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PSA Social Security Mistake

March 27th, 2024 at 06:04 am

Public service announcement.  It turns out you can make mistakes for social security.  My mom found out the hard way.  For the past 10 years my mom has said "oh it doesn't matter that I collected social security at age 62.  I have enough and I'll get your dad's when he passes."  So my dad passed this month (see prior note) and my mom immediately told SS so she could get his social security.

Turns out she can't.  Or rather turns out it's not worth it.  She got really bad advice 10 years ago in 2014.  They told her taking her own social security 10 years ago was more than talking 50% of my dad's social security.  He waited until full retirement age to take it in 1995.  The problem?  While he got the maximum amount in 1995, it still was substantialy less than in 2024.  Why?  Inflation.  The person starting at full retirement age in 2024 would be able to collect at FRA $3822, if you wait until age 70 it is $4873.  

So my mom took her's at 62 with a penalty at 82.5% of hers.  That was still more than 50% of my dad's in 2014.  But the winning formula would have been to taken my dad's social security and let hers ride to age 70.  Then it would have built up a lot.  She also would have started in 2021 and it would have been really high.

So reading online, people say that the people at social security are not financial planners.  They just look at the benefits at that moment. They were correct that iwas more for her to take hers.  But she was part of the donut hole of people who could collect off their spouse and suspend theirs. 

So don't listen to the people in Social Security.  Do the cost benefit analysis yourself.

dad's passing

March 7th, 2024 at 05:51 am

Again warning please don't read if you don't want to hear about death.

So my dad passed away this morning between the hours of 4 am - 6 am.  My mom finally went to bed at around 4 am.  She was exhausted after sitting with him pretty much all times.  She really wanted to be there holding his hand for his last breathe.  But she just couldn't stay up 24/7. 

But also my dad had transitioned to the hospice definition of "imminent" on Friday morning.  My mom called me on Thursday that my dad had stopped eating and drinking anything and she was worried. So after just getting back I jumped on the plane Friday morning.  He was asleep when I arrived, but she said he smiled when she told him Friday morning.  I believe he reacted when I touched him Friday afternoon and said I was back.  

He survived the weekend until early this Wednesday morning.  I'm not sure how or why but I think my mom wasn't ready to let him go and he was waiting for her to leave his side. I don't think my mom slept much since Thursday.  And I think my dad was waiting for her to not be with him before he passed.  

My dad's end of life was very long and draining process. It was hard watching him deteriorate this past year and not really able to judge how he was doing.  I would say that by Christmas he was very unable to comprehend seeing us except for brief moments.  But since February he was declining quickly it appeared by becoming most immobile and non-verbal.  I knew saying good by at Christmas that was the last time I would really talk to my dad and say I love you.  

But I came back because my mom couldn't be alone.  So I came back and I'm glad to be here with her.  It'll be hard but we'll see what happens.  They managed to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and while she's taking it hard, I know she'll be okay eventually.  Gotta enjoy life before it runs out. 

"No amount of money bought another second of time."  No matter what we all wish.  Sometimes we get so focused on money and getting to the endgame we forget to enjoy the journey along the way.  And the journey is the best part.

the transition stage

February 27th, 2024 at 09:51 pm

I apologize in advance for writing about death.  Please skip if you do not want to hear. 

So yesterday the hospice nurse came and put my dad on transition.  That means she said he has another 10-14 days.  She wasn't quite sure he was there since he's doing quite "well".  He's definitely starting the decline, but death is something hard to predict.  Also things can take a turn for the worse quickly and he could go into "imminent" death.  I decided I'm going home today for a few days to wrap up stuff and then come back.  I am debating buying my ticket Sunday night or Monday.  Fortunately my aunt decided to come sit with my mom or the weekend Friday to Sunday so she won't be alone. I also told my mom that if my dad stops eating completely, which is it eating if it's mush?  Then I'll turn around and come back because it will be imminent.  The hospice nurse is coming now three days a week, she only allowed them once a week.

It's also hard because my mom can't decide what she wants to do.  She wants to do nothing I think.  But then that's her speaking in the now.  The now being while he's alive and she says she wants nothing.  But after is that how she will really feel?  Also maybe because it's a small town there is one mortuary in town.  And they often take 3-4 weeks to get the body ready or cremated.  It's just the nature of the town.  So I know my mom says she wants nothing but then when pushed she's like "oh I guess a few family and friends."  Then when I tell her the truth that I won't be bringing the kids back during the school year for a weekend, she gets upset.  But the reality is that if she does want to do something before the summer then it'll be too difficult for them to come for 2-3 days.  I'll come like I do now for a couple of days, but otherwise we will do our normal summer trip.  We will not be coming for Christmas or February break since we already booked a trip at that time.  I will likely sneak a trip back to see my grandmother after the summer but it'll be short and just me.  

Something I've learned that during these times the amount of money spent is finite.  The end game happens and it doesn't matter afterwards because the person is gone.  The help you get is amazing.  I am thankful to all the wonderful friends who have supported me and helped with carpooling.  The clients and friends who accomodated their schedule to allow for flexible work.  And of course my DH.  Trying his best to manage everything and holding donwn the fort.  I hope he doesn't die trying.

thoughts on death

February 24th, 2024 at 08:22 am

I am writing this as I came home for the weekend to see my parents.  I have a feeling this could be it for my dad.  I've certainly felt this way since we left on NYD.  I picked this weekend because it was the first we had free and I usually have been timing my visits about 8 weeks apart.  

