My FIL has recently died. My MIL has a tiny pension, but owns (outright) two properties - the 4-bed detached house she lives in and a small flat (in a much less expensive part of the UK) that is rented out. We don’t know in detail about their finances, but roughly know the rental income, which will make up the main source of funds for my MIL to live on. We think she may have about £600 pm, with smallish (several thousand) savings. She lives a frugal lifestyle, but it doesn’t seem a lot to live on. The council tax where she lives in the SE is £3000 pa, but she will now be eligible for the single person discount.
When my FIL was alive he looked after the finances and used to say “You’ll have to look after us (financially) when we are older”.
There are two children, my husband and an older brother, also married with children.
I feel sorry for my MIL. Difficult time anyway, but I can imagine that worrying about finances on top of everything else must be stressful.
My husband’s brother (from right after my FIL died) was asking whether she will move out of her house. Understandably I think she found this quite upsetting. My hubby and I talked offline and I recommended that he should just reassure her that there is no need to make any rushed decisions and definitely stay put for a few months to see what the new costs/outgoings are for living alone and also what the income will be when we understand how much pension will be passed on from my FIL. If there is a small shortfall, I said to my husband that we can make up the difference.
If there is a big shortfall, I suggested to my husband that she could always move out of the 4-bed and live in the flat (which is close to family and old friends) for several months or a year or so. In view of the size and location disparity I think she could earn £1000 extra per month, which could build a buffer and savings to then allow her to move back to the 4-bed and would enable her to live without selling the properties.
Here is the bad bit (deep breath)... I am not keen on providing long term financial support (beyond £50-100 per month) to my MIL. We have zero savings, but a relatