Personal Finance

Second Opinion RE in-law money problems

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 24th, 2020 10:46 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 5, 2015
615 posts
165 upvotes
Edmonton, AB

Second Opinion RE in-law money problems

Looking for a second opinion with my situation.

Divorced mother-in-law (MIL) with adult son who attends University, lives in separate Province than wife and I.
MIL recently bought a new build that see can barely afford.
MIL had previously asked us to loan her 20K to help her purchase this new build, we told her it was not a good idea and said no.
She went to her side of the family for this loan, she got it, and repaid it with the money she got from selling her old condo.
She bought the place under the impression her couple-friends would rent/live with her and her son - it didn't happen.
MIL is not a saver, she's a spender - she purchased new furniture for this new home.
Her son helps pay for the utility bills.
She recently rented out her son's bedroom to a student (while her son was off doing a co-op), to help pay for the mortgage.
Her son took a storage room with new bedroom furniture.
She works a full-time retail job.
MIL has ongoing health problems that affects her work.

She now has back pain.
She just gave her employer a doc's note saying she can only work 4hrs a day - to become part-time.
Her supervisor and co-workers are not happy with this and have told her "maybe you should look for a different kind of work".

Wife and I spoke of what may come our way in the future - MIL asking for financial help again.
The best solution I came up with was for:
MIL to move in with us (in another Province) so that she can sort out her mortgage/bills situation (we won't be funding this, ideally she sells the place).
Her son can find a place to rent and continue his University studies (he will end up living on his own), and be free to move where he can find work.

Thoughts?
35 replies
Sr. Member
Feb 16, 2018
909 posts
855 upvotes
Tough spot. I think a lot of your available options will be based off of how your wife feels first. Are they super close or talk once every 6 months kind of thing?

I think your biggest hurdle will be her son in University. He is essentially going to become homeless unless he has money saved up (more than first/last) and I don't know of many parents who will have the attitude of "Sorry son, I'm moving. You are on your own, good luck" Maybe your MIL will, I don't know.

Unless the MIL has $$ available to support her son while he gets on his feet and is stable I don't think MIL moving in with you will work well unless he can be supported by either you or her.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
16281 posts
6422 upvotes
Is your mother in law going to be able to move to another province and find a new job given her health issues?

When I read that she has given her employer a doctors note to move away from full time, I am also assuming that she is still being paid at full time wage (e.g. short term disability). I would assume that if she quits her job and can only work part time she would lose the supplemented part of her income. And, if she is not being supplemented, it may still be challenging to find part time work that will accept her injury (Alberta has more employer focused labour laws and I see you're in there).

I would think that if you are having her move to your province and your home, you have to expect she may have a hard time finding employment. My fear would be she essentially retires and relies on you (as her savings doesn't sound like it's substantial), and you're stuck supporting her for years.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
2904 posts
2256 upvotes
Don't even think about having your MIL move in with you. This is not your problem to solve - it is hers.

How old is your MIL? Have you considered that if you allow your MIL to move in with you that she may never move out? Are you and your wife prepared for that? And, as others have speculated, moving provinces means giving up her employment and looking for new employment. A new job may never materialize and if so, you will not only have your MIL living you, but also now financially dependent on you. Your MIL moving in with you will affect almost every aspect of your life. Not a decision to be made without a lot of thought. Consider what would happen if you and your wife have children or one of you are offered a great job opportunity in another city and your MIL is now your responsibility also.
Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
221 posts
145 upvotes
Toronto
Comes down to what price you put on family......

For me I came from a dysfunctional family, abused and kicked out of the house at 17 and had to live under a bridge for a while.

Was saved by what became my wife's family, from that moment family and paying it forward is my value. Her family or mine doesn't matter, break the pattern and make a difference.

Your family needs to talk figure out a plan that works, be the bigger person life isn't about oneself it is about everyone moving forward.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 10, 2006
1243 posts
657 upvotes
If the market is good and place went up in price.. MIL should rent instead of own. mortgage and credit bills will only pile up, including supporting her son in school? If she is ends up living with you -health and unemployed, she should apply or start her EI claim sooner than later if her place has no health benefits to maximize EI benefits since EI looks at her recent hours and earnings to determine amounts.

if she sells and lives with you, charge her rent (token rent to help her save money). since she is not a saver, any profits from selling her place would be likely be spent in no time.

all the best...

edit. just expanding after reading people's experiences to page 3.. living with my MIL and FIL for 8+ years has its pros and cons, it's mostly pros if you can see the glass half full person. it's about mind tricking yourself it's all ok.. it's not a big deal if you want more dependents in the house or you are ok not being a priority with your wife or you are half dead inside without any feelings where patience is your only virtue..
Last edited by wakka2u on Jan 24th, 2020 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Banned
Jan 1, 2020
39 posts
23 upvotes
Edmonton
I would be very leery about letting your MIL move in with you. There's a good chance she will be unable to work enough to support herself and will become dependent on you. Do you like her enough that you'd be OK with her hanging around you or your wife 24/7? Would you be OK with rarely being alone with your wife with the MIL not at home? If you have or want children, would you trust and want your MIL taking care of them full time?

In my view, it's not your responsibility to take care of your parents (or in-laws) because they made bad choices. If you are financially well off and can afford it without any hardship then go for it, but otherwise they cannot reasonably expect that of you.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
1870 posts
804 upvotes
Ottawa
Ballroomblitz1 wrote: Comes down to what price you put on family......

For me I came from a dysfunctional family, abused and kicked out of the house at 17 and had to live under a bridge for a while.

Was saved by what became my wife's family, from that moment family and paying it forward is my value. Her family or mine doesn't matter, break the pattern and make a difference.