I flew in today and the current plan is to fly out Tuesday on the red eye home.  But my gut is telling me my dad was waiting for me to come say good and tell him okay I'm here to support my mom you can go.  Last night my mom says he told her he's going to die soon, in his minute of lucidity.  He has dementia and is rarely awake. I've been here the afternoon and he's only opened his mouth to eat, I fed him, but he didn't open his eyes and he didn't say my name.

I didn't want to tell my friends or husband why I thought I was coming because it sounds really stupid to be able to predict death.  I read the hospice book gone from my sight and I can definitely see changes.  But it's strange how my dad has been able to hang on.  It seems unreal to be honest.  To be surviving this barely eating, barely awake but still here, mostly in a comatose state.  But seeing him makes me wonder does he last another 2 months like this?  I can't understand how but it doesn't appear like he's fading very fast.

I'll see if I change my tickets.  

caring for the caregiver

July 20th, 2023 at 06:59 am

My uncle was told today that the cancer spread to his chest, back, and lymph nodes.  Not surprising since when we were last there a couple weeks ago he had trouble getting up and moving.  When I saw him I thought to myself he's not going to last much longer.  Well the Dr said chemotherapy might help but unsure.  

My mom really wants to go in and just talk to him in person.  He called her and told her he was afraid.  Afraid of dying yet in pain.  My mom I know is very sad and afraid of being alone.  My dad is slipping away in a different manner.  His bad days outweigh his good.  He is getting more confused. 

My uncle is 74 and fully cognizant.  He understand what is happening.  When my uncle passes I'm sure my aunt whom he's been married to for 53 years will pass soon after.  She also is not well.  And my mom will be alone with my dad.  While my aunt and uncle haven't been physically helping my mom, they have been emotionally there for her these past months just listening and letting her vent or have something to do (cooking and dropping meals for them as she cooks solo).  Unfortunately they both are unable to cook anymore.  They've always been there for her from teaching her about her first checking/savings account.  To offering money so she could get divorced and not work a second job because I needed her.  To hand me down in clothing and baby goods (probably why I was a tomboy!)  

I know that she wants a few moments to sit and chat reminisce and just be.  Unfortunately my dad is not able to do that.  So she can drive by and drop food and go to the door for a minute while my dad sits in the car.  

I thought when I booked my tickets last month that going back a month later wouldn't be worth it.  I wasn't sure but I felt like I hadn't had enough time with my mom.   And now I know I was right.  She has tried a new caregiver, the last one got sick right before I came.  She managed to hire someone today and tried them out.  It didn't go well.  

But I am pushing for her not to stop.  To keep trying to have the person come and maybe my dad will accept and be used too.  The truth is she needs help now.  This is a short term thing.  Caring for the caregiver is sometimes just as important as the patient.  My mom thinks I'm coming to help with my dad.  Truth is that my dad is slowly slipping away unable to recognize even me.  He doesn't recognize the kids or their names.  But she needs us more than he does.

Hugs to all caregivers out there.  Realize that you are appreciated and that there are others hoping to help you.  Take it.

Happy Holidays and a long catch up

December 21st, 2022 at 07:08 pm

I just peeked and saw the last time I posted was beginning of November.  A lot has happened since then and I haven't been online much.  I've been exhausted with everything.

I went to see my parents over Veteran's day weekend.  My mom asked and I obliged.  Thankfully I went home because my dad ended up in the ER that Sunday before I left from being impacted and in terrible pain. I managed to carry him into a wheelchair and into the car and to the ER.  My mom couldn't have done it and they were in no way ready to have my dad be immobile.  That weekend I managed to get a wheelchair ramp ordered, hospital bed, and internet installed.  Fortunately my kids were off Friday for veterans day and they were all sick so they all stayed home and skipped all activities.  I ended up staying to wednesday but my DH was desperate for me to come back, he was struggling with work and the kids.  I depended on others to help me which is not how I usually do things.

Things have been a bit difficult since.  I've pushed my mom to hire help and she has someone occasionally.  She's exhausted and unwilling to consider someone to help at night.  But we returned again this past weekend and I'm watching my dad all day as my mom went to the dr.  He is pretty wheelchair bound and bedridden. And this past weekend before i got here Monday, again went to the hospital for the same thing.  

We are staying through the new year.  When I bought the tickets this summer I hemmed and hawed over the costs. If I returned before new years the ticket prices were substantially cheaper.  But with the way the new year's fall it is ridiculously expensive until about the 1/4 and the kids and DH go back to work and school.  So DH and DK1 are going back on 1/1 and DK2 and I are staying until 1/5.   I am glad we're staying.  Yes it's expensive but I told my friends i'm in the endgame.

I bought my tickets back for february without DH and the kids.  They'll be off for a few days and DH can work from home and not worry about school or activities.  The truth is that no matter what I pay now for tickets home or buying stuff this is short term.  I am doubtful my dad will be here next holidays but I'd love to be wrong.  

