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I need some help to help my parents

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Debt-Free Wannabe
24 replies 4.7K views


  • Hi Jimmy,

    Sounds like your parents need to start talking to each other about their finances - once they do that, they'll (hopefully) be more willing to talk to other people (i.e. you) and do something about it.

    My parents never talked to each other about money - my dad saw himself as responsible for the family finances and did it all himself, my mother would always say that she 'didn't understand' and 'dad deals with all that'. But when my dad started working less (he's in his late 50's) and my mother's part time job looked like being made redundant, she started getting worried - not that she said so in so many words, she just got stressed.

    My sisters and I took a two-pronged approach. Talked to dad about what would happen if he died (I know, not a great conversation starter!) as mum didn't have a clue and neither did we - suggested that maybe he should talk to her about things - 'we know she says she's not interested but she needs to be'. Talked to mum, independently, saying that dad wanted to talk to her about finances but she'd always brushed him off so maybe she should pretend to take an interest for his sake as he was worried about what would happen if he wasn't around.

    Bingo! Though luckily in their case my dad turns out to have had one eye on retirement since before he was married so they're okay. Mum's taken redundancy and is a lot less stressed generally, and I think dad's less stressed knowing that it's a partnership rather than just him having to sort everything out by himself. If only they'd talked earlier...

    But if you can your parents talking, you're half way there. They can approach the problem together - it's far more difficult to bury two heads in the sand than it is to bury just your own...

    Good luck!
  • elona
    Is there an older family member that they would trust?

    There are two Nan’s but as they are quite old, I do not want to make them worry.
    Could you put their name up for a money makeover?

    Thought about this but isn’t it usually the people with the problem that nominate themselves?

    Of course the other thing is, no matter how commendable your concerns, they may well feel it is none of your business; the more you try to tackle them about it, the more you may be pushing your Dad's head into that sand!
    I am getting the impression that he thinks I enjoy telling him that he has money problems!

    Maddie it is reassuring to here that other people have similar experiences to myself.

    Little Angel I will try you approach and see what happens.

    Thanks for the contributions everyone they are much appreciated.
  • elonaelona Forumite
    11.8K posts

    When I mentioned an older family member I was thinking of an older brother or very young uncle type that your dad would think of as "man to man" - sorry about the apparantly chauvanistic comment. :):)
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  • halloweenqueen_2halloweenqueen_2 Forumite
    3.3K posts
    Are they still using credit cards for day to day living? If they are and just handing over plastic which is magically paying for their stuff they may not actually realise what debts they have because they are not actually going without. If they are is it possible that they could try doing without them for a trial of a week as well as paying out all their bills? It could bring it home to them?
    Also is there anyway you could draw up a budget which would show them in black and white what they have and don't have?
    Good on you for being so caring :cool:
  • Hi Jimmy,

    I can totally understand. My parents are separated but my dad always looked after everything finance related, Mum didn't need or want to know anything about it. But when dad decided to leave, it meant that mum got in a right mess. I was still at school then so didn't understand, but Mum took up every storecard that she was offered and every credit card application that came through the door, and she met a man who was even worse with money. They ended up getting a CCJ for outstanding rent payments. They split up, and Mum's saving grace was the fact that she had a house bigger than she needed so she was able to buy somewhere smaller and pay off the CCJ and storecards (total debt of about £20k) with the profit. That was a few years ago, she is on her own again and I have learned so much about personal finance through helping her (filling in tax returns, paying off debt, arranging mortgages etc) that at least I am able to try to keep her on the financial straight and narrow so to speak.

    We kind of have an arrangement now where I deal with everything money related for her, I made her join the work pension scheme and set up savings accounts for emergencies and long-term and also for holiday savings etc. I keep all her money paperwork. Very occasionally she will get a bit annoyed that she can't buy as many nice things as she would like but on the whole she doesn't mind so much as she got so depressed and stressed with all the debts and CCJ procedure and will do anything to avoid that again and she always says ahe hasn't the interest or energy in it. And although it does take up some of my time managing it for her I prefer this to not knowing what she's doing and the shock of when I found out about all her debts. And this time she couldn't move to an even smaller house! Plus it has been quite a useful experience for me learning about finance and made me determined to avoid debt and pay off my student loan as quickly as possible.
    As your parents have each other and are not really in a mess you probably couldn't do the same as I have, but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone in worrying about your parents money situation. Good luck.
    Yesterday is today's memories, tomorrow is today's dreams :)
  • Had another delve through the papers today and found out that dad missed the payment for the virgin CC. This I think has ended the interest free promo because it says next month will have £80 interest. Also noticed the current account overdraft limit has been exceeded quite a bit. This has resulted in a lot of referral fees and overdraft interest giving a combined total of ~£120 for January. Worse still I found a receipt for a £250 payment towards the new car (on the Barclaycard). Another £5500 is still left to pay for the car. My mother was unaware of the car payment / agreement (mid Jan) to purchase and only found out today when I told her. She was not best pleased!

