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Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

Senior Contributor

Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

Asking for suggestions here.


My folks are going to have to move in with us in the very near future because they can't afford to live on their own anymore.


They refuse to file for BK - too embarrassed and they refuse to give up their car.  (FL BK law says you can't have more than 1k equity in the vehicle.  If you have more, the vehicle has to be sold to pay the creditors.)


Their income is approximately $2200-2400 a month now.  I don't know exactly and they won't tell me.


I am looking at a place that has a mother in law apt so they could bring all their stuff with them.  What would be fair rent?  (Their car is paid for.)


They currently pay about $1300-1400 a month in housing expenses PLUS insurance PLUS taxes.  There isn't enough money to pay for food, gas, car insurance, other bills, etc after housing is covered.


Should I consider a flat fee?  Like $700.  Or maybe a percentage of their income?  Like 25%. 


Should I tell them to pay ALL utilities?  They will insist on cable, which I don't have.  So there is $200 a month (cable, landline, internet).  It will be well water, so no water bill.  Just electric, gas/oil, cable/landline/internet.  They will have to pay that bill since they will insist on those three services.  (I don't have any of the three services - I use public wifi.)


I plan on them paying for their own food, gas, etc.  I want them to feel as independent as possible, while having us close by.  


So in additional to the financial picture, any advice on the whole move process?  I want them to feel comfortable with it.  (They are embarrassed that they need to do this.)  I want them to bring as much of their stuff as possible so they feel at home.  And yeah, their dogs will come too.




Message 1 of 10
Senior Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

Each and every situation is different.  I went through something similiar with one parent several years ago, and he paid $400 in rent which covered everything, including groceries. 


If their income is as you've stated, then $700 sounds a bit high to me.  That 25% idea might be a better plan. 


When I went though this, I already had cable/internet/land line, so that expense didn't change for me.  As you mentioned, if they require those services and you do not, then they can pay that bill themselves.


Talk to your folks.  It's going to suck and there is NO correct answer.  You just need to find the answer that works best for all of you.


Good luck!  Smiley Happy

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Message 2 of 10
Established Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

I agree that they should pay for their own internet/cable/landline if that's what they want... But $200 a month?  That's nuts...  So many other options out there than traditional cable/satellite.   I'd try to persuade that to go with an Internet only service, then spring for Amazon Prime and Hulu/Netflix with a Fire Stick, and then a Magic Jack for landline service.  And rabbit ears for local TV stations.  They could get away with that for an average of $60ish a month.  Buy a decent wireless router and share the internet with them.


But more to your point, without knowing the cost of the place you will move in to, its hard to arbitrarily assign a number like $700 a month.  First, I would make sure that whatever you move in to, its something that you can afford on your own in case something happens.  Second, are you expecting this to be a permanent situation until they can no longer live at home, or is this a "help them for a year or two while they get back on their feet" arrangement?  If its temporary, you want them to get their debt paid down as fast as possible.  Maybe consider charging them enough to cover your property taxes and HOI.


Trying to help parents financially while letting them be independant is so hard.

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Message 3 of 10
Senior Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

This is a "forever" situation.  Having multi-generations live under one roof is normal for them.  My grandparents moved in with them (parents) back in the 90's and basically died at home.  My mom talked about how her grandparents lived at home while she was growing up.  (This is my adoptive family.)


The parents refuse to go into a nursing home.  The parents refuse to move in with their son.  They refuse to move into a one bedroom apt.  So I am on the only viable option.


I had thrown out the number of $700 because that is about what they currently pay for their base mortgage. (Does not include homeowners insurance or property taxes.)   A one bedroom apt in the same town will start at $730.  A two bedroom - which is the bare minimum that they will consider - starts at $800.  This does not include utilities or renters insurance.  They will NOT be allowed to have their dogs with them.  Did I mention they refuse to give up the dogs?


