Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

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PlayingLife
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Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by PlayingLife » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:12 pm

I was with my mother this past weekend and before she left she asked me to borrow $1000 as she cannot pay her tax bill come April 15th.

Mom's Background:
She's 55, divorced and doesn't have a retirement plan in place or an emergency fund. She currently leases a vehicle and lives in a house where she pays rent to my grandmother. She has a good but not great job at a large company - job is stable. She has the option to live with her father for free, or at least find a 1 BR apartment that is less than what she is currently paying to live. My 33 year old brother has lived with her for 3 years and has been financially depending on her to support all living expenses. He additionally showed up with a dog two years ago that my mom is now paying for, and his girlfriend lives in the basement and mooches off the food and living expenses without contributing. My brother does have an hourly job in the mall, but has no financial maturity.

My background:
I'm 27 and live with my husband and we have no debt except for our mortgage and $9K on a vehicle which we plan to pay off next month. We have an emergency fund and are generally in good financial standing with solid jobs. Retirement funds aren't maxed out but 401K is for one of us, and we will be increasing additions this year.

Personal thoughts on what to do:
There are obviously a few things wrong here. At first I was (am) very angry with my brother, but I realize my mom's problem is that she refuses to demonstrate tough love to him, and allows him to drain her of her money. She also willingly took on the dog, and does not require any money from his nearly live-in girlfriend. She has always had the option to request more cash from him and/or move into a lower cost living environment. Giving her the $1000 will not treat the problem (as Dave Ramsey would say). I love my mom and we are very close; I don't want to see her suffer but I don't want her to come back a year from now asking for money because the core problem was not treated. I want to cave and give her $1000....another part of me wants to tell her to make a payment plan with the IRS which we will pay half of, only if she separates my brother from her financially, and moves in with her dad or downgrades. Now that I've been asked the question, there's no way out for myself emotionally. If I tell my mom to leave the house immediately, my grandma will get bad as she'll be stuck looking for a tenant. Plus my relationship with my brother will most likely get hurt. Not handing over the money will also most likely hurt my mom.....but giving her the money and seeing things not change will permanently damage relationships too.

Questions:
1. What would you do in this situation? Please don't lash out at my family because I understand what's happening here, but I would like to hear what you feel you would honestly do in my situation.

2. Has anyone been in this situation or can they relate?

3. Any other suggestions I may not be thinking of?

Can't tell you enough how much I appreciate your responses, thank you.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:26 pm

Here are the choices I see:

Give your mother all of your money and future earnings so that nobody else has to live within their means

Give her nothing and point out that all the moochers can chip in
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aprilcpa
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by aprilcpa » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:42 pm

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. I haven't and can't imagine going thru a situation like this.

Your mother can request an installment agreement with the IRS (form 9465) to pay her taxes. If it is for state taxes, I am sure they have a comparable arrangement.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by FelixTheCat » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:48 pm

A lot of people I know complain that they are "broke" even though they make far more than me. It seems to kill a conversation real quick. Don't be an enabler.

I suggest you mention to Mom that times are tough right now and you don't have the money. Suggest that the brother and his girlfriend start chipping in for rent. Another option is installment payments to the government.
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by LeeMKE » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:52 pm

Sorry to hear you are getting a learning experience that's so close to home. I would tell Mom no, and suggest she ask the IRS for an installment plan.

I've been here, and the first No is the hardest. After that, the co-dependent a) finds another source to become the new co-dependent, b) hits bottom and begins to realize they need to change something to avoid continuing the cycle of failure. Until they run out of co-dependents, their likelihood of making a change is very poor.
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Norris
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Norris » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:56 pm

You've already said the money will not treat the problem, so my advice, like Ramsey's, is tough love. You speak of your mother's "father". Is this man married to your landlord grandmother?

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by HongKonger » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:58 pm

What an awful predicament.

I think you already know that you will give the money to your mother.

I believe that with regards your brother, then he has already harmed your relationship by treating your mother this way resulting in her having to come to you like this (I can only begin to imagine how humbling it must be for her). Unfortunately, you need to front up and have words with him as uncomfortable as it will undoubtedly be.

