Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My dad and the debts

My father is 87 and is busy rewriting history.
He's also keeping pretty occupied redefining words like debt and coming clean.
While we as his children are trying to figure out ways for him to cope with his current financial situation, he's going along telling himself (and us) that everything is fine. Nothing to worry about.
This man who is facing destitution if his wife (my step-mother) doesn't come back from the hospital is saying he has plenty of money to go around.
The $40,000 debt consolidation loan he took out 3 years ago?
That's in the hands of a guy he likes and it'll be paid off in a year.
The $1600 judgment we found online against him?
He doesn't remember getting a letter about anything like that so it isn't his problem.
The $8,000 he owes MasterCard?
Oh, he'll take care of that when he finishes paying the debt consolidation loan.
His poor credit history?
He isn't going to need good credit. He figures he's only going to live another eight years or so.
We listened the other night as he explained away our worries.
He said he'd always taken care of us and he could certainly take care of himself.
Uh, we're all grown and the last any of us got anything monetarily from our father was about 40 years back. When my brother asked for a co-signer on his first home, my dad couldn't get out of the room fast enough. When I was single and struggling to feed six children, he didn't want to hear about it.
He talked about taking us all hunting and fishing when we were kids. We recall a one-time venture.
But that's in the past and we're mature individuals who want to do our duty to our parent.
Since he's spending freely while he waits for his wife to recover and come home, we're trying to sort out the money with him.
"Dad," I said, after he bragged about upgrading his television service. "You need to save your money. You're going to need it for a place on your own."
"How much can that be?" he returned. "An apartment will cost me $500. That leaves me $1500 a month." (He's not kept up with the cost of renting in today's market or the cost of utilities, security deposits, food, etc.)
"Dad," my brother said. "What about these debts?"
"Those aren't debts," he said. "I'm taking care of them. They're not a problem."

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