The place I am praying we get will give them their own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, gigantic shared with me laundry room, and a huge family room.  They will have more than 1200 sq feet & and their own entrance.  Thus, they can bring almost all of their stuffs.  And of course, when they have people visit, I am sure I will be asked to give up my bedroom for the guests.  My bedroom & 3/4 bath will be on a different floor.


In my opinion, their utilities are higher than they need to be.  They spend between $230-450 for electric per month.  Lights left on, a/c on when the windows are open, doors open when the a/c is on, regular light bulbs, two old fashioned desk top computers that are left on ALL the time...My electric bill averages less than $20 most months.  The high bill was $70 when DH insisted a/c being going full time.  They have a little more square footage than me.


They insist on having cable - can't live without it.  Just like they can't live without Sirrus radio.  They will insist on a landline - can't live without it.  Just like they can't live without a cell phone just in case...  They will insist on the internet - can't live without it.  My goodness, how would they communicate with their friends & family?  The cost in my area will easily run them $200 for all of the above.  They will probably get a calling plan on the phone.  Plus extended cable.  Gotta have ESPN and BCC!  They pay close to $300 a month now for what they have plus more for the cell phone that they hardly ever use.  They refuse to cut their cell phone bill in half and be on my plan and reimburse me the fee for their phone being on my plan.  So yes, they can and will pay for their own cable/telephone/internet package.  It will easily cost them $200 a month.


They can bring their dogs and almost all of their stuff with them.  That will be important to them.  And since they have a habit of leaving the door open to the outside ALL day, they can pay the electric too.  I suspect they will want the house way warmer than I am use to, so they should pay for that as well.


I was going to try to set them up with a mini kitchen so they can have their breakfast, snacks, and doggie meals on their own.  Then dinner can be a shared thing, if they want.  They know I like to sit at the table to eat, not be in front of the tv eating.  Lol - no cable to watch tv.  I imagine that we will share some dinners.  So any groceries they want, they get.  They need to get doggie food too.  Dogs eat human food, mostly.  If they dine with me, no charge.  In the big picture of food - we eat VERY differently.  They buy a lot of processed foods.  I buy fresh food.  I cook from scratch (from gravy to bagels - it's homemade).  


When my grandparents moved in with them, my grandparents paid rent.  They had dinner with the parents, but had breakfast & lunch on their own.  Grandparents always gave money for groceries, or picked up the food tab here and there.  Always paid for their own things.  The amount of money that was being "paid" to the parents the last four or five or six years of their lives for rent was 100% of their income.  Grandparents didn't see a dime of it.   I wouldn't do that to my parents, but I feel that they should pay for their must haves & pay for the increased utility bills.  


I'll make sure I can afford the place when they are no longer living with me.  And I can probably take the hit for one month while the utilities go back to my level.


This is another tricky part...the rent will be transferred to my account automatically.  I will insist on that.  Utilities will be automatically charged to their cc or deducted from their bank account.  


What I don't want to do is fund them to fund their son or their grandkids in their lives.  Meaning the more money they have, the more money they will spend.  Buying gifts is more important to them than paying the mortgage.  So you can see how this can be tricky - how much to charge in rent?  And how do I make sure I receive it.  They've been promising to pay the loan I took out for them years ago...yeah.  Still haven't seen a dime of that. 


Message 4 of 10
Frequent Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

Hey, I've read a few of your other posts and you've got a TON going on all at the same time. Please count the cost of all of this. It's great to help out, just make sure that you don't drown yourself emotionally or financially while doing so.  Managing your potential stressors at this time is very important as it'll keep you in a position to support your loved ones with your best effort.  Reasonableness must rule their financial decisions. That said I don't think $700 is out of line.

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Message 5 of 10
Regular Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

Without knowing where you live, it is hard to say if $700 a month is fair, but since these are your parents, you don't need to charge market rate.


Before you agree to allow them to move in with you, you really need to think about the worst case scenario and how you will handle it: they stop paying rent.  What will you do in this contingency.  They are your parents, after all.  But they already have a prior for not paying you back when they have borrowed money.  I don't think it is at all unreasonable to think that financial issues can happen.