What a toughie. So sorry you have to go through this.

TheRightKost87
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by TheRightKost87 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:01 pm

Fortunately I've never been in that type of pickle. You obviously know your family and the situation much better than I, so you can be the judge of whether this is decent advice:

I would start off with a conversation with your brother. Assuming he has some amount of common sense, he should realize that he (and his "friends" i.e. GF and dog) is costing your mother money, and money that she clearly can't afford if she is asking you for a loan. Is it possible he doesn't know the extent of the burden? If he knew that she asked you for money, would it make him think he's overstepping his bounds? And if he has some income, he should be able to at least partially alleviate the problem.

If that works, great. If he's stubborn to not pay his fair share, or is unable to, you can then talk to your mother again. Point out that he's taking her hospitality for granted and frankly taking advantage of her - and that there's no end to that in sight. Maybe this will give your mother a reason to begin to tighten the clamps on him.

You're correct that throwing $1000 at the problem won't make it go away, and you'll [she'll] be in the same spot (or worse) come tax time next year. However, I wouldnt expect this to change for the better overnight. Your brother may slowly begin chipping in, or she may slowly begin making less money available to him, but it'll take awhile to take hold.

If it were me I'd give her the $1000 now, let it be known that this is the last time I'd "save the day", and demand that the money be paid back from my brother, in a reasonable amount of time.
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dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:04 pm

I'm concerned about your mother and grandmother, not your brother and his girl friend.

I would tell your Mom about the installment payments for taxes, and at the same time address with her the mooching brother and girlfriend, pointing out that if they were contributing to the rent, she'd have far more than $1000 "extra." That would also possibly remove the concern about your grandmother not having a paying tenant if your mother goes to live with your grandfather.

If you give your mother the $1000, you are basically becoming another victim of your brother and his girlfriend.

I can't tell from your message if you have really addressed the mooching problem with your mother. I would put it in terms of you love her, you are there if she really needs you, but you are not supporting the moochers.

epitomist
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by epitomist » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:06 pm

I loaned my parents money a few times. No big deal, they always paid it back on time. If they didn't pay it back, no big deal either, they could consider it a gift.

They sometimes needed money because my mom would often give money to my deadbeat sisters. Makes no difference to me why they needed the money. It was my parents.

$1,000 is kind of a joke amount to practice "tough love" or tear your family apart over. I would loan it out and wouldn't lose a minute of sleep over it.

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bertie wooster
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by bertie wooster » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:09 pm

I don't think having a conversation with her older brother will be at all helpful. The mom is enabling his behavior and her actions are the problem - his actions are harmful no doubt, but not the crux of the problem. If mom is going to continue to enable him, then there is no point in the OP having a big "grow up" conversation with her brother.

OP - this is a tough situation. You'll probably end up giving your Mom some money but if you do set some limits. I think you should not get involved financially, but that's easy to say from way over here...

Good Luck!

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PaddyMac
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by PaddyMac » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:22 pm

Agree, this is a tough one, particularly if this is the first time your Mom has asked for help and you can see that she is under some distress. Only you can tell that.

I'll point out the obvious though: You are annoyed that Mom is too soft on your brother and is enabling him to be a moocher. If you go ahead and give your Mom a free pass this one time, you are doing the same thing - enabling her to mooch off you instead of making tough choices in regards to the brother.

If I were you, I would sit down with your Mom and help her make a budget. The reason she owes $1000 to the IRS is that she is living above her means. Perhaps she doesn't really see this clearly enough, and sitting down with a budget on paper might help her make a plan going forward. Only if she "gets it" and is willing to change the living arrangements going forward, would I be prepared to loan her the money. If she says she's worked out a budget, then ask to see it. She needs to meet you more than half way here.

PlayingLife
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by PlayingLife » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:15 pm

Thank you all for the responses, I really appreciate all the feedback in this not easy decision I will have to make.

