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Time to pay your way?

MaggieD

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My mom has known John for almost 50 years. For the first 42 years (OMG), he slept in his own home with his brother, sister and mother...a TINY little 2-bedroom house. He LIVED at my mom's house...coming there right after work, eating dinner there, and enjoying her home as his own. After the first ten years of that, I insisted that my mom make him pay for his food. (He paid nothing.) So he decided they'd each put $60 in a kitty, and he'd do all the shopping. He goes to 4 or 5 stores a week, shopping sales and buying 39-cent TV dinners on sale. (OMG) They still, many years later, only put $60 in their kitty.

Eight years ago, he moved in with her after a serious health crisis. He's lived there since, paying his $60 a month towards his food. In the last three years or so, whenever mom has a major purchase for the house, he's paid for half. Mainly because he knew I was unhappy with the arrangement.

Mom gets a pension of $390 a month and $1200 in Social Security. She does have money in the bank because she's lived a frugal life. I manage my mom's money now . . . she can't do it anymore. She has "enough." And I help John with his finances. And help John manage his brother who is senile and in an assisted living center. John has $1.5 million.

He goes to the gambling boat twice a week, and, if he wins, he gives mom $50 - $100...after which I hear from mom, "Isn't he just wonderful???" Unbeknownst to me until recently, he's kept track of every penny he's "given" her since he moved in. Carries it in his wallet. It probably amounts to about $30,000 over eight years.

I pay for mom's cable, put electricity in her backyard and garage, an electric garage door opener (for John's use, mom doesn't drive) put up a cyclone fence for her, got her basement waterproofed ($5,000), pay for a once-a-month cleaning service for her. I manage her home -- got it completely redecorated last year, cleaned it out. John paid for half of that. Mom thought he was her hero. Right now I'm hiring a landscaper to clean up all of her gardens and put mulch down. They're a mess. (She'll pay for that out of her money.)

I am so resentful. Mom can't live alone anymore. I could take her here in a heartbeat...I'm fairly certain she'd come...but that puts John out of a home. He's such a cantankerous, selfish old man. Brain fried after 60 years of alcoholism. (He no longer drinks.) But, as far as I can tell, he takes adequate care of my mom...albeit berating her for getting old. (Makes fun, hollers at her for being so slow...that kind of thing.)

I want to insist that he pay his way...that he put in half of all home maintenance expenses; maybe half the utilities.

What do you think? (Rant Off)
 

Gipper

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My mom has known John for almost 50 years. For the first 42 years (OMG), he slept in his own home with his brother, sister and mother...a TINY little 2-bedroom house. He LIVED at my mom's house...coming there right after work, eating dinner there, and enjoying her home as his own. After the first ten years of that, I insisted that my mom make him pay for his food. (He paid nothing.) So he decided they'd each put $60 in a kitty, and he'd do all the shopping. He goes to 4 or 5 stores a week, shopping sales and buying 39-cent TV dinners on sale. (OMG) They still, many years later, only put $60 in their kitty.

Eight years ago, he moved in with her after a serious health crisis. He's lived there since, paying his $60 a month towards his food. In the last three years or so, whenever mom has a major purchase for the house, he's paid for half. Mainly because he knew I was unhappy with the arrangement.

Mom gets a pension of $390 a month and $1200 in Social Security. She does have money in the bank because she's lived a frugal life. I manage my mom's money now . . . she can't do it anymore. She has "enough." And I help John with his finances. And help John manage his brother who is senile and in an assisted living center. John has $1.5 million.

He goes to the gambling boat twice a week, and, if he wins, he gives mom $50 - $100...after which I hear from mom, "Isn't he just wonderful???" Unbeknownst to me until recently, he's kept track of every penny he's "given" her since he moved in. Carries it in his wallet. It probably amounts to about $30,000 over eight years.

I pay for mom's cable, put electricity in her backyard and garage, an electric garage door opener (for John's use, mom doesn't drive) put up a cyclone fence for her, got her basement waterproofed ($5,000), pay for a once-a-month cleaning service for her. I manage her home -- got it completely redecorated last year, cleaned it out. John paid for half of that. Mom thought he was her hero. Right now I'm hiring a landscaper to clean up all of her gardens and put mulch down. They're a mess. (She'll pay for that out of her money.)