You can draw up a lease if you like.  It would lay out expectations about amount and method of paying rent, utilities,cable, internet, landlines, food, etc.  That way, there can be no confusion and everyone just goes to the document. However, just asking for them to sign a lease can cause problems and the lease means nothing if you don't intend to enforce it. But I'll be honest, if I had my parents living in my home, I certainly wouldn't feel obligated to give up my bed for their guests.  So you should set a guest policy (how many and how often and where they can sleep) and a dog policy (no more than x number of dogs or no new dogs.)


You stated in your first post that your parents were moving in with "us."  Do you have a spouse/significant other?  How are they going to feel with their inlaws and their inlaws' dogs underfoot? How will they feel if the utilities double and your parents don't pay, or if they make a mess in the kitchen and don't clean it up, or any of the million other things that are annoying with rooming situations. I was the spouse whose husband invited his father to live with us. It was supposed to be for a weekend and it ended up lasting for 9 months.  During that time, he never paid rent, never offered to help with our children, never asked us if he could pick something up at the store for us while he was there shopping for himself.  He broke my blender using it to perform functions it was never meant to do and didn't replace it.  My husband was annoyed by my resentment was consuming. We actually had to move out of that house into a smaller one in order to get him to move back in with my BIL.


The bottom line is that it doesn't sound like your parents so much need to move in with you as much as they don't want to be responsible for a mortgage/rent.  So go in with your eyes wide open having considered all of the contingencies.  Good luck!

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Message 6 of 10
Valued Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

I haven't read all the responses yet. 


I will ill say that affordable housing programs use a formula that says "affordable" is 30% of your income for rent and utilities. Cable/internet isn't a covered utility. There are too many options to pay that much. Why can't they use the public wifi? What about sling and Netflix? Even if you go through the cable company for internet you should be looking at $125 or so for wifi plus 2-3 subscription services (not cable). 


Good luck op

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Message 7 of 10
Established Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

You're in a tough spot here. If you say no, you look like the ungrateful child even though they're the delusional ones here. At the same time, I'm already seeing signs that I'm ready to judge your parents as irresponsible and spoiled. MUST have internet and TV? MUST have at least two bedrooms? MUST have satellite radio and multiple phone service? They're too proud to downsize but can't afford the level of living they want so they expect you to foot the difference. They need to be humbled, badly.


The question is if you are prepared to be the one to do it. If not, prepare for a money pit named Mom and Dad. 


As for what to charge for rent, I'd make it proportional to what you pay and what they get. If you land a place that costs you $1500 a month and they're taking up two thirds of the space, they pay $1000 plus two thirds of utilities (and 100% of the luxuries they deem necessary). If it's costing you $2000 a month to put them up, charge $2000. If they can't afford it, maybe they'll learn space and amenities don't grow on trees. They should be thankful you aren't charging them a pet deposit.

Message 8 of 10

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

805orbust wrote:

Hey, I've read a few of your other posts and you've got a TON going on all at the same time. Please count the cost of all of this. It's great to help out, just make sure that you don't drown yourself emotionally or financially while doing so.  Managing your potential stressors at this time is very important as it'll keep you in a position to support your loved ones with your best effort.  Reasonableness must rule their financial decisions. That said I don't think $700 is out of line.



They need to be considerate of you too and are going to have to give something up in their lives here, and I would think that should be flatly non-negotiable.  Not saying this is what is happening here but family doesn't get to treat you like a doormat either, and if you aren't breaking even financially on this exchange with everything else you have going on, they need to get real in a hurry.  I'd agree they need to pay their own share on this one.


I think you are going to have to have a brutally honest conversation with them: full financial disclosure from them, and discuss your current situation with them if you haven't done that already (mea culpa haven't read any updates to your other thread).  If it's not a partnership you may wind up resenting them later and that's something I'd try to avoid by just putting all the cards on the table.