Just to update on a few things asked:

- My mothers dad is not married to my grandmother who is the owner of the house my mother lives in.
- Unfortunately my older brother is not easy to speak with and is often very defensive when anything gets brought up. So I feel like I cant really say too much and its more my moms place to bring it up.
- I have expressed many times to my mom how I feel about the whole situation and basically all I get is "where or what is he gonna do" "I cant do that to my son/mother" just excuses which is why giving her the money bothers me.

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Wildebeest
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Wildebeest » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:05 pm

What a horrible situation to be in.

If I was in your shoes, I would imagine to give your mother the $ 1000 after making sure you and your spouse are on the same page . I would suggest, that in future you would be willing to cosign a loan with a credit union if she was in need in future. However that you would not be able to sign for anymore loans if there was a default.

If I were you, I would not offer any suggestions regarding her budgeting, your brother etc unless asked for however tempting. I would say, that the $ 1000 is more that you can afford at this time and you and your husband are stretched, which is the truth since you are not maxing out your retirement funds.

I wish you and your husband strength.

What is your husband's input?
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Josiecat » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:47 pm

Hi! I would GIVE (not loan) your mom whatever amount you can afford. If it's a few hundred dollars, then so be it. I would also let her know that this is the absolute LAST TIME you can assist her. There are TWO able bodied young people living in her house not paying what they should be. They can both get jobs.

Also, you mom can set up a payment play on the taxes.

After this, the answer is 'NO'.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:51 pm

Wildebeest wrote:I would suggest, that in future you would be willing to cosign a loan with a credit union if she was in need in future. However that you would not be able to sign for anymore loans if there was a default.
Where did this idea come from? I would not be cosigning for any loans. No doubt the entire amount of any loan would wind up being paid by the OP.

As to the brother's defensiveness, I think that is a tactic to avoid owning up to his problem. He has some income. He is chipping in zero for the rent, as is his girl friend.

This is a tough situation for the OP. In some ways it is like dealing with an alcoholic family member. The brother is behaving irresponsibly and the family is enabling him. Only if someone says No more is there any chance he will start behaving responsibility. It is a painful process for everyone.

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oncorhynchus
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by oncorhynchus » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:53 pm

Ordinarily I would say giving her a one-time gift of $500 and having her collect the rest from your brother.

However, in this case, it would only reinforce her enabling behavior towards your brother and her increasing attempts to emotionally manipulate you.

Refuse the request. And DO NOT cosign any loans.

If she's willing, help her set up a payment plan with the IRS and help her learn to better budget her money so that she can pay her taxes in the future.

o
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ralph124cf
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by ralph124cf » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:08 pm

If she owes taxes, then her W-4 may have been filled out in error. Please check this, she should not normally owe taxes at the end of the year. You might also check her tax return to see if there are any errors that might result in her owing less in taxes.

Worst case, she does not in fact owe taxes, and is using this excuse to get money from you.

Ralph

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by livesoft » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:11 pm

You write of "tough love" needed for your brother. It seems you need to practice "tough love" with your mother.

A family member of mine could not afford their dogs, so they gave them up.

Also your mother may be lying about needing $1000 to pay for her taxes.
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Herekittykitty » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:13 pm

I agree completely with dolphinsaremammals.

The answer to your mother is that you do not have the money.

Which is true. You and your husband manage money responsibly and likely budget with plans for each dollar coming in - and you do NOT have a budget category called "enabling relatives." I wouldn't go into all that with her - I would just say I don't have the money.

Which is exactly what I would say any time she asks for money. Otherwise you will be supporting not your mother's needs but her enabling behavior. Ultimately it would not be doing her any favors and in fact would be doing her harm.

And as far as cosigning on a loan for her - that would be just plain nuts. It would be enabling her enabling behavior and it would ruin your relationship with her because you would be turning her into your debtor and yourself and your husband into debt collectors. In addition - she wouldn't pay the payments and your credit would get trashed. So don't even let cosigning for her cross your mind.

As far as owing the IRS - the IRS will give her a payment plan. She just has to call them and they will tell her what she needs to do. She may want to consider increasing the amount coming out of her paycheck that goes to the IRS for 2015 so this doesn't happen to her again but I would let her figure this out for herself - or the IRS will tell her when she calls to get on a payment plan.