People hate suzy orman but she always tells called "people first then money."  I always agreed but until now I never really lived or felt it.  Now I feel like yes I need to be prudent, but at the same time I have spent my life being prudent. I have spent my life being frugal and watching every penny.  But now I need to stop saving at the rate I've always saved at and spend it so that I can enjoy and help my parents at this end stage. It's not forever and it's not something that is a continually money drain.  This is short term and something that will end.

I am grateful about our ability to cover these expenses.  But I've really come a long way to realizing that money isn't everything.  Saving and planning isn't everything. That sometimes goals fall the wayside and life happens because you can't control everything. I'm a planner, saver, and overal meticulous record keeper. I'm also naturally frugal.  But in the position i'm in I can't do it all.  And something has to give.  To me it's money.  I'll make more and if we have to work 2 months more then so be it.

belated father's day

June 21st, 2022 at 08:30 pm

So I managed to snag a quick phone call with my dad.  We see him tomorrow so my parents were busy prepping the house.  So I figured he'll get his card and I have no idea about the gift.  

DH got nothing for father's day but a hugely relaxing day of sleeping in.  We didn't even go out to eat.  We had so many leftovers from stuff we finished it and I promised him dinner Monday.  Monday I picked up sushi and he didn't even have to leave the house again along with the kids.  My suspicion is that it was fabulous for him to work and not even leave.  

Happy father's day out there to all the wonderful men enjoying their families.  Reading about how many people miss their dads, I tear up hoping I have a few more years with mine.  

Last month my dad fell and fortunately did not break anything.  But it seemed like it was a sign that he's deteriorating fast.  I should not be upset he's 91 years old.  But I think that because of his age I feel like he's going to live forever and perhaps that's the wrong thing to think.  It's incredible that you blink and realize that your parents have aged but how is it possible?  

Yet on zoom with my in-laws whome we haven't seen in person in 3 years said our DK1 looked really old.  And I realized that my tween was 9 the last time they saw her.  My in-laws don't seem older but I'm sure in person I might have a different opinion. I hope that we see them this summer.

generation X made for this

April 10th, 2020 at 11:00 pm

I read all these articles talking about how generation Xers have been made for this moment. Staying at home, doing nothing. That we were born and raised to it. Truth. It was funny they called us the least parented generation. We were the kids raised latch key because women were either going to the workforce or they were getting divorced and going back to work.

We were the generation of kids who rode the bus, made a snack, did our homework, often did laundry, helped with dinner, etc. We just knew how to do everything. Funny I'd forgotten what it was like but really that was us. As a generation we were independent and content to be at home alone. To be home and solo. We knew how to entertain ourselves without internet. We watched a lot of tv sure but we did a lot of other stuff too. Even now I see fellow generation Xers relaxing and talking about how this reminds them of then.

And further? We now have to yell at our boomer parents. I write this because I have been arguing with my boomer mother about how she had to go out today to drop off her taxes to get done. Why? I said stay home. She said I have to go out everyday to get the paper. I said order it. I said I'll order it. NO she says. I need to go out grocery shopping. Unable to stay at home, feeling confident and honestly not "old" these boomers are more vibrant than past generations. They don't feel "old". They don't feel like they should be part of the "danger" group.

If I could slap my head I would. But for everyone out there arguing with their parents I feel your pain! Ugh this is the only place I can vent I feel. That and my DH who is also venting a bit at his parents. But they don't feel old or in need of sheltering. They feel great and healthier than ever.

Going into probate and vultures

August 4th, 2016 at 10:46 pm

I have to say seeing people become vultures about money is disgusting. I haven't had to see it up close and personal until now how people behave about money. How money really can be the root of all evil. How desiring money can lead people to behave poorly.

Uncle J passed away and the funeral was over the weekend. DH went down to support his dad as his dad requested. We decided I wouldn't go because it was too long and leaving my mom with the kids at the last minute seemed like a bad idea. We'll be there tomorrow anyway less than a week later for DH's work.

My MIL, DH's other uncle, a cousin and her daughter, 2 ex wives, and other people were at the house cleaning and looking for a will. My in-laws are divorced. Anyway my MIL picks up DH at the airport with BIL and proceeds to lecture him in the car ride about behaving properly. As soon as they arrive at Uncle J house MIL lays into FIL and they argue. Ends with my DH telling her she's obnoxious, overbearing, shut up and leave. She turns around and yells at him. Boy am I glad I wasn't there. Anyway a will hasn't been found and she makes the comment "at least this way FIL will get what he deserves." And that FIL is expending $x on the funeral and other expenses and maybe he'll be able to recoup it. Yes in the midst of the mourning my MIL is being this crass.

She's not the only one. The cousin who came said she had been asked to be the executor and had come to see the will. But that she hadn't signed any papers potentially because Uncle J hadn't finished doing it. He was 68 so the death from heart attack was unexpected.

