Several years ago my mom discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer. She had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments over a year that required her to go on short term disablilty, which did not cover all of her bills. We used money from my Dad's pension & life insurance (he passed in 2005) to keep afloat.
Once my mom was back to work I thought things were going well for her. Then I noticed the phone calls. We received several calls per day from creditors: Captial One, Amazon, Home Depot, Sears, Herbergers, etc. I thought my Mom was handling things and taking care of the creditors while also paying the bills.
Several months ago my mom asked me to help pay half of the monthly mortgage payment. I was finally in a financially secure place with work and my loan repayments, so I agreed. I thought that would help keep things going.
Then three weeks ago my Mom left for work in the morning, only to return to the front door a minute later. Her car had been repossessed by the dealership. I agreed to drive her to work until we could get her car back.
Things were going well until a week later, when my Mom borrowed my car and had a front-end collision with another driver. Thankfully no one was injured, but my car was severly damaged (the insurance company is working on my claim and will likely pay me the value of my car rather than pay for repairs).
Again, I helped out and gave my mom $700 to help pay her lease and get her car out of the repo lot.
I decided at that point that I needed to step in to manage my mom's finances. She is either unwilling or incapable of managing our household. I setup an account with Mint and started linking her bank account and her debtors to the app. Then I found out how bad things really were. We are over $1500 past due on our mortgage. Our water, electric and car insurance bills are also several months past due. My mom has been cherry picking 3-4 bills to pay each month to keep services active, all the while racking up late fees and interest.
I have a lot of mixed feelings right now: anger, fear, shame, regret. I need hope. I need to know that things will get better and life will return to something nearing normalcy. If you can help me and my Mom catch up on a few of our bills that would make all the difference.
If we can get back to zero then I can catch my breath and I can start budgeting for her retirement and make sure we do not fall into this trap again.
- Lindsey Hoskins
- Christian Dueñas
- Frederick Melo
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