Sure things will be tighter around her place when she is on a payment plan with the IRS and giving the right amount from her paycheck for 2015 so this doesn't happen again. However she can do it should she choose to do it.

I would stay away from drama in this situation. Just tell her you don't have the money and that you don't want to discuss it further. If she or anyone else (such as the brother/moocher) bring up anything whatever about your finances - say you don't want to discuss it, and that they are not to bring it up again. If they try to - either hang up or walk away. Just let her know she can call the IRS and they will set up a payment plan. And that you are not going to discuss it further.

This is not going to be easy but it will get easier over time. It is the best thing you can do for her.
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Christine_NM
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Christine_NM » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:17 pm

I have (at least) two answers.

First, if Mom has given you any cash in your adult life, just give her back the $1000 and consider it repayment of the gift now that she needs it. (ETA - needs it or wants it -- Ralph above may be right about the worst case)

Of course, if you do this, she will return asking for more. I'd pay back to the extent she has given cash gifts in the past. Then I'd stop -- I am pretty cold blooded about money and would not have any trouble refusing her. Unless it meant she would be homeless or without care when she needed it -- that's a different story.

Second answer is, if she has never given you this amount of money, then say no and no co-signing loans either. Tell her about the IRS payment plan, so she knows this is not a huge catastrophe and the IRS will not put her in debtor's prison. And she knows that you know this is not a catastrophe. And tell her again to try to get some money out of the son if he continues to live with her.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:48 pm

The OP's mother does not own her home and works for a company. How did she end up with a $1,000 tax shortfall?

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Wildebeest
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Wildebeest » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:50 pm

dolphinsaremammals wrote:
Wildebeest wrote:I would suggest, that in future you would be willing to cosign a loan with a credit union if she was in need in future. However that you would not be able to sign for anymore loans if there was a default.
Where did this idea come from? I would not be cosigning for any loans. No doubt the entire amount of any loan would wind up being paid by the OP.
Since Wildebeests and dolphins are both mammals, I would have thought we had had better understanding.

Only cosign a loan in the $1000's dollar range, you can afford to loose.

The idea is the up the ante. Be nice and generous at first and then the next occassion set limits and if that does not work: "No More".

I do believe that the family unit of the OP and husband is much more important than the relationship with her mother and her brother, so I would do nothing without finding out what my spouse would be comfortable with.

I want to be generous with my parents, because my parents were very generous with me.

Wildebeest
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UncleBen
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by UncleBen » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:39 pm

Our family has the exact same dynamic. A dependent son, a co-dependent mother, and lots of mooching. Luckily, they are cheap and have no issues paying the bills. In our family, we've tried unsuccessfully to break up the co-dependent relationship many, many times. As disappointing as it is, they are all adults and you cannot change their behavior.

My tendency is to not participate by joining in as another enabler. But there are times when where you do have some loyalty to the parent and it's hard to stay out of the mix. If I was asked to loan mom $1000 for taxes I would first determine if this is the only issue. If so, I would probably loan it to her with the unspoken intent of it being a gift. I would make it clear that it is a one time event and explain that if DB & GF were paying only $500/month for food/rent/utilities she would not be in this dilemma. I would ask that in return she attend Dave Ramsey with me.

I have a suspicion though that this is only one symptom of the disfunctional relationship and budget. Are there escalating credit card bills, are the utility bills up to date, has mom co-signed loans for DB? If it's truly a $1000 problem, you may be able to help her but it may be a sign of a much bigger problem.

Also, very important - what is your husband's opinion regarding offering help?

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by ShiftF5 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:40 pm

I've been in a similar situation. Sorry your Mom is suffering this.

Mom is spending what little $$ she has for her son, his girlfriend, & his dog. Son is a mooch.

Mom will NOT discuss this with her son. Won't happen. Mom will even defend the son. Strange but true.

Someone else needs to have a "Tough Love" sit down talk with son without Mom there. "Gravy Train is Over"

Uncomfortable, difficult & 100% necessary.