I am so resentful. Mom can't live alone anymore. I could take her here in a heartbeat...I'm fairly certain she'd come...but that puts John out of a home. He's such a cantankerous, selfish old man. Brain fried after 60 years of alcoholism. (He no longer drinks.) But, as far as I can tell, he takes adequate care of my mom...albeit berating her for getting old. (Makes fun, hollers at her for being so slow...that kind of thing.)

I want to insist that he pay his way...that he put in half of all home maintenance expenses; maybe half the utilities.

What do you think? (Rant Off)
50 years, huh? That's about 49 1/2 years longer than I'd put up with.
 

KevinKohler

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Is John her boyfriend?


If he has 1.5 mil in the bank, is that the reason he doesn't want to marry her? I need more info.
 

soot

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Do you have a general power of attorney over your mom yet?

It sounds like you two have a good enough relationship that she'd be willing to sign one if she hasn't yet.

I'd do that before doing anything else. It'll give you a firmer legal footing from which to talk to John about financial matters. It's also just a good idea to have one if your're managing your elderly family member's "affairs".

I have them over both of my parents and my elderly uncle (all of whose finances and medical care I manage) and it's come in handy more than once.

You don't want to wave it under John's nose if you have one, but you want one just the same.

The only other advice I'd give you is to take your personal feelings out of the equation. It's hard, and it's something I struggle with more often than I'd care to admit, but when we're dealing with our parent's or elderly relative's affairs we're not their "son" or "daughter" or "nephew" or "neice". We're their "agent" and maintaining that professional distinction makes things a whole lot less agravating/frustrating.

Having said all that...

I would definately approach John about this (after you get POA) but from a business perspective, not from a position of resentment as the "overprotective daughter".

John should be paying for half of everthing related to the maintenance of the household. And that doesn't mean John pays for half (the least expensive half) of the services on an individual basis (eg. your mom pays the expensive utilities and grocery bills and John pays the less expensive cable and telephone bills, but hey, they're each paying for two of the four so John, technically, is paying for "half").

Aggregate all expenses, split total dollar amount down the middle, and John deposits half in a joint bank account that's been established specifically for the purpose of paying household expenses.

Ideally you know, roughly, what the yearly budget is for upkeep of the household and these deposits can be made a month in advance (which makes it much easier than playing "catch up".

You then cut all household expense checks out of that account and submit quarterly financial reports to both John and your mother (use Quicken or some other basic financial software package so everything is accounted for).

Same thing for any big-ticket items. Shop around, get the best price, and then have each of them deposit their share in the joint acct. and then pay for the item out of that account.

You want to be running it as much like a "business" as you can with you being the accounts payable/accounts receivable clerk and accountant.

You don't want to present John with so much as the illusion that you're potentially biased toward your mother in this financial relationship.

100% accountability and 100% transparency.
 

MaggieD

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John has 1.5 million??? And he pays her $60 a week?
No. $60 a month. Don't ask me how they buy food on that, Superfly. I can't even imagine. $120 a month for food. When I said 39-cent TV dinners on sale, I wasn't kidding. I was bringing them two meals a week (with leftovers), but they didn't want it. John gets "free food" from the gambling boat -- "comps" -- I suspect that fills in for them. But mom shouldn't be eating it because she's on a low-salt diet. I've given up on their food...

Is John her boyfriend?


If he has 1.5 mil in the bank, is that the reason he doesn't want to marry her? I need more info.
He's an old bachelor. Never married. Lived at home with his mother until she died, and then he, his brother and sister kept the house (they all lived there their whole lives) and just stayed there until he left 8 years ago to move in with mom. He never wanted to get married, and mom didn't care. I thank GOD every single day that they're not married.
 