    My dad commented he had just activated another CC from Lloyds. This was meant to be used for balance transfers but since he didn’t do them at sign up they wouldn’t be interest free. I suspect he will start spending on it though and make the problem worse.

    Based on the current trend this month will incur ~ £350 in interest payments / late payment charges. This to me resembles throwing a whole weeks wages straight in the bin!

    At the moment they do not have enough income to service the card payments on top of all normal monthly outgoings. This is because mother is not working full time again yet, just some part time while looking for a job. Hence why I keep pointing out how £350 could be used in capital repayment or to pay other bills instead of interest and charges!

  • MaddieMaddie Forumite
    857 posts
    Hi Jimmy

    Sorry to hear things are inproving yet, I can tell by your message that you are stressed. Are you doing things to take your mind off this, i'd hate to think that you are worrying about it constantly!

    How about trying to arrange spending a couple of hours a week going through the finances etc. Agree not to nag constantly if they will focus on it once a week. Sometimes I find myself complaining constantly, which is no help to anyone.

    As for the new Lloyds credit card, I would have thought its not too late to do a balance transfer. Sometimes you can do it at anytime during the interest free period, sometimes doing the first month etc. Check the t&cs or just ring and ask. Perhaps in the future it would be better to get a 'life of the balance' card so u dont need to worry about the intro offer ending.

    I personally am not sure whether to encourage my parents to transfer their overdraft to an egg card, as I worry they would just run it up again.

    Have you downloaded the budget planner from this website?

    Hope things get better soon,
    Proud to be a moneysaver! :cool:
  • Debt_Free_ChickDebt_Free_Chick Forumite
    13.3K posts

    I think you need professional, but FREE, help with this. It's very worrying that your father has got ANOTHER credit card, but is not making the payments on existing cards. Don't you think he's going to use the new cards to pay the old ones off?

    Please ... think abut using a Debt Management Plan (DMP). In this case, shuffling cards is not going to work. There's a DIY DMP here

    And you can call the National Debtline at any time for advice.
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • Sounds like an unfortunate and worrying predicament.

    What I see as the main issue here is a lack of understanding of the consequences - it just doesn't seem real to them at the moment.

    Perhaps what might help is putting together 3 forward looking financial forecasts.

    1. Continuing as they are now
    2. Making a few changes
    3. Wholesale changes to sort our debt and provide for retirement

    Take into account all the debt and capital that they have and compare this to the costs associated with the envisioned lifestyle they want to enjoy.

    SCARE THE WILLIES OUT OF THEM - with the first projection!

    Remember to follow on pretty quickly with the solution though as you don't want them permanently depressed!

    I think it is a case of listening and understanding their dreams - showing them on paper that they are headed for a pretty miserable retirement if they carry on as they are - show them the solution and tell them they can still have the retirement they dreamed of - but they must ACT NOW.

    I really hope that things work out for you as this sound like a very worrying situation - they are very lucky to have a son that is looking out for their interests - Good Luck!
    Carpe Diem
  • Perhaps what might help is putting together 3 forward looking financial forecasts.

    I like this idea I will give it a try

    I will take a look at the Debt Management Plan website also.

    I can tell by your message that you are stressed

    Yes quite stressed!

    I will take a look at the budget planner. I did get ms money for Dad he eventually put the bills on it but never used it again. I could use this to do the forecasts maybe.

    I think my dad has the opinion that I am taking the !!!!!! by trying to give him advice. Recently he has ended the conversation along the lines of 'the sooner you move out the better'


    Do you think it would be a good idea to show them this thread?

    Thanks for help.
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