The son will continue to bleed Mom dry until someone Stops Him.

Please Stop Him Now.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by UncleBen » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:54 pm

ShiftF5 wrote:I've been in a similar situation. Sorry your Mom is suffering this.

Mom is spending what little $$ she has for her son, his girlfriend, & his dog. Son is a mooch.

Mom will NOT discuss this with her son. Won't happen. Mom will even defend the son. Strange but true.

Someone else needs to have a "Tough Love" sit down talk with son without Mom there. "Gravy Train is Over"

Uncomfortable, difficult & 100% necessary.

The son will continue to bleed Mom dry until someone Stops Him.

Please Stop Him Now.
The problem is that son is not bleeding mom dry involuntarily. The nature of co-dependency is that she is getting something out of the relationship. The $$ she spends is worth whatever she is getting in return. (Probably companionship.) If anyone has the magic "tough love" words to make mom see the light, I'd love to hear what they are. And perhaps there's room for another Dr Phil on TV.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:19 pm

UncleBen wrote:The problem is that son is not bleeding mom dry involuntarily. The nature of co-dependency is that she is getting something out of the relationship. The $$ she spends is worth whatever she is getting in return. (Probably companionship.) If anyone has the magic "tough love" words to make mom see the light, I'd love to hear what they are. And perhaps there's room for another Dr Phil on TV.
The magic words is "No." No explanation or rationalization is necessary or helpful.

Some people could say them in this situation, and some people couldn't.

Good luck, OP!

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Carefreeap » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:57 pm

I'm surprised Grandmother hasn't complained about bro & gf.

I think there's another missing dynamic here which is that Grandmother is probably around 80 and needs some help. Is bro contributing in other ways besides financial?

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by UncleBen » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:14 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
UncleBen wrote:The problem is that son is not bleeding mom dry involuntarily. The nature of co-dependency is that she is getting something out of the relationship. The $$ she spends is worth whatever she is getting in return. (Probably companionship.) If anyone has the magic "tough love" words to make mom see the light, I'd love to hear what they are. And perhaps there's room for another Dr Phil on TV.
The magic words is "No." No explanation or rationalization is necessary or helpful.

Some people could say them in this situation, and some people couldn't.

Good luck, OP!
That's the problem. Normal people respect other people's boundaries and are able to establish their own by saying "NO". The brother is dependent and doesn't respect mom's boundaries. The mother is co-dependent and cannot establish and enforce her own boundaries. I have yet to see a 3rd party convince the co-dependent to say "NO" to the dependent in a mother/child scenario. I'm sure it's been done, but I haven't seen it.

OP can certainly say "no" to the loan because she is not dysfunctional (as far as we know :wink: ).

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by fposte » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:22 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
UncleBen wrote: If anyone has the magic "tough love" words to make mom see the light, I'd love to hear what they are. And perhaps there's room for another Dr Phil on TV.
The magic words is "No." No explanation or rationalization is necessary or helpful.
That's not going to make Mom see the light about her son, though.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:33 pm

UncleBen wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:
UncleBen wrote:The problem is that son is not bleeding mom dry involuntarily. The nature of co-dependency is that she is getting something out of the relationship. The $$ she spends is worth whatever she is getting in return. (Probably companionship.) If anyone has the magic "tough love" words to make mom see the light, I'd love to hear what they are. And perhaps there's room for another Dr Phil on TV.
The magic words is "No." No explanation or rationalization is necessary or helpful.

Some people could say them in this situation, and some people couldn't.

Good luck, OP!
That's the problem. Normal people respect other people's boundaries and are able to establish their own by saying "NO". The brother is dependent and doesn't respect mom's boundaries. The mother is co-dependent and cannot establish and enforce her own boundaries. I have yet to see a 3rd party convince the co-dependent to say "NO" to the dependent in a mother/child scenario. I'm sure it's been done, but I haven't seen it.