He was a nice guy. He always wrote me an email on mine and he kids birthdays. He gave us very nice presents and just kept in touch. He was really thoughtful. A hoarder, eccentric but I thought him nice. We were going to have dinner with him this week. I am disturbed at how callous and money grubbing my MIL and other family members are. My DH and his brother said they wanted NOTHING. They had to prevent people from trying to take the gold rolex and other jewelry off the property.

Uncle J was twice divorced and without children. He died single as well. So his heirs as I understand it are his 3 siblings, none of whom reside in the US and DH's dad being the closest in area and geographical distance. DH and BIL both living in US but DH only one with citizenship and BIL on visa. So I guess we're going to probate.

But his dad asks for advice and doesn't take it. I can't take having them call and not listen to simple instructions like call social security. Call X, Y, Z. I get a lot of response like "can you do it? Why do I have to? What is going on?"

I bet people wouldn't be so damn interested if the property Uncle J owned wasn't worth 7 figures. And I bet people might not have even shown up.

If anything this just make me more cognizant that I need to get our affairs in order. DH and I are going to likely be the executors of our parents estates and we likely have to have the talk that they have wills. I know mine do somewhat they are constantly it seems working on it. I'm not sure about my in-laws.

I wish people would stop arguing and just go away. I also realize the problems that arise from dying without a will.

A rough couple of months

July 23rd, 2016 at 05:26 am

Death comes in threes. So it's been a rough couple of months. A lot tonight has been feeling some regret. DH and I moved to be closer to our families. We always felt that being so far away we couldn't visit. So we moved. It really has made a difference.

Anyway DH's grandmother passed away in early June, she was 94. His dad and uncle went and spent the month back home. We had discussed going this past year when DH wasn't working but we thought it was too expensive because of the lack of income. And now we have regrets. I told DH to go but he was feeling stress over the job hunt and in the midst of landing his job.

Anyway my uncle also passed at the end of June. My dad really wanted to go but with the time difference and how fast they did the funeral he didn't make it. Instead my parents will do the 100 day celebration after death. Fortunately my parents had gone to visit him in March. Our thoughts were to go to both places next summer we had been planning this trip from last year.

We thought it would make more sense after DH got a job and settled in and we knew our finances. We'd have time and money. Turns out we'll have money and not enough time. It's going to cost us likely $15k-20k next summer. $2k tickets, another $2k hotels, and everything else.

Then just a day ago DH's uncle passed away. DH just came back from visiting his parents with the kids on Wednesday and his dad called us to say Uncle J died. He was happy they had managed to spend June together and travel. They flew back on July 5th together so he enjoyed the time together.

We were supposed to see him in June but he had gone back for his mom's funeral. So we had been emailing and had made arrangement to see him and stay in August when we went back. Now instead DH's dad is flying down probably this week to take care of all the arrangement. Uncle J has no kids and currently wasn't married. He was married 3x. We enjoyed seeing him and he loved seeing us and the kids. He was supposed to have come at Thanksgiving but instead went home so he said maybe September/October. Actually he had plans to come this summer before everything happened. We typically saw Uncle J once a year on our annual trip. He was 67.

I guess it's melancholy. That we've made these plans and feel like we've missed a window. We weren't able to before because the flights were so long and we weren't sure we wanted to with the kids being so small. Then we moved without a job and didn't feel right spending so much on a trip. The same thing happened when we got married. The year we got married DH's 2 grandfather's passed away right before they could come to our wedding.

FWIW we decided next summer we are taking one trip to Asia to see family. We're going to see DH's grandma and extended family and my Dad's family. This will likely be perhaps the only trip before people pass away. It's funny we moved to be closer to our families and now we have seen them a LOT more. And now we even had an opportunity to see the extended family as we'd hoped and it's to late.

And our dog this week relapsed with cancer. He's on his last few months i guess. It's hard to accept and harder still to know that we don't have much time. We can't board him anymore which is another reason traveling this year has been limited to driving. We just can't fly or leave him anywhere. So that was another stupid reason why we didn't want to travel this year.

Ugh it's been a difficult summer.

The good, the bad, the ugly

July 15th, 2016 at 06:44 pm

Lots of news of all sorts. Good news is I saved another $20 on our trip to hawaii by checking prices. The one way ticket dropped to $199 and I called the airlines and got $20 on each of 3 tickets credited back to me. Sometimes it pays to price check.

Second I took my car in for a an oil change and found that I might need new calipers $900 repair. However I took it to the dealership instead for a free 40 point check and they recommended instead just replacing the rotors for $370. They also said they would price match any other deal ad and would replace for just the cost of parts the burnt out lightbulbs. I found a local dealer with a deal for brakes for $199 so I'll get the work done potentially for $250 instead of $900.

The bad news? Well my auto insurance went up to $1400 for 6 months for 2 cars and 2 drivers. I was paying $700 so the price doubled. We are bad drivers. DH has two accidents and I had my first ever accident in January. As you know he's had many accidents, but until I had one we were forgiven for 1 of his accidents. Ugh, now I may shop around for better deals. I might also raise the deductible from $500 to $1000. Of course they said one of his accidents comes off in Janaury so we'd be back to $700 for 6 months. Yes sometimes I think about my DH not driving but he won't give it up. And I realize me typing that as the most recent person to have an accident is ironic. But right now we have to many other things to deal like starting a new job and figuring out a commute, where to live, and budget/taxes to resolve the issue.

