How Can I Help My Parents to Take Care of Their Finances?

Updated on March 09, 2008
P.P. asks from Plano, TX
3 answers

Hi mommies, I'll try to make this short eventhough it's such a long story.

I'm a 32 married woman and we have a 6 year-old. My parents divorced 12 years ago after they had been together for more than 20 years.
after they divorced they haven't been able to find stability neither financially nor emotionally. they are 52 and 49, very young if you ask me.

my issue is that my sister and I have been helping them out for years. my mother lived with us and then moved in with her but hasn't found ANY job that lasts her for more than 4 months. she says she is tired, burn out (she is 49) and quite frankly she just does not want to work. she never worked when she was married to my dad. also she does not have any close friends.

My father met a woman half his age he is 52 and she is 28. he is planning to have a family with her and I'm happy for them, except he does not have any money. he was making big money with his own company back in the eighties and got used to live comfortably. however things changed and he now refuses to go back to an 8 to 5 job, EVENTHOUGH he plans to have a child with this woman.
he has already given me hints that he will need more help (money) from us when their baby arrives.

Needless to say, I'm worn out, depressed, angry, I feel my life revolves around them bugging me every three months asking for money, especially my dad. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant for the second time and it hasn't happened in almost five months of trying; I also had two cancer scares in one year and it has really gotten me thinking about my future and my daughter's future. I feel I have enough with my own problems...

if you have stayed with me so far, how can I get my parents to back off and get on with their lives? how can they be so young and not have friends, work or anything for their future??? is this a sign of depression. I'm at my wit's end with them...please help with any advice.

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So What Happened?

Well I haven't had "the talk" with my parents yet but it is coming.I'm so grateful for all of your responses, I have been plagued with guilt for years and to have my feelings validated helps me a great deal.
I love my parents but I want to provide for the family that I have started with my dear husband, who's been with me in good and bad times. by the way he is NOT happy with the situation, the dear that he is, he has never been disrespectful or sarcastic to my parents. however I know he has lost a great deal of respect for them because of this situation.
I liked very much the idea of offering whatever item they need instead of money, I can't believe I didn't think of this before; I'm sure this will confirm to them that I'm serious about not being their health insurance/ savings anymore.
We are still afraid that they don't have health insurance, and I pray to God they stay as healthy as they've been (which is blessing because I want them in my life of course).
In the mean time I expect to see a lot of sour faces when the first NO hits them in the face, I hope I'll have the strengh, I need to do this for myself and for them.
Thank you all again! I'll keep you posted.

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I have to agree with the previous response. I hope that I don't sound offensive but I have to say that your parents are responsible adults who should be able to deal with their own issues. My husband, who is a wonderful man, has parents that sound similar to yours. They have no retirement, no home, no investments, 50k in credit card debt and now are both having some very serious medical problems. Thankfully they have not come out and asked us for money because we don't have it to give. They do, however, seem to think that they can come live with us rent free until they get their issues straightened out. The problem is that they never will get their issues taken care of and neither will your parents. I think that perhaps, as hard as it may be, you and your sister need to sit your parents down and have a chat about the burdens that they are placing on your families and the unnecessary stress it is causing you. I know that it is incredibly difficult to separate yourself emotionally from your parents, because they are your parents, but I think that if you can do that and look at them objectively it will make it easier for you to see a solution to your problem. I wish you all the luck in the world!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I know it may sound harsh, but your parents are acting like teenagers...unless your parents are much older or should not feel that you have to care for them in this way. They are capable of taking care of themselves. What you should do is tell them you will be there emotionally and help guide them...but cannot help them with money any longer. Help by trying to find a way to get your mom a job...job training, or counseling to help her through her rough emotional time. With your dad, just let him know you support him in whatever he does, but no more money. Hope that helps...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on


I have had to deal with my mom in this manner for most of my life. Through time, I have learned (and due to a wise husband who also had the same issue with his mom) is to set firm boundaries. I would bend over backwards for my mom, but it gets old and it is enabling to them. I started taking the approach of, "I do not lend or give money...if you need some food I would be happy to go buy something at the store for you." It is amazing how the calls stopped. This may be a thing for their mom is 59 and has been doing this since I was in high school. It is nice now...she has finally figured it out and does not ask to borrow money...FAMILY RULE: NEVER LEND MONEY TO ANYONE...PROVIDE FOR THE NEED. You can find out when there is truly a NEED this way. It is a good rule anyway; I was taken by a stranger/con man years ago, so it protects me and does not enable my mom. DO NOT LET THEM DRAG YOU AND YOUR FAMILY DOWN---if they are physically/mentally able to work, girl...they better be working. It is tough, but my relationship with my mom was so unhealthy before and now it is great. She even buys my lunch for me on occasion.

1 mom found this helpful
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