What Keeps Me Up At Night

I’m super busy. Work, gym, home, sleep. These days are all blurring together. Pardon any grammar mistakes, I wrote the following post very quickly. 

I don’t know what it is about this week, but it’s been quite challenging to focus on work. I just want to be doing something else completely different. My husband just started a new job and he feels the same way. He is a lot more vocal about it.

I tend to just grind it out and just power through it. But there are moments, many, many moments where I wonder how much longer? I really try not to think about it because personally I don’t think I’ll ever retire. Why?

Am I pessimist? Yes. But there is another reason that keeps me up at night. The reason? My parents.

While some people worry about health insurance and maintaining it in financial independence, I don’t particularly worry about it. I spent 20+ years until I got my first corporate job uninsured. My family was/is still uninsured. What worries me is how do I account for my parents.

I think most people my age and in my socio economic circle have well-off parents. They don’t worry about taking care of their parents financially in the near future. I even listened to a podcast talking about whether people had their parents in mind when calculating FI dates. Most said no. Maybe because most of the personal finance space is predominantly (nothing against it) Anglo –American. But when you come from a Hispanic family, it’s different. It’s hard to explain. Believe me I’ve tried with my husband (who is not Hispanic). We are taught at a very early age parents come first, and as kids, we must take care of them in old age. When you come from a poor family, well your parents don’t really have access to a 401K, and don’t even make enough money to put any money in retirement accounts.

So my parents will depend on my brother and I. It’s a situation that is constantly at the front of my mind. How to prepare? My parents are pretty frugal, so I know they don’t spend money nilly willy. They have a house in Mexico. It needs work. But with a $10K investment, it could turn into a real gem. However, I don’t think they want to live there full-time. They like the U.S. more. My parents have their little house in the US, but honestly, I want them to live in a better house. Not a bigger house…although it would be nice to have one more room…but mostly a nicer house.

Financially taking care of my parents full-time scares me a lot. So on top of having to worry about our retirement, I have to worry about my parents! Yikes! Super scary. Thus, my hesitation to even put a $ figure to what I consider financial independence. 

The takeaway? The situation causes a lot of anxiety. A lot.

Is anybody else tackling this scenario? What’s your take on taking care of parents? Are you anxious? 

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17 comments

  • Dealing with my in-laws right now. It has been difficult because they are stubborn. I love them tremendously, but my hands are tied because they don’t listen or believe we want the best for them. So they go on suffering and enduring their unwise choices in life. This is the moment I realized that we can only do the best we can under the circumstances. Frustrating, but we live with it.

  • My wife and I handle my father in laws finances. His wife passed away and he has no interest in handling it himself so we are trying to do our best to make sure that he is taken care of. It’s definitely an added stresser so I can’t imagine having to incorporate your FI with your families.
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    • It’s a hard concept to grasp. How much would my parents need, etc? Plus when you mix money and family, it gets more complicated. If my parents start treating me unfairly, I am less motivated to give them money…it really turns the parent-children relationship upside down.

  • Hey, SFL. I’m right there with you. Mrs. Groovy and I largely approach retirement from an Anglo perspective. But since I’m Italian (i.e., a close cousin to the Hispanic diaspora), we’re already considering what to do with my parents when they can longer fend for themselves. Our plan is to build a little guest cottage (600-700 sq ft) on our property and have them move in. This way they’ll still have a modicum of privacy and independence, and we’ll be able to look after them. You’re right to have anxiety of this issue. But as long as it’s on your radar now, the odds are you will find a satisfactory solution. Your parents raised a super cool daughter. Eres muy amable.

    • Hi Mr. Groovy! Thank you for the compliments. Sometimes I don’t feel like a great daughter, but that’s because it’s never enough for my mother (does this happen with Italian mothers as well)?

      Unless my parents change dramatically, I don’t know if I will be able to live near them….there’s always drama surrounding my mother….maybe she will change when she gets older? Hopefully????

  • I totally worry about this as well, particularly for my wife’s parents. My wife is an only child and if my father-in-law happens to pass my mother-in-law will be all alone. So it isn’t financially per se, but an obligation to take care of them when they are older. Also, if we have kids I want to be close to my parents who are older (both parents are in their early 70s). I think about this a lot because I am job locked to an extent. I wish they could invent a teleporter or we had the floo network (ala Harry Potter) to prevent this situation. It sucks no matter what.

  • I think about this constantly. I have a lot of anxiety about my financials as a recent grad and first generation college graduate. On top of that I have my family to think about. My mother has worked hard her whole life and my goals is to be able to help her retire. She would give me the world if she could and still does everything in her power for her children. My younger sister and I talk about this often. Our future career plans take my moms financial and emotional well being into account; it is at the forefront of our priorities.
    Thank you for sharing your story. <3

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  • I worry because people are starting to live what I consider abnormally long, meaning hospitals can keep people alive longer than I think bodies intended to live. Long term care can wreck any financial plan, and long term insurance seems to be a bit of a racket to me. Add in divorced parents, now you have 4 people then if you are married, 6 to 8 parents between you and the spouse……..it’s a no win. I try not to stress thinking we will do what we can, but I imagine it being hard to declare victory under 60 while your parents, or inlaws are struggling to make ends meet.

  • There are programs to help the elderly, and they can also move in with you. If they moved in, both you and them could live cheaper. Maybe you need a bigger home, maybe not.

  • Hi. I just stumbled onto your site and I like it! I am a gringo man married to a Nica, so I totally understand your comments about the Hispanic culture and taking care of elderly parents. But it’s not much different in my gringo family. I am now taking care of both of my elderly parents from far away (they each live in different cities from me).

    My best advice is to purchase long-term care insurance for them now, if this is possible in your budget. My mother has this insurance and it has been a huge help. I wish I had made this investment for my father when he was younger and healthier. Even having someone to help a few hours a day at home is a huge relief, and some plans pay for more than that. Anyway keep up the good work! I will be a regular visitor. 😄

    • Hi Franklin!!! Nice to meet a gringo man married to a Hispanic woman :) I’m sure you have stories to tell, as my husband likes to say. My in-laws should have enough money to retire (they have been upper middle income class most of their lives), but I don’t know. They are in their mid-60s and don’t like talking about money.

      I need to do more research on long term care insurance. Could you give me some more details? Thanks!

      Can’t wait to hear more from you. Feel free to message you if you want to connect. Although I do have to say I’m more active on twitter on a daily basis. The job has been killing my blogging time.

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