The ugly? Well we were supposed to see a friend who was visiting her family nearby and meet her new baby and other kids. But her dad unexpectedly passed away a few days before she flew in. It was awful since he lived alone and she hadn't heard from him so her aunt called and said she hadn't heard from him in a week so they drove out and found him passed away. It was awful because she supposed to have come around the holidays but she didn't because her job asked her to come back early from maternity leave and she felt obligated to do so. Her dad hadn't had the chance to meet her 3rd child yet. We connected over the phone and she expressed regret over not just coming and screwing the job. Ugh.

Sometimes it's so hard to know the right decision. And it's worse yet to know that money drives most of our decisions but how can we know if it's the right decision? I guess this is why we work and save. So we can make the best decision we feel without the pressure of finances. I just am going to promise myself we are going to try to become Financially independent as soon as possible.

parents part 2

May 24th, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Talking more with my parents, my mom is extremely uncomfortable with sharing any details of their finances. I am trying to steer her to buying proper home and auto insurance and I'd really like to know they have a proper will. I'm not being snarky nor greedy, which since I'm bothering her I'm being accused of. Trust me we don't need the money. Everything is coming out defensive.

But my mom admitted that they have no idea who they bought their auto or home insurance because the broker is a personal friend. And they continued with them and the way it works is if they were in an accident they would call the broker and he would deal with the insurance company. Well that's changed now and the broker is now the "son" and they really don't do that anymore.

Now she has to deal with an insurance company for the home insurance policy and it's not a big company. It's not well known and I'm not even sure what sort of coverage they bought. I'm fretting now because my mom has no idea what they bought for auto except it's some shady small name auto insurance.

It's hellacious. I'm struggling because I am going to guess my parents who are using the same "family" friend accountant and lawyer, honestly I'm not sure how competent either of my parents are at this point financially.

My mom is constantly talking about dropping off books at the accountant and they owed money this year. She can't understand why when they've never owed before. Then they were updating their wills.

The fact is that when it comes to money my parents have always been bad at money. They probably could have been millionaires multiple times over but didn't because of the way they spent and handled money. The truth is they are still invested in C shares of mutual funds if I had to guess.

When I ask questions I always get I don't know or I'm not sure or we don't have it answers. I feel like I'm banging my head on the wall.

I plan on going in August and perhaps just digging into the paperwork once and for all. My mom has boxes of files of CRAP. Nothing is organized. She has no idea what an insurance policy looks like. She has no idea what their taxes look like really. She signs papers and my dad has no idea either.

They still carry a mortgage on their condo because some IDIOT told them the deduction was worth it. It's NOT!!!!! But do they listen to me? Nothing.

I talked to my DH and his answer was that I just need to wait until my dad passes and then deal with all the shitstorm then. At that point I'll be in hell and spend months just going through everything and untangling everything and probably fixing it at that time. He called it a shitstorm and said it's not going to be pretty. He knows my parents and I'd say likes them a lot.

But dealing with my parents and money is one of the ugliest situations. The fact that I'll be having to figure out even when my dad gets sick what to liquidate and where the money is gives me a headache now. I just want to cry because truthfully I feel like they should try to get some of this taken care of now.

But I know part of it is embarrassment. Embarrassment they've let it get to this. That they are of the generation of people who were "people/brand/company" loyal.

And yes I know they are secure. My mom has a pension and SS and IRAs. My dad has SS and tons of IRAs and investments, he's still working at 85 and was forced at 70 to start RMD which they stashed away in more investments. Paid for home and should be paid off condo.

But I'm uncertain about insurance, wills, and cash positions in case of liquidity. I'm also unsure if my mom is the beneficiary properly and if everything is jointly titled. And because it was a second marriage they kept many things separate and not joint.

Please tell me this sort of hiding behavior about money is normal. That everyone goes through this with their parents. That prying information out of their hands will be when they are dead and cold. Do people know their parents circumstances? How do you help your parents manage when they have enough but have no idea what they are doing with it?

How to help your parents?

May 24th, 2016 at 12:10 am

I'm at an awkward age of wanting to help my parents but them being cognizant of what's going on and refusing. I hate the fact that in our society we aren't allowed to be transparent about money. I hate the fact that we have to "hide" until death how we spend and what we save.

My parents are absolutely the worse. The pieces they reveal make me upset and it's never revealed until it's too late. I am writing this under tremendous stress and guilt because I just don't know how far to let this go on or what to do or how to push. My DH handles his parents and I handle mine. We decided this long ago and said we would never interfere with the in-laws. So it's entirely on me. Neither parents should need financial help but mine in particular are very, very bad with money in many, many ways. Background they are 64 and 85 and my mom has a pension and my dad still works. Money is not an issue for them, hence why my mom constantly uses the phrase "i don't ask for money so don't ask or tell me what to do."

Until the crap hits the fan. My parents condo they owned flooded and they have the worse condo insurance and my mom and dad have no understanding of how insurance works. They lived in a small town and bought insurance from a broker who sold them a policy. My mom's copy is apparently from 2008 and they have no idea who the insurer is and no electronic copy to send me.