Superfly

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No. $60 a month. Don't ask me how they buy food on that, Superfly. I can't even imagine. $120 a month for food. When I said 39-cent TV dinners on sale, I wasn't kidding. I was bringing them two meals a week (with leftovers), but they didn't want it. John gets "free food" from the gambling boat -- "comps" -- I suspect that fills in for them. But mom shouldn't be eating it because she's on a low-salt diet. I've given up on their food...
I agree with what Soot said, but you have to tread carefully. Seeing this as an outsider, I think that your Mom sees John as a significant other, and John sees Mom as a free ride. :( If you take the reigns of Mom's finances and force John to start paying half (which is how it should have been for the last 8 years), is John going to stay? Or is he going to get upset and leave? And if he leaves, what will that do to your Mom? Obviously financially she'll be better off, because "the drain" won't be there, but emotionally, it might break her heart.
 

MaggieD

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Do you have a general power of attorney over your mom yet?

It sounds like you two have a good enough relationship that she'd be willing to sign one if she hasn't yet.

I'd do that before doing anything else. It'll give you a firmer legal footing from which to talk to John about financial matters. It's also just a good idea to have one if your're managing your elderly family member's "affairs".

I have them over both of my parents and my elderly uncle (all of whose finances and medical care I manage) and it's come in handy more than once.

You don't want to wave it under John's nose if you have one, but you want one just the same.

The only other advice I'd give you is to take your personal feelings out of the equation. It's hard, and it's something I struggle with more often than I'd care to admit, but when we're dealing with our parent's or elderly relative's affairs we're not their "son" or "daughter" or "nephew" or "neice". We're their "agent" and maintaining that professional distinction makes things a whole lot less agravating/frustrating.

Having said all that...

I would definately approach John about this (after you get POA) but from a business perspective, not from a position of resentment as the "overprotective daughter".

John should be paying for half of everthing related to the maintenance of the household. And that doesn't mean John pays for half (the least expensive half) of the services on an individual basis (eg. your mom pays the expensive utilities and grocery bills and John pays the less expensive cable and telephone bills, but hey, they're each paying for two of the four so John, technically, is paying for "half").

Aggregate all expenses, split total dollar amount down the middle, and John deposits half in a joint bank account that's been established specifically for the purpose of paying household expenses.

Ideally you know, roughly, what the yearly budget is for upkeep of the household and these deposits can be made a month in advance (which makes it much easier than playing "catch up".

You then cut all household expense checks out of that account and submit quarterly financial reports to both John and your mother (use Quicken or some other basic financial software package so everything is accounted for).

Same thing for any big-ticket items. Shop around, get the best price, and then have each of them deposit their share in the joint acct. and then pay for the item out of that account.

You want to be running it as much like a "business" as you can with you being the accounts payable/accounts receivable clerk and accountant.

You don't want to present John with so much as the illusion that you're potentially biased toward your mother in this financial relationship.

100% accountability and 100% transparency.
This is really great advice, Soot. Yes, I have both financial and healthcare POA's -- actually for BOTH of them -- and his brother. I'm going to give your suggestions some thought. I think it'd make me feel better. Do I appreciate that he takes care of mom? Yes, I do. But I also think he's gotten away with murder for 50 years, and it's time to pay his way. Thank you.
 

MaggieD

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I agree with what Soot said, but you have to tread carefully. Seeing this as an outsider, I think that your Mom sees John as a significant other, and John sees Mom as a free ride. :( If you take the reigns of Mom's finances and force John to start paying half (which is how it should have been for the last 8 years), is John going to stay? Or is he going to get upset and leave? And if he leaves, what will that do to your Mom? Obviously financially she'll be better off, because "the drain" won't be there, but emotionally, it might break her heart.
Another great perspective, Superfly. Thank you.

John will never EVER leave my mom's house. If I brought her to live here? I'd have to give him six months to get out -- and THEN have to have him evicted. I have so much angst dealing with John -- that's part of the problem. I'm not the kind of person that can have someone in my life for so long and just kick him to the curb.

My mom is getting pretty senile. I had her with me for a month last year when some guy took his time redecorating her house. I suggested to John that he go stay with his brother for the month. I would have had to call the cops to get him out. He went ballistic.

I used that time to completely clean out her house. Bags and bags of saved "treasures" -- not hoarding, just 50 years of rather natural accumulation. Must have donated 20 huge bags to Goodwill and 20 or 30 to the trash. She didn't care if we went to see John or not. She's always said, "If you tell me it's time to move in with you, I'm there!" (It's a big decision...)

Lots of head **** going on.
 

