Thursday, January 22, 2009

She said ‘Yes we can’ to inaugural proposal - TODAY Weddings -

This is so cute!

Part 2

Unfortunately my mother-in-law was also the recipient of a lifetime of bad financial training. Actually, no financial training. She grew up on a kibbutz - the ind with the children's room and the socialist ideals. The kind that, per my understanding, was proven not to work because eventually they had to find a way to actually make a living.

She married very young, and from that point forward she fell into very stereotypical roles. She did all the cooking, serving, cleaning, sewing, etc. She never learned to drive. She once worked as a cook in a restaurant in Israel, and otherwise has never held a job. In the meantime, my father-in-law was responsible for anything financial. She really has no idea how much anything costs (other than groceries), how to budget, how to make purchasing decisions, etc.

I'm very concerned about how things are going to proceed. She is going to be living on a fixed social security income. My husband has already had to argue with her about a number of items that she has considered necessities that she just isn't going to be able to afford. (Daily newspaper, using a bank card when buying groceries instead of a budgeted amount of cash.) She unfortunately has to sell off a lot of their belongings, including items she really wants to keep.

I haven't had the warmest relationship with my mother-in-law, but love her and am very worried about how this is going to work going forward. I trust my husband to use good judgement, but still feel concerned about problems coming up from us being too involved with her finances and care.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sad legacy

My father-in-law passed away last month. Although I cared very much for him and feel he suffered unnecessarily at the end of his life, unfortunately he left a very sad legacy behind.

My FIL had a poor relationship with money. He started his own business many years ago, and according to my husband the nature of the business was that some years he'd make half-a-million dollars, and other years they'd be relying on a gemach. The problem was that my FIL didn't save anything from the good years. Not a penny. The minute he had money, he would spend it. And unfortunately, as my husband has been going through his belongings, it turns out that much of what he bought was garbage. Fake gold and silver (that he believed was real and spent a lot of money on.) He bought things he didn't need - he would get a new TV if he heard that one of his friends had gotten one, even though he didn't need it.

My FIL used things instead of words. He would buy expensive gifts instead of saying the words "I'm sorry." My nieces and nephews only have memories of him buying them things, not spending time with them during their visits. Several years ago he sent my children a shipping box full of candy. Another time he bought my kids a ton of presents that were actually all cheap (not well-made and broke right away), rather than finding out if there was one item that they might really like, just so that it would look like he had bought them so many gifts.

And, on top of this attitude, he just didn't have the income to live like this. He spent loads of money decorating his house the minute he moved in (new floors, cabinets, etc.) yet it is being foreclosed because he didn't pay the mortgage. My husband had to argue with his parents to cancel their newspaper subscription when they clearly couldn't afford it, yet he actually CANCELLED HIS LIFE INSURANCE POLICY and left my mother-in-law with nothing. (She will be living on a small social security check for the rest of her life.)