I have tried to set up electronic accounts for some banking and retirement stuff so I can periodically track stuff and help when issues arise. Well now I'm in a pickle. My mom has been working with the adjuster whose screwing her over and she's taking it and crying (yes literally crying over it on the phone) that they didn't buy enough insurance, she has no idea who the insurer is and the other party is refusing to pay.

So they have a $25k policy and the people above their unit washing machine broke and their insurance company is refusing liability. When I questioned my mom and explained it like a car accident she said that's all they get. She's not sure what to do and keeps talking about how they have to pay out of pocket. I questioned how are they getting money from the insurance company when the adjuster says it's a curtesy claim and not going against her policy.

I'm also worried now that my parents have used this friend for years and have no idea what sort of home insurance they have on their primary residence.

In case you were wondering I also have no idea where their wills are or how anything is set up. I honestly am not sure my parents are really savvy to set anything up. They tend to listen to other people and make bad financial decisions. Thankfully they've always outearned stupid and been high wage earners and never overspend.

I ended up asking them to fire their financial planner over 15 years ago when I found out my parents were invested entirely in C shares of mutual funds with Merrill Lynch. They refused because they thought the FP knew better and stayed until she retired. Then it turned into Raymond James and the same thing happened.

Because of this I decided I would have to stop worrying about it until my dad dies and then i'll take complete control of the train wreck. I am pretty sure at that time my mom who admits for the past 25 years since they've been married she's been a stepford wife who has just nodded and literally assumed everything was taken care of. She hadn't a clue that my dad had no idea what sort of condo insurance they bought.

I am frustrated and unable to know what steps to do or I can take. I mentioned today that they refuse to listen to any advice. Or let me sit in and start to have some input. I'm not perfect but honestly I think I'm savvier than the average financial planner. I'm well versed in dealing with condo insurance having owned and been on the board for nearly 15 years and running an association and doing taxes and dealing with others. I've also seen policies and dealt with shopping around. I also manage our investments with DH and we're pretty good, especially for our ages.

But I don't know what to do. I know my DH knows his parents are fine and a little too financially savvy. But mine? I can't deal with them. What am I going to do?

Is there anything that can be done until my dad passes? I know it's a generational thing about not sharing any details but I'm frustrated and I know that they are wasting a ton of money and I am worried about the organization period of their finances. For reference I'm 36 and longevity runs in the family. My grandmother is still alive at 88 and my great grannie lived to 101. My dad's mom lived to 95.

I don't know how to help or more likely take over. I mean my mom literally only pays credit card and utility bills. But she has no idea how the taxes are or anything else. I mean they don't even have a copy of their insurance policy!!

Off to chat with my mom.

What's middle class

October 29th, 2015 at 05:01 pm

I don't know what is middle class it appears to be what you live like. Most people aren't sure either. Great discussion on the forum.

I think the house we're in is absolutely middle class, it has 3 bd, 2.5 ba and is 1800 sq ft with a 2 car attached garage on 5000 sq ft lot. It's in a preplanned neighborhood. Lots of young families are moving in school district. People have either 1 or 2 cars. They both work or a stay at home parents. It appears completely middle of the road.

Is it more than we had 40 years ago? In some ways yes. We have internet, cable tv, cell phones, etc. But in other ways I think the middle class also has less.

What ways? It is a fact that less people today are covered by pensions than 40 years ago, even 20 years ago. Very few people have free medical insurance for life from their jobs after retirement. I think only the military has it. Constantly articles are written about people having only $100k in 401k. Here's the truth that when people like my mom in her 60s retired at 55 with a pension for life she didn't need a 401k. She had one but she didn't have much nor did most people older than her. The majority of baby boomers had pensions and social security. I am curious what will happen to people when the scales start to tip and people retire without pension?

Second health insurance premiums have gone up exponentially. People are still tied to employers but many employers are trying to switch employees to high deductible premium plans and use health savings accounts. This usually costs more for the employees. The real hit? That 40 years ago most employers picked up the entire premium payment, versus today when employees are often foot at least a portion of the premium if not most.

Third, college costs have skyrocketed. Even cheaper alternatives like community college and state schools are difficult to afford working and going to school. In the 80s people could still "work" and make enough to afford tuition. Is it realistic now? No. Now even the cheapest schools are out of reach for people working and going to school full time. The irony is that having a degree no is more important than ever!

I think in many ways the middle class lives more luxurious lives than before. We have a more amenities that people didn't have because of technology. But I also think that the middle class was more cared for in retirement and prior by companies, government jobs, versus today a lot more emphasis is placed on the worker.

What do you think defines the middle class?

Reflecting on time with family

October 20th, 2015 at 03:33 am

I'm very sad to hear so many bloggers are struggling with their parents health right now. It really puts into perspective what's important in life, well at least to me.

I've lived now half my life away from the island since leaving for college and I've moved around a bit. But the one constant since I left was going home at least 1x/year usually 2x/year. The draw was always my parents, grandparents, great-grandmother, and extended family. I can honestly say I missed out on many travel adventures because my DH and I spent a lot of money on seeing my family and his instead of going trips to Europe, Asia, etc. And granted the trips were cheaper than traveling since we usually saved on hotel costs. But the real cost was the lack of vacation time we had after we visited our families. We tried to travel off peak times so we could save and we still do. But we have spent a lot on visiting our families.