CanadaJohn

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I understand your situation as you present it, and it does appear very unfair to you and your mom the way things are currently, however, I have to say this is your mom's home and she has every right to determine herself who lives there and who doesn't and under what circumstances. Clearly, from what you've said, your mom doesn't have the same problems with the situation as you do and it seems to me that a "relationship" that's lasted 50 years has to be a pretty good one or at least have its benefits for your mom. Any couple married for 50 years would be celebrated greatly.

If you try too hard to alter that dynamic, you may put your mom in a position where she has to choose between the two of you and that may cause her a lot of emotional distress. Whatever is altered in this dynamic has to be initiated by your mom, without pressure, and because she wants to do it for herself, not just to please you.

I fully appreciate the type of resentment you're talking about - in the last 15 years of my mom's life, I had her live with me and I did everything for her with no help from my three older brothers, either financially or physically, at great cost to me personally in many ways. One of my brothers, near the end, was far more supportive, but the other two were nowhere to be found. I learned to put my resentment aside and never mention it in my mom's presence - she loved all her children and even though the others didn't carry their fair share, that didn't change how she felt about them. People tend to accept, over time, the way people close to them are - sounds like your mom accepts this man for who and what he is. She should be allowed to do so in the later years of her life.

I wish you all the best and infinite patience - you're going to need it.
 

Gipper

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Yeah, he had another woman or 4 that your mom didn't know about.

He reminds me of me...at 22. At his age, it's tired.
 

MaggieD

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I understand your situation as you present it, and it does appear very unfair to you and your mom the way things are currently, however, I have to say this is your mom's home and she has every right to determine herself who lives there and who doesn't and under what circumstances. Clearly, from what you've said, your mom doesn't have the same problems with the situation as you do and it seems to me that a "relationship" that's lasted 50 years has to be a pretty good one or at least have its benefits for your mom. Any couple married for 50 years would be celebrated greatly.

If you try too hard to alter that dynamic, you may put your mom in a position where she has to choose between the two of you and that may cause her a lot of emotional distress. Whatever is altered in this dynamic has to be initiated by your mom, without pressure, and because she wants to do it for herself, not just to please you.

I fully appreciate the type of resentment you're talking about - in the last 15 years of my mom's life, I had her live with me and I did everything for her with no help from my three older brothers, either financially or physically, at great cost to me personally in many ways. One of my brothers, near the end, was far more supportive, but the other two were nowhere to be found. I learned to put my resentment aside and never mention it in my mom's presence - she loved all her children and even though the others didn't carry their fair share, that didn't change how she felt about them. People tend to accept, over time, the way people close to them are - sounds like your mom accepts this man for who and what he is. She should be allowed to do so in the later years of her life.

I wish you all the best and infinite patience - you're going to need it.
Yes, it appears you get it. I always remind myself that mom made these decisions herself -- and was entitled to. And no QUESTION, John has brought benefits to the table.

Part of MY problem is that John is such an asshole. Always has been. Selfish, inconsiderate, miserable old crotchety fool. (At least for the last 30 years!) But I do agree with you -- they've been together more than most marrieds. It's always "worked" for mom.

I try so hard to keep that in mind.
 

soot

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I used that time to completely clean out her house. Bags and bags of saved "treasures" -- not hoarding, just 50 years of rather natural accumulation. Must have donated 20 huge bags to Goodwill and 20 or 30 to the trash.
LOL

Lemme guess, at least 50 different sets of lace curtains, frequently the same pattern in an assortment of colors, as well as a minimum of 8 to 10 sets of bathroom mats in assorted colors for each bathroom in the house.

I know exactly what you mean...
 

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I understand your situation as you present it, and it does appear very unfair to you and your mom the way things are currently, however, I have to say this is your mom's home and she has every right to determine herself who lives there and who doesn't and under what circumstances. Clearly, from what you've said, your mom doesn't have the same problems with the situation as you do and it seems to me that a "relationship" that's lasted 50 years has to be a pretty good one or at least have its benefits for your mom. Any couple married for 50 years would be celebrated greatly.

If you try too hard to alter that dynamic, you may put your mom in a position where she has to choose between the two of you and that may cause her a lot of emotional distress. Whatever is altered in this dynamic has to be initiated by your mom, without pressure, and because she wants to do it for herself, not just to please you.

I fully appreciate the type of resentment you're talking about - in the last 15 years of my mom's life, I had her live with me and I did everything for her with no help from my three older brothers, either financially or physically, at great cost to me personally in many ways. One of my brothers, near the end, was far more supportive, but the other two were nowhere to be found. I learned to put my resentment aside and never mention it in my mom's presence - she loved all her children and even though the others didn't carry their fair share, that didn't change how she felt about them. People tend to accept, over time, the way people close to them are - sounds like your mom accepts this man for who and what he is. She should be allowed to do so in the later years of her life.

I wish you all the best and infinite patience - you're going to need it.
CJ, your mother sounds like a kind soul who forgave shortcomings on the part of her offspring, and that's to her credit! :thumbs:

However, I also believe that Karma is alive and well, and will handle the offspring, who couldn't be bothered to honor a parent in need, in its own way! :peace:
 

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Another great perspective, Superfly. Thank you.

John will never EVER leave my mom's house. If I brought her to live here? I'd have to give him six months to get out -- and THEN have to have him evicted. I have so much angst dealing with John -- that's part of the problem. I'm not the kind of person that can have someone in my life for so long and just kick him to the curb.

My mom is getting pretty senile. I had her with me for a month last year when some guy took his time redecorating her house. I suggested to John that he go stay with his brother for the month. I would have had to call the cops to get him out. He went ballistic.

I used that time to completely clean out her house. Bags and bags of saved "treasures" -- not hoarding, just 50 years of rather natural accumulation. Must have donated 20 huge bags to Goodwill and 20 or 30 to the trash. She didn't care if we went to see John or not. She's always said, "If you tell me it's time to move in with you, I'm there!" (It's a big decision...)

Lots of head **** going on.
Hmm.... interesting. Sounds like she wants to be with you, but maybe feels obligated to John. That last sentence -- She wants to be with you, not John. She just doesn't know how. You might be the one to have to do this for her, because she can't do it to John.
 

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My mom has known John for almost 50 years. For the first 42 years (OMG), he slept in his own home with his brother, sister and mother...a TINY little 2-bedroom house. He LIVED at my mom's house...coming there right after work, eating dinner there, and enjoying her home as his own. After the first ten years of that, I insisted that my mom make him pay for his food. (He paid nothing.) So he decided they'd each put $60 in a kitty, and he'd do all the shopping. He goes to 4 or 5 stores a week, shopping sales and buying 39-cent TV dinners on sale. (OMG) They still, many years later, only put $60 in their kitty.

Eight years ago, he moved in with her after a serious health crisis. He's lived there since, paying his $60 a month towards his food. In the last three years or so, whenever mom has a major purchase for the house, he's paid for half. Mainly because he knew I was unhappy with the arrangement.

Mom gets a pension of $390 a month and $1200 in Social Security. She does have money in the bank because she's lived a frugal life. I manage my mom's money now . . . she can't do it anymore. She has "enough." And I help John with his finances. And help John manage his brother who is senile and in an assisted living center. John has $1.5 million.

He goes to the gambling boat twice a week, and, if he wins, he gives mom $50 - $100...after which I hear from mom, "Isn't he just wonderful???" Unbeknownst to me until recently, he's kept track of every penny he's "given" her since he moved in. Carries it in his wallet. It probably amounts to about $30,000 over eight years.

I pay for mom's cable, put electricity in her backyard and garage, an electric garage door opener (for John's use, mom doesn't drive) put up a cyclone fence for her, got her basement waterproofed ($5,000), pay for a once-a-month cleaning service for her. I manage her home -- got it completely redecorated last year, cleaned it out. John paid for half of that. Mom thought he was her hero. Right now I'm hiring a landscaper to clean up all of her gardens and put mulch down. They're a mess. (She'll pay for that out of her money.)

I am so resentful. Mom can't live alone anymore. I could take her here in a heartbeat...I'm fairly certain she'd come...but that puts John out of a home. He's such a cantankerous, selfish old man. Brain fried after 60 years of alcoholism. (He no longer drinks.) But, as far as I can tell, he takes adequate care of my mom...albeit berating her for getting old. (Makes fun, hollers at her for being so slow...that kind of thing.)

