not intentional on her part when she makes these increases. She really is clueless. sister in law on the other hand is not stupid. She goes with mother in law anytime mother in law spends big money. She knows the budget restraints. Yet she lets it happen! mother in law would never ever spend the money without sister in law standing right beside her. She and sister in law are joined at the hip and sister in law does have the power to influence mother in law. In fact mother in law doesn't make a decision without her.

    If you read this far thanks for letting me vent! I don't really need advice just an impartial third party to listen to me rant. :)

  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I feel your frustration. My mother in law (ex mother in law really but I am still close to exbonehead's family) knew nothing about the finances when my father in law passed 15 years ago. She went through the life insurance money in less than a year on buying sprees - new car, jewelry, shoes, lottery tickets (!), etc. She had to placed on a budget and naturally was not happy about it. I find it kinda sad that many woman of that generation (mostly parents of boomers) never knew the household finances and when they survive their husbands, they are totally in the dark.
  3. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Thankfully he barely had enough to bury himself or she would have blown it. She's the type that will drive 20 miles to save 50cents but will also take out a 7K loan and 22% interest over 10 years. And yes I am paying that loan after I refinanced it.
  4. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I don't know where you live, but in my area there are agencies for elderly/disabled that have background checked people to pay the bills for people like your mom. Maybe this would be an option to take you out of the whole situation. Also if you suspect financial abuse on the part of you sister in law, even if it is in small amounts, be sure to report to your local abuse hotline - many people do not know that the abuse hotline is not only for children but for elderly/disabled as well. This one action alone may rid you of the headaches of trying to balance the finances. What I don't think you should do it to pay any bills out of your pocket that she can't manage. This will only hurt you/your family in the long run and further foster dependance on the part of your mom. No money for food because she spent all the money? Take her to a food bank to get enough food for the month. You don't say, but I wonder if you can get mom to agree to PoA (power of Attorney) to be the only one able to write checks on the account. Maybe after a few trips to the food banks she would be ready to let you take over the accounts and give her enough cash for the rest of the month. Otherwise I would look for an outside agency. Look into the federal government agency, U.S. Administration on Aging, for links to your state resources.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I live in Washington State and she lives in Indiana with sister in law. I have my concerns but at this point mother in law backs sister in law up on the missing money. It's not because she is senile its because they are so codependent and have always passed money back and forth. The difference now is that mother in law is not holding all her cash and tracking when she gets paid back. sister in law is doing it through internet banking so mother in law doesn't understand it at all. I tried to convince mother in law to go to the bank and meet with the banker about 9 months ago when sister in law moved a lot of money in a short amount of time. None of that money ever came back into the account but mother in law swore they had worked it all out. She wouldn't go to the bank and talk to them about it.

    As for the food bank my mother in law is very stubborn she would simply drive to sister in law's house and demand to be fed. LOL We have been bailing both families out for years now. I finally put my foot down and told husband I would help her with money as long as it wasn't for the house. mother in law has a dog that pees all over the house and I refuse to put 10 more cents into that place until the dog is gone. That is the reason I refuse to help with the chair.

    In all honesty mother in law just needs to admit that she can't continue to live the way she is on the budget she has. She could be fine if she was in an apartment or an assisted living home. That way unexpected maintenance wouldn't come up or be an issue.
  6. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    It does not matter if you live in the same state, as long as you suspect financial abuse you can report it to that states Adult Protect Services. They will get to the bottom of it, not just what you mother in law says. (sorry earlier I thought it was your mom) Looking at your profile - you have so much stuff on your plate - I think you should absolutely abandon giving family any more financial help. You are just patching a never ending hole. I have a saying - "You a can teach someone something, but you can't do it for them" You have done what you can and you both need to stop worrying about mother in law - let the crap hit the fan - let whatever needs to happen, happen, and then and only then can you help to pick up the pieces. I find the following helpful "I wish I could but I can't" repeated as often as necessary until the other person understands they are not getting your help.
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    husband keeps thinking that I worry too much about it that it will all work out. Finally I sat down the other night and showed him her budget and he finally got it (atleast a little bit). Of course he then suggested we wait until Dec when she comes to visit to discuss it! I told him, fine but that means she wont be eating for the next three months. LOL Men!

    husband and I are both from the types of family that support their elders when they get older and need it. I'm not even irritated about the need to help I am irritated about sister in law not stepping in and helping mother in law make sound decisions. We have enough money we can and will help out its just that if things continue this way then we wont be able to. I really don't want sister in law adn mother in law thinking that whenever they make a booboo we are going to run in with a bandaid. Plus I don't want to keep putting a bandaid on a sinking ship and at this point it is a sinking ship. mother in law can only afford to keep her house so long as nothing goes wrong. She can't afford to make even simple repairs.