But this weekend we were invited to our neighbors housewarming party and I heard more than one person ask my DH what he does. His answer is nothing. He says I quit because he wanted to stay at home with the kids.

When we first came up with moving in March, my DH said besides being ready for a change, he decided that he was envious of the time I got as a stay at home mom with the kids. He felt he was missing out on so much by working full time and life was slipping by. He wanted some time to interact with the kids before they were too busy running away from us (already happening in kindergarten!)

So this weekend when people asked he told them he had no idea life with kids and not working was amazingly busy. It gave him a greater appreciation of what I've been doing with them. But also he's enjoying the interaction and having more than an hour in the morning, and a couple of hours are night. He's learning more about their habits and how to deal with them. He also said if it means working an extra year when he's 60 for a free year now at 37 he's ready and willing to do it.(probably closer to 2 years)

We made the move for many reasons. And I know deep down my DH and I were not as frugal as we could have been these past 15 years traveling, spending time with our families, etc. Further it might have made more sense for me to have been working when we had the kids to have saved every penny. And it's certainly not financially prudent to not be working now.

But I can't give anyone a hard time for choosing to spend money to see or spend time with family. I also can't give anyone a hard time choosing to cut back on working to spend more time with their kids when they are young. I guess I do believe in Mr Money Mustache and early retirement, but I also think perhaps the greater lesson is financial independence isn't only for early retirement. It's the opportunity to make the best financial decision you can for the place you are at. Working because you have to is different from working because you want to. And sometimes you work for the privilege of being able to take time off or see your family more.

My dad turns 85 this year. He will be spending Christmas in our "rental" home with our first tree for the kids. I hope we have our own home next year and he's able to spend it with us. This is a real treat and something I can't put a price tag on or express how lucky I am. My other hope is my grandmother who is 86 is able to make 1 trip to see us. Because of their ages I've always done trips to see them since neither would have seen my younger child if I hadn't. They haven't been to the east coast in years. I also hope to take the kids maybe this summer to see DH's grandmothers but we'll see. This might be our only opportunity.

I hope everyone struggling with their parents has a peaceful night. I am very grateful that my family is doing well and I realize how fortunate I am. Life is so quick.

The purpose of money

August 5th, 2015 at 06:02 pm

I am vacationing in Hawaii with my kids and relaxing and enjoying doing nothing. The road trip was awesome and fun and amazing. But it was tiring, exhausting, and stressful in it's own way. The last week of apartment hunting and learning our way around a new city was exciting but hard with two small children. Worrying about making the right decision but knowing it's a rental.

Also I'll admit it's a bit of a hard pill to suck knowing we are "renting". Easy to say and hard to do. Realizing that we hadn't rented in over decade. It's not just the money but answering to someone else!

Anyway though as I'm in Hawaii I'm enjoying my family and my mom keeps saying "oh I'm spending so much money with everyone visiting". You LAL, your brother, his family, etc. She says I'm retired on a fixed income. I point out her income with my dad's make them ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. And my parents still "contribute" to a backdoor roth at 84 and 62 years old! They draw on pensions, IRAs, SS, and investments, and make $200k/year and my mom is worrying about money.

They own two homes free and clear and she's worried about not having enough. She says the bills seem more than her monthly money coming in and she doesn't want to touch a penny of investments. I want to smack her. I want her to SPEND the money on herself and do whatever the HELL she wants. I keep telling her to spend, spend, spend. Enjoy it. Bathe in it. I don't know go on every wild and crazy trip or buy a Tesla or something ridiculous. But the idea of her spending her money I think she's going to die with it.

Yeah okay readers I know perhaps that's her pleasure but I don't want to inherit that much money. I would rather have had some cool story about my mom sky diving at 85 because she's spending her money.

I have a lot of my mom's financial personality I can't help it. My DH has his parents and they are the same way. We were raised to it and it's hard for us not to be this way. But my DH is pushing me along the route to stop worrying about money. He's talked about us not having income for a year. He's talked about us not saving anymore for retirement as aggressively. That perhaps it's time for us to cutback and relax the purse strings.

I'm starting to believe him. I think the purpose of money is to enjoy your life. Whether it be working or not. My DH pointed out in a recent conversation that we've saved and I've planned as though we are stopping work in 10 years. That he'll sit around and "retire" early like Mr Money Mustache. The truth? He doesn't want to. He doesn't want to stop working at 45 or even now. He likes to work and wants to keep doing it. Being able to say FU to a company is great, and he likes having that freedom. But he isn't ready to stop working.

So I guess I have to relax and start to stop worrying if we have enough. I have to stop and smell the roses. I think we'll have enough even scaling back by age 55. Beside if I don't I might miss a moment.

I am trying to convince my mom to not miss a moment either. Here is my perfect moment recently.

It really was great trip.