I want to insist that he pay his way...that he put in half of all home maintenance expenses; maybe half the utilities.

What do you think? (Rant Off)
Good morning, Maggie! :2wave:

As our population ages, it could become a problem that many will have to face, whether they're ready or not. I believe that, in the grand scheme of things, that we only have to answer for what we do, and in my opinion you have earned an A+++! Your brother may finally one day understand, maybe with your insistence on him doing the right thing, that life is not limited to his perception of it, and be forced to acknowledge both his deceit and his mistakes before it's too late. I hope so for his sake! :shock:

"Trust that the road is there, even if you can't see it for all the fog." unknown
 

radcen

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I don't have any advice that hasn't already been given, but I feel for you and your mother and hope it works out as well as possible. :)

I will admit I literally did a double-take at $1.5mil.
 

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I will admit I literally did a double-take at $1.5mil.
Honestly, that's not much, nor hard to get. My mother is worth a lot more than that. She's in the process of moving for the first time in 45 years, she bought a new house for $137k and will be making more than $500k off her old house when it sells. Anyone who has planned well should have millions in assets by the time they retire.
 

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I think you're getting the general good advice in the posts. Me personally I'd make sure to gently inform your mother of your concerns and feelings, she deserves that as much as you deserve being able to offer advice and get some of that off your back. IMO anyway, some families don't talk and my mom is the type that if you tick her off you may not hear from her for years, so obviously even that comes with risk. Your risk to take though. If it's just looking out for her though and not giving her ultimatums, can't be that bad hopefully. Second, if he knows you're at least aware of the entire situation (through whatever passive means he becomes aware), that's good, at least he knows he's being watched. Third, thinking about the time when she may not be able to make those decisions, and getting that figured out ahead of time so you know when and what to do when the time comes, may be good. My wifes grandmother is doing similar stuff, people are taking advantage of her and she doesn't want to stop, and it's just hard to accept it. But if she's capable, it's her choice, and letting her do her thing, assuming you've spoken your peace and keep a watchful eye for real harm, you've done good IMO. Since you're basically doing all that, not surprisingly, you appear to be doing best practice as usual.
 

CRUE CAB

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John has 1.5 million??? And he pays her $60 a week?
John needs a lease and an eviction notice put in front of him.
Pay what is fair, buy the property, or dont let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
 

Superfly

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John needs a lease and an eviction notice put in front of him.
Pay what is fair, buy the property, or dont let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Damn straight. Until the 1.5m sunk in, I felt differently. Still thought it was wrong, but a different kind of wrong. This kind of wrong just pisses me off, because he's fleecing a nice old lady on a fixed income.
 

MaggieD

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Honestly, that's not much, nor hard to get. My mother is worth a lot more than that. She's in the process of moving for the first time in 45 years, she bought a new house for $137k and will be making more than $500k off her old house when it sells. Anyone who has planned well should have millions in assets by the time they retire.
It wasn't easy for my mom. She was a single mom, no high school education, factory job her whole life. Effectively stopped working 30 years ago. Never made more than $200 a week in her life...and that was just during the last few years making frying pans on an assembly line. She never owned a car; lived in one home for the last 50 years. Quite the little saver.
 

Superfly

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It wasn't easy for my mom. She was a single mom, no high school education, factory job her whole life. Effectively stopped working 30 years ago. Never made more than $200 a week in her life...and that was just during the last few years making frying pans on an assembly line. She never owned a car; lived in one home for the last 50 years. Quite the little saver.
Agreed. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in that position. I'd LIKE to be in that position, though! :lol:
 

MaggieD

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Agreed. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in that position. I'd LIKE to be in that position, though! :lol:
I guess that post led people to believe my mom had $1.5 million. :rofl -- No! She probably has $250,000. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, never having to pay household bills -- when he lived "at home" they split the bills four ways (his mother/sister/brother/him)...never owned a car until 3 years ago when he bought his sister's (before that, he used his other brother's car for the price of gas and insurance)...at mom's he doesn't pay any household bills -- he was able to amass much more, obviously.
 
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