OP can certainly say "no" to the loan because she is not dysfunctional (as far as we know :wink: ).
I totally agree. But OP has no chance of changing everyone else's behavior and solving everyone else's problems, and I'm sure that OP realizes that. Change what you can and all that, you know.
fposte wrote:
Doom&Gloom wrote:
UncleBen wrote: If anyone has the magic "tough love" words to make mom see the light, I'd love to hear what they are. And perhaps there's room for another Dr Phil on TV.
The magic words is "No." No explanation or rationalization is necessary or helpful.
That's not going to make Mom see the light about her son, though.
I don't think there is the slightest chance that Mom doesn't already see the light about her son.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by JonnyDVM » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:43 pm

I would post on here not to give the money but I'm sure in the same situation I would cut my mom a check for $1000. Then I would ask my brother to meet me for lunch and tell him to quit being such a lazy worthless irresponsible explicative because he's bleeding our mother dry. Then when the check came I would make a smart ass comment about how I'm sure he's going to reach for it but its OK I got it this time. I'm sorry you are in this situation. I can't imagine myself not giving at least a one time bail out.
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by 555 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:03 am

The saying goes "If you give them an inch, they'll take a mile."
There are 63,360 inches in a mile.
So if you give them $1,000 they'll try to take $63,360,000!

Seriously now, I am very skeptical of the $1,000 needed for tax claim. Typical withholding from a regular job would yield a small refund. You can say that you are happy to provide financial advice (but definitely don't offer money) but that you'll need to see the W4, W2 and 1040 to figure out what's going on. Also give them some basic budgeting advice. Point out that they could easily save $1,000 in a year by saving $2.74 per day.

But just say no to any requests for money. Saying no is simple and easy.

PlayingLife
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by PlayingLife » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:20 pm

Thanks again all!

I found out that she had claimed my brother on her tax return as a dependent and then my brother turned around to file and was denied naturally. She also said that this was a mistake but the facts are she was issued a refund, spent the money on "bills" and now needs to pay the IRS back what she took.

Luckily, my husband is understanding to a point and wants to not just give over money but to help fix the problem. Unfortunately, I truly do not think my mother will change and I am very uncomfortable having to say no when I can help.

Does anyone know if I can access the amount of monthly installment payments to the IRS as I think this would be a better option then to hand over $1000.

gloomydog
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by gloomydog » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:36 pm

I would not give her the 1K if I were you. Tough to do, but it's past time your mom learned to be responsible.

Claiming your brother as a dependent when he's 33? Does he have a disability?

If you don't start with tough love now, the next 30 years will be very unpleasant. 1K is nothing, easy to pay off if she has the will.

555
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by 555 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:41 pm

Okay the $1000 debt is real. I think the IRS installment plan is best as it forces reduced spending to pay the debt. It just becomes another "bill". They can deal with this without your financial help. This will also give you more time to think about how you will handle future occurrences like this.

I'd suggest adopting a mindset where you think of "helping" and "giving money" as polar opposites.

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powermega
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by powermega » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:52 pm

I know it's an extreme example, but anyways... My in-laws enabled my brother-in-law in a classic dependent/co-dependent model. He died from a drug overdose when he was 30 years old, which was a surprise to nobody except my in-laws. This might not be the scenario in this case, but I generally think that the enabling/co-dependency problem only gets worse. It never gets better without some kind of "shock" to the arrangement.

I'm sorry about your predicament OP. I know it's very easy for some online poster like me to say to not help your mom out, but that it's another thing to actually not help your mother out like this. Good luck with this.
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by Carefreeap » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:03 pm

Fritch wrote:Thanks again all!

I found out that she had claimed my brother on her tax return as a dependent and then my brother turned around to file and was denied naturally. She also said that this was a mistake but the facts are she was issued a refund, spent the money on "bills" and now needs to pay the IRS back what she took.

Luckily, my husband is understanding to a point and wants to not just give over money but to help fix the problem. Unfortunately, I truly do not think my mother will change and I am very uncomfortable having to say no when I can help.