My mom laughed at me

July 14th, 2014 at 01:39 am

My mom laughed at me. Yep that's right I said to my mom we plan on "retiring" at 55 or at least being financially independent. She laughed and said no way is that possible. She said that people can't accomplish that anymore. Even with pensions mostly for government or public workers they have handcuffed many to retiring at 62 or 65. How did I expect to retire at 55?

My response? By saving money. She said what about medical? What about college? What about having enough? You can't save enough to retire, you have to wait until medicare and social security.

And yet my mom retired at 55. But she herself will tell you it's because she worked for the state during the golden ages. She retired with 70% of her salary, free medical for her and my dad for life, reimbursement of their medicare premiums (she's not old enough yet), pension is COLA, and two paid for homes. She also had $70k in a Roth IRA and $220k in a 457b. She didn't really save until in her 40s/50s and even then she invested in a money market in her 457.

She mostly knows other state workers and most can't retire until SS kicks in because they can't live on what they make. They weren't in the old generous plan of 2%/per years of service, while she contributed only 7.5% during her working years. She out spent her pension contributions within 5 years (I calculated for her that she'd use up her "contributions" within 5 years) and is now living off the state the rest of her life. They offered her a cash out of her contributions like $200k and a lower monthly payment. She took the maximum monthly payment instead.

That should be another 30 years (i'm not kidding my grandma is still alive and well at 86 and my great grandmother was 101 and her dads side we'll lets just say her aunts are in their 90s). My grandfather only passed at 77 because he was a 1-2 pack a day smoker who died of COPD. Otherwise both sides average age is 90+. As for me? Should be the same with genetics.

So to my mom she's confounded how anyone can retire without a pension. Her sisters who don't have pensions have always talked about retiring when they die. Everyone she's worked with has only retired at 62 or later with the pension and medical. EVERYONE always talks about how lucky she was to be on the "old" program and retire at 55.

So she truthfully said "how do people retire without a pension?" It was dumbfounding that people could actually save money themselves. That being completely self-reliant and having the expectation you'd do it without a pension seemed insane.

But more than money, my mom asked me what we would do? That my dad is still working at 83. That she would still be working if not for an eye problem (macular hole). And still desires to go back to work. Actually my parents have enough money to have retired years ago but believe it virtuous to work. That without work life would be pointless.

I don't know how to answer that. I don't know how I come from such hard working stock and don't desire to work as long as possible. Or to not worry about long term care? I don't have an answer.

Do you think you'll retire before 65? When? What are you planning on doing?

Worrying about parents

May 25th, 2014 at 06:30 pm

As an only child with three step siblings, and the knowledge my dad will predecease my mom, I worry about my mom. I know that she'll have more than enough money.

But I also know that my parents have always made bad financial decisions but out earned stupid. No matter what bad decisions they've made they've always earned enough to not worry about it. They've leased cars, taken trips every month and lived a great life. But they've never done any home repairs and literally gotten rid of cars because they didn't want to fix it.

My dad still works at 83 and has been forced to take RMD from his IRAs and SS. My mom has a pension and is collecting now SS. With everything they are making too much to qualify for Roth IRA which my mom still does since my Dad still works. So financially good.

The real bad? Well here are a couple of examples. First my mom finally sold a house in July 2012 after it sat empty for 3 years because she had to "clean" it and have it recarpeted and new window treatments to sell it. The people who bought it flipped it in less than a year for $50k more. Sigh. I told her to just dump it and stop worrying about it. She refused and said she had to "fix" it to sell.

Second my parents have a large house they live in part-time. Large as in 5000 sq ft. I worry about my mom trying to clean it, they no longer have a cleaner come in since the one we had got too old. My mom doesn't trust anyone else so she's been trying to clean the house herself. I try to suggest finding someone new but she said they "steal". This house is literally leaking in the roof. When we were there for Christmas we were using buckets all over the house and my DH considered getting up there to hammer in shingles himself.

So my mom promised to fix the roof. I went back earlier this month and it still hasn't been done because she's too busy and it has to be coordinated with tenting for termites and re-roofing. I suggested calling and organizing for her, or even coming back to do it, but she said she has to "clean" and pack up everything. I suggested hiring an organizer/cleaner. But she says they steal and wouldn't do it right.

It's not about the money. She told me that she has $80k in her checking account waiting to do the roof and termites. But how can anything be done if you live in perfect weather and yet almost 6 months later a roof can't be done?

I want to hire someone to come in and just start cleaning the house up. I suggested getting a dumpster put outside so she can stop saying she has to drive to the dump.

This doesn't account for the fact that my parents have a condo they live in part-week as well. Stuffed to the brim. Everytime I visit I am lucky to fit a gallon of milk in the fridge. I have a photo I took as proof of salmon in my mom's freezer from 2001. Yes it's dated. For 2 people they have 2 refrigerators and a freezer.

Every time I suggest downsizing I'm told they can't sell the house it's not sellable. They have to clean it up first.

Mind you my mom had physical therapy for her rotator cuff in the past year so I'm worried about her cleaning toilets, lifting heavy things, etc. She's in overall great health and so is my dad, but seriously? Why do they need 3 cars for 1 driver?

I read on another blogger talking about taking over the checking account. So I worry. I wonder when do the roles reverse and the child starts taking on parental roles?