Your family needs to talk figure out a plan that works, be the bigger person life isn't about oneself it is about everyone moving forward.
Well you don't want to start another pattern. Lots of too loyal to family situations where one dysfunctional adult destroys the whole families mental health. With a kid it's different but parents need to bail themselves out.
Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
221 posts
145 upvotes
Toronto
Tough crowd.

If i get this right a parent supports, takes care and raises you and when the table is turned it is fend for themselves time. There is no right nor wrong here seeing we all come from different perspectives. I know many parents in my circle who feel the same way about their offspring, push them out of the nest as quickly as possible and they either fly or not they need to fend for themselves.

Everyone has to make their own decision, maybe the real answer lies in the middle.

I wonder how Taikonaut's partner/wife thinks about the situation?

Do you think this is more of a cultural perspective? In my particular case my parents are Caucasian however my wife is Japanese and perhaps that is what attributed to me thoughts on this.
Jr. Member
Nov 26, 2012
193 posts
157 upvotes
Toronto
This is a weird post. Is your MIL's son not your brother in law (and your partner's brother)? Is her extended family not also your family? Seems like you are talking about a stranger....

The first thing you need to do is to actually sit with your MIL AND your brother in law to discuss the financial situation. Since you don't live in the same city, you can't be sure what is the full financial snapshot is from casual phone conversations. The fact that your MIL could borrow $20k from her family (again, is this not also your family?) says she is not without resources or support. Once you have a true understanding of the financial situation, then you need to discuss what your family is willing to do. What if the MIL doesn't want to move away from her friends and family and move in with you in another city? How will her son (again, is it not your brother in law?) afford to rent a place when he is currently living for free at home? Maybe your MIL wants to help him out?

If you are close enough family to have your MIL live with you, you need to hash out everything.
Sr. Member
May 16, 2017
924 posts
977 upvotes
Ballroomblitz1 wrote: Tough crowd.

If i get this right a parent supports, takes care and raises you and when the table is turned it is fend for themselves time. There is no right nor wrong here seeing we all come from different perspectives. I know many parents in my circle who feel the same way about their offspring, push them out of the nest as quickly as possible and they either fly or not they need to fend for themselves.

Everyone has to make their own decision, maybe the real answer lies in the middle.

I wonder how Taikonaut's partner/wife thinks about the situation?

Do you think this is more of a cultural perspective? In my particular case my parents are Caucasian however my wife is Japanese and perhaps that is what attributed to me thoughts on this.
Any of the parties that makes a decision(s) that puts themselves or the others into an non-viable financial position to avoid family conflict isn't really respecting anyone. Sometimes the most respectful thing is saying "no" - that is not a viable option.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 5, 2015
615 posts
165 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
Thanks for the input everyone.

Wife and MIL are close-ish. Everything is great... from a distance.
Wife (and other of her family members) can't really stand the MIL for more than a few weeks.
I manage fine with the MIL.
If she moves in, I will most likely renovate our basement and make it into an in-law suite - for my wife's sanity.

She can rent her place, but I want nothing to do with it.
I have no interest in meddling with her financial dealings, and will not accept her meddling in ours.

MIL will probably not be able to find any meaningful work if she moves in with us in AB.
She has too many health issues.
MIL is not loaded with $$$, I doubt she has any savings.
If she moves in with us, it will essentially be her retiring with us.
I'm not likely to move out of AB, I'll be grinding away until I'm ready for retirement.

I agree that it's not our responsibility to take care of our parents because they made bad choices, but I also don't feel it's right to abandon them.
Abandoning a family member is not what I want to teach my son - our house is open to all family if needed.
If she stays with us, we won't be charging her rent.
We will provide her room and board, anything outside of this will be hers to handle/pay.
There will definitely be compromises on all sides - but she won't be running the ship, she'll be a passenger.

Her son is an adult, and I honestly think it'd do him good to live on his own.
But I agree, MIL is not likely to leave him to fend for himself - but it's a compromise she'll need to accept if things go down this far.
(He won't end up homeless, he's more than capable in handling his affairs... if given the opportunity)
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 5, 2015
615 posts
165 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
Wife and I spoke at lengths of what decisions to make - all the different possible outcomes that may affect us.
This one was what we felt was most appropriate, and I thought I bring it here to see if there were any other perspectives we might have missed (such as disability payments being lost due to MIL moving to AB).

We are Asians, so Asian family minded-set.

Her family and my family get along, I just decided to use "her son" instead of brother in law (BIL) - to shorten the post and get to the point as quickly as possible.
The reason why he's not mentioned much is because the MIL dictates BIL actions... not ideal, and is another problem outside of this post.
The only scenario where BIL will be brought into the picture would be if MIL insists BIL moves in with her/us too - wife and I already have a response for this (boils down to "cut the umbilical cord")

When the MIL first asked for that 20K, I made it a point that we won't "lend" her this money unless (1) we hash out her personal finances and (2) make a 5yr plan of where she expects to find herself - she balked at this.
We had these conditions because her financial request was going to affect our finances/life-goals.
We also didn't want this 20K going into a black hole and then having her ask us for more later on.
(I don't want to mix her finances with ours... because she's not very good in managing it)
Banned
Mar 11, 2016
2081 posts
836 upvotes
tough deal...if it were my MIL I would digress mainly to what would make my wife happy...and figure out a way to minimize the impact it would have on my families day-to-day living..like your basement suite/apt idea...I am fortunate that my mother in law , if she were widowed and needed help would be happy living almost anywhere and you would not even know she was there..she is not a spender and annoys no one. She would be welcome in our house....My Mom...not so much..she is widowed..is a spender and can barely afford her own house with a mortgage at age 74...we would help her out but I would not have her living with us...

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