Does anyone know if I can access the amount of monthly installment payments to the IRS as I think this would be a better option then to hand over $1000.
Unfortunately you aren't going to "fix this problem". It's a situation between your mom and bro. So mom claimed bro and then backed off when bro's claim was denied? This is really between them. Getting involved means getting sucked into their money vortex. Ultimately things will fall apart and you'll be the bad guy. I've seen this play out with my family. Not pretty.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:55 pm

Was it the first time the mother filed her son as a dependent?
Who advised her to do so and what were their reasons?
If the situation was ambiguous, and the mother had a choice whether to file her son as a dependent or not, then she was trying to get back some money she's spent on him. In that case, it's the son's problem that he can't get a refund, not the mother's.

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by barefootjan » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:44 pm

Like I say to my kids, "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

Unless it was a gift given freely in the spirit of love & generosity, I would so not give the money. You don't have to fix anyone else's problems and you don't have to give money you don't want to give just because someone asked and you happen to have it.

There are ways of saying no that can minimize your discomfort. The "no sandwich" is one of them. This is taken directly from "the Art of Talking So that People will Listen" by Paul Swets:

"Since people sometimes associate a "no" with personal rejection, a "no sandwich" can help people "digest' your refusal with minimal negative feeling. It consists of three layers or statements. The first layer is the statement acknowledging what the other person wants you to do. it tells him that you have listened well and understand. The second layer or "meat' of the sandwich is your refusal or the reason why you will not or cannot comply with his wishes. The third layer is something you will do or can say to ease the sting of your refusal."

He goes on to give a couple of examples, such as:

1. I understand you want to borrow my car because yours won't start.
2. But I do not let others drive my car.
3. I have some extra time and will be happy to drive you to your appointment.

For #2, perhaps you can simply say that you're uncomfortable with the idea, or, that you & your husband have a policy of not loaning money to family. You could even be 100% honest and say something like,'Gee, you've really put me on the spot here mom. I'd love to help you out, but this whole situation makes me angry and frustrated. From my perspective - and you can correct me if I'm wrong - you don't seem to want to speak up & set firm limits with ___________ (insert brother's name, gf's name, whatever). But you have no problem asking me for help! I'm sorry, but that just doesn't seem fair to me.'

well, you get the gist. :P

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by trueblueky » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:05 pm

Fritch wrote:Thanks again all!

I found out that she had claimed my brother on her tax return as a dependent and then my brother turned around to file and was denied naturally. She also said that this was a mistake but the facts are she was issued a refund, spent the money on "bills" and now needs to pay the IRS back what she took.

Luckily, my husband is understanding to a point and wants to not just give over money but to help fix the problem. Unfortunately, I truly do not think my mother will change and I am very uncomfortable having to say no when I can help.

Does anyone know if I can access the amount of monthly installment payments to the IRS as I think this would be a better option then to hand over $1000.
Brother had a mall job, so he likely he made more than $3900, so mom can't claim him. With some details, it's possible she could claim GF. Did she live in the basement all 12 months, make less than $3900, and receive more than half her support from mom?

+1 to getting budget training for mom. Leasing a vehicle is not typically the least expensive option. You point out that she has better housing options; she needs to look at that in her budget. I do budget counseling. The easy steps are track your spending, make a budget, plug money leaks. The hard steps involve changing mindset.

2comma
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by 2comma » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:30 pm

barefootjan wrote:Like I say to my kids, "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

Unless it was a gift given freely in the spirit of love & generosity, I would so not give the money. You don't have to fix anyone else's problems and you don't have to give money you don't want to give just because someone asked and you happen to have it.

There are ways of saying no that can minimize your discomfort. The "no sandwich" is one of them. This is taken directly from "the Art of Talking So that People will Listen" by Paul Swets:

"Since people sometimes associate a "no" with personal rejection, a "no sandwich" can help people "digest' your refusal with minimal negative feeling. It consists of three layers or statements. The first layer is the statement acknowledging what the other person wants you to do. it tells him that you have listened well and understand. The second layer or "meat' of the sandwich is your refusal or the reason why you will not or cannot comply with his wishes. The third layer is something you will do or can say to ease the sting of your refusal."

He goes on to give a couple of examples, such as:

1. I understand you want to borrow my car because yours won't start.
2. But I do not let others drive my car.
3. I have some extra time and will be happy to drive you to your appointment.