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Message 9 of 10
Senior Contributor

Re: Asking for suggestions regarding $ + folks moving in

Loving the feedback. It's giving me a lot to think about.


We will be in a rural area.  The absolute cheapest "bundle" one can get is just for phone line (mandatory, per the phone company) and the slowest internet is $106 a month, with a two year contract.  Where we will be, there are two options - the phone company for landline, for internet, and for cable OR satellite dish services for internet and "cable tv", which is more expensive than the phone company and less reliable due to winds/storms.


Thanks to the many that expressed disbelief at the pricing I was quoting, I actually went to the website and did my due diligence.  To have everything that is "mandatory" for my folks, it will be $225 plus taxes per month.  I know that I looked at basic (translate to SLOWEST) internet and the cost to me was going to be $106 a month, with a two year contract.  Twenty dollars of that was taxes.  So no idea on what the cost would be in taxes for my folks who would be getting a bigger package.  Logic says higher taxes, but I don't know for sure.   When they pass along, I can probably lower that amount paid and be able to afford it.  I don't have a need for tv in multiple rooms, like they do.  I can't even imagine having cable!  


The electric - I don't think we can get around that.  I can't expect them to change their behavior and stop leaving a door open to the outside all day, nor can I expect them to stop leaving lights on, etc.  What I plan to do is encourage them to transfer to laptops, so there are no big desk top computers sucking up energy.  And I will provide LED bulbs to further reduce the electric usage.  I will still have them pay the electric.  I can show that my usage is less than $20 a month on average for the year.  So push come to shove, I will contribute $20 to electric.  But if I do that, they will need to pay half the heating bill (oil/gas).  They will require the house temps to be much warmer than the my winter temps of 56-58.  Big picture, it's cheaper for them to pay all electric and I to shoulder the oil/gas bill.  


Seven hundred, plus say two hundred for electric, will be less than 38% of what I suspect is their take home income.  Cable will eat up another $250, but I have no sympathy on that one since they INSIST on paying $40 a month for sirrus radio when they spend maybe a total of three-five hours a month in their car?  And those are short trips to the grocery store. 


Now they are up to (approximately) $1150.  Still less than 50% of the suspected take home pay.  They claimed they were only spending $200 a month on food, to include dog food.  I don't think that was accurate, but it could have been since we were giving them a lot of food each year.  We stopped that a bit back.  So $1350.  Still have more than 1k in suspected disposable income.  


No car payment and the insurance costs will drop.  They claim no cc debt and have no open cc.  Don't know if that still holds true.


I am going to suggest (require) ss check to be deposited into my account so that I know that I will have the funds for rent and for utilities.  The utilities are charged to a cc each month.  I'll just have it go to my cc and then pay the cc bill from the ss check.  I'll print out a copy of the electric bill (they don't send paper statements).  The phone bill will come to them directly, so they will have that.  Financial transparency.


At the end of the day, they will have to make the decision on what they are going to do.  I won't force the issue.  I won't give them money.  I will give them an "excuse" to tell others about why they need to move in with us (my husbands brain surgery).  I do have a lot on my plate right now.  But thinking about all of this and working out the details now helps give me a diversion from my husbands condition.


Oh - and there will be a number of pets limit.  Smiley Happy  (Thank you for suggesting it!)


AND there will be a guest policy.  Smiley Happy  (Thank you for suggesting it!)


They won't sign a lease....but now that I think about it, they will need one to provide proof of guess they will have to sign one.  


So, I have a plan.  And that feels good.  Yeah!  Smiley Happy


If anyone else has suggestions or things that should be thought of, please, please post it.  I know that in this thinking process I came across a few other things that will be an issue.  Like we will be on a septic system, so they can't use all of the normal chemical cleaning products they love to use, like bleach, stain remover, super strong fragrant laundry detergent.  I will be supplying them with natural alternatives that are safe for septic and work just as well.





Message 10 of 10