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Thread: How to reassure BIL (and stay sane in the process)

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    How to reassure BIL (and stay sane in the process)

    I hope this doesn't come off as a vent, although it kind of is.

    We FINALLY are putting the house on the market this weekend. EVERYTHING has been done to our listing agent's specifications.

    BIL is down to $7000 in a retirement account, and $600 income from unemployment until his golf jobs kick in in the spring. He has drawn down that retirement account now for a couple of years, although he now realizes that was very stupid in terms of penalties he's had to pay.

    So now, realizing it's stupid to withdraw retirement savings, he is expecting us to fill the slack in his budget. Not really expecting us to do that, but he certainly spends time fishing for it. Meanwhile we pay his property taxes and home insurance, and we feed him at least 3-4 nights a week. I absolutely refuse to do more than that.

    Nevertheless he is totally freaking out. He is almost incoherent with his worry about finances. This morning I had a talk with him because he was practically shaking that the IRS is going walk up to his house and take it from him, because he owes $675 in back taxes. Gave him one of my copies of the IRS Bill Collection Process, and I assured him that EVEN IF his house was in jeopardy of a lien, he would first get a letter, then get 30 days to respond and work out a payment plan and then EVEN if it came to a lien, that only means that the IRS has first dibs on house when we sell it.

    He then would ask me questions that I had already answered or he would say things that don't make sense. He also said that he's going to lose his car and his phone. I tried as calmly as I could to explain that he only has to get to March when his golf job starts, that we already did a budget, that we are covering the roof over his head, that his car is paid for and no one can take it from him, that he knows he has a job starting, that we've already promised him a bed here after we sell the house, blah blah blah. I even turned to the Bible and told him that Jesus said to let today's worries be sufficient unto today's.

    I also told him, shoot, if the IRS hasn't thrown me in jail for owing the amount I do, he's totally safe. Also that I really don't have much more cash in the bank than he does, and I'm 11 years older. Also that I've been through a whole hell of a lot worse, and I'm still standing. But he is not processing.

    He is really losing it. I did validate his feelings, and I told him that I know it's a big roller coaster of emotion right now, which is understandable. I'd love to suggest that he sees a psychologist or psychiatrist but he'll probably say he doesn't have the money, even though he does have Obamacare.

    How do you help people deal with irrational fear?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    It is impossible to know what mental health care services his Obamacare policy covers and how much he has to pay without looking at the specifics of his policy. i would make no assumptions.

    Sounds to me like you are doing fine. The fact that he hasnt figured out about money now isnt any more of your problem than 20 years ago,when someone else was taking cate of him and he was blowing through money.

    it might be a good thing that the end of his bank account is in sight? Maybe. Just continue to be calm and repaet that he will have a bed with you guys. But do not over-promise.

    personally,
    I would not promise that even. He could move in with you and then you are mom and dad, paying for a roof and food, and his money is all fun money. Dont put yourself in that situation.

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    Couple of ideas--first off, bless you for being such a wonderful sil and friend.
    Second, it does sound like some therapy might be a good idea for his mental health. Catholic Charities will see him on a sliding scale as in "virtually nothing," and he probably has access to therapy under his Obamacare. So maybe help him check that out? He sounds like his anxiety is getting really intense, and that is not good, and he probably would benefit from seeing someone.

    Third, he might really benefit from going to a Debtor's Anonymous meeting, and maybe you and your DH could take him to one, to kind of get him in the door. I have gone to meetings to help me with my strong emotions about money and my underearning and everything he is describing to you is exactly the kind of thoughts, emotions, and feelings that people talk about at DA. Check out DA and check out UA, which is Underearner's Anonymous.

    Here is website to DA:

    http://debtorsanonymous.org/

    here is website to UA:

    http://underearnersanonymous.org/

    IF he can take a train into the city, he can get to face to face meetings for both of these.

    Again, bless you.

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    Have him get on the list for low income senior housing now as the waiting list is usually long. He needs a therapist. You have done all you can do. I agree that helping him temporarily but IL is right that you can't let this be a long term solution.

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    I agree with Teacher Terry

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    He is freaking because doing so has worked before every time and someone rescued him. I agree with the suggestion to get him signed into a low-income home waiting list now.
    If you provide a roof and food now, you will be doing it infinitum unless some other plan is put in place now. Set boundaries and stick to them.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    He is freaking because doing so has worked before every time and someone rescued him. I agree with the suggestion to get him signed into a low-income home waiting list now.
    If you provide a roof and food now, you will be doing it infinitum unless some other plan is put in place now. Set boundaries and stick to them.
    This is good about him freaking in the past.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. Great advice as always.

    I'll mention DA and UA--maybe getting in with a group of people who have overcome similar situations and worse would help. I keep pushing him to listen to Dave Ramsey's podcasts, but he'll counter me with "But the horse is out of the barn" and I say "What does that mean? That's exactly WHY you want to listen to the podcasts!" arghh..

    Razz, he never even had to get to the freak-out mode in the past, but you raise a good point. His mother was a ridiculous enabler. Not only did she pay for everything without asking him for ANYthing, but she paid off his credit cards when they got too high. She did without--she would bring tea bags to restaurants to save the money on a cup of tea, but she wouldn't say anything about the $20/lb cheeses and the grassfed beef that he would feed to his dog. He would lose a job and she wouldn't encourage him to get another, so he sat on his a$$ for months/years at a time. So he truly has never, ever been in this situation and reality is hitting him like a ton of bricks.

    I also like the idea about applying for senior housing! Great idea! I'll also gently suggest that he talk to a professional.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I do wonder about an asset test for the BIL in getting on a wait list for senior housing. He will get money from New Jersey real estate, and that will be a big chunk. Would that disqualify him? Also, is he old enough to get on a list?

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I do wonder about an asset test for the BIL in getting on a wait list for senior housing. He will get money from New Jersey real estate, and that will be a big chunk. Would that disqualify him? Also, is he old enough to get on a list?
    That's true.. he's too young for senior housing, so I just looked up affordable housing in NJ and this is what I found: http://www.nj.gov/dca/affiliates/coa...comelimits.pdf

    Based on these numbers, he would probably qualify for affordable housing. The asset max is slightly over what he'll probably get from the house sale.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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