For #2, perhaps you can simply say that you're uncomfortable with the idea, or, that you & your husband have a policy of not loaning money to family. You could even be 100% honest and say something like,'Gee, you've really put me on the spot here mom. I'd love to help you out, but this whole situation makes me angry and frustrated. From my perspective - and you can correct me if I'm wrong - you don't seem to want to speak up & set firm limits with ___________ (insert brother's name, gf's name, whatever). But you have no problem asking me for help! I'm sorry, but that just doesn't seem fair to me.'

well, you get the gist. :P

Good luck with whatever you decide!
I really like option #2, probably because it sounds like the truth.

No emergency fund and no retirement seems like the elephant in the room to me but maybe she hopes inheriting from her mom and her dad will be her salvation.

A wise person once told me that you shouldn't let family treat you any differently than you would allow anyone else to treat you. If you don't approve of your mother allowing her adult son to take advantage of her, and you've made your views known, you are not obligated to contribute to the situation. I know that's not what a lot of us were brought up to believe but there are plenty of situations where it the appropriate response is not "common knowledge".
If I am stupid I will pay.

saladdin
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by saladdin » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:42 am

I wouldn't believe the mother needed 1k for taxes until I say the bill.

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TxAg
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by TxAg » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:56 am

I don't recall seeing this mentioned in any of the above posts, but have you discussed this with your husband? You are married...you're obligation is to your husband (and he to you) not your mother.

Personally, my wife and I have said that if anyone ever asks us for money then it is only fair for them to open their entire finances to us. I refuse to be taken advantage of.


Edit: I see where tou state your husband is on board. Looks like a done deal.
Last edited by TxAg on Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

stan1
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by stan1 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:01 am

I would help her adjust her withholding (and probably give her $1,000 this year).

IPer
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by IPer » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:07 am

Give your mother $223.46 and have a little chat with her when you drop off the check about the brother's
girlfriend and chipping in and get the heck away for a year or whenever you need to touch bases, personally.
Unfortunately some of us have family that we must avoid, especially on certain levels, in order to not kill or
degrade ourselves too much. This is not fair, just the way it is.
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IPer
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by IPer » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:09 am

TxAg wrote:I don't recall seeing this mentioned in any of the above posts, but have you discussed this with your husband? You are married...you're obligation is to your husband (and he to you) not your mother.

Personally, my wife and I have said that if anyone ever asks us for money then it is only fair for them to open their entire finances to us. I refuse to be taken advantage of.


Edit: I see where tou state your husband is on board. Looks like a done deal.
Sorry, I would also put this advise a bit higher up than the suggestion I gave, your husband should agree with your course of action and
perhaps the books should be opened (that part not sure you really want to get into though, it is definitely NOT your job and might cause
more grief than getting what it should accomplish done). I still say give $223.46, drop a comment, and get the heck outta there!
Read the Wiki Wiki !

IlliniDave
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:42 am

My thoughts are that you should give (not "loan") your mom the money while trying to impose the condition she would take the option to live with her dad for free, and let your brother, the dog, and the girlfriend fend for themselves. Or at minimum boot the freeloaders/make them 2/3 the household expenses. Trust me, I understand that it is emotionally complicated, but you mom needs to be focusing all her financial energy on her eventual retirement.

Also, I'm sort of in a similar position to you (although it's a child not a parent). One of the steps I have taken is to jack up my savings rate to the max I can sustain to guard against the eventuality that at some point I'm inclined to cave and serve as a safety net in the future, despite my present tough love stance.
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by SC Hoosier » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:02 am

I would offer to write a check to the IRS for her if, and when, she meets the following demands:
  • Move in with her father, without your brother and his entourage.

    Begin attending Financial Peace University

    Show you a written budget and show evidence of following it.

    Cut the financial cord with your brother
Hoosier
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Re: Mom seeking financial help - what to do?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:06 am

IPer wrote:I still say give $223.46, drop a comment, and get the heck outta there!
Is $223.46 a random amount, or you calculated it based on the information from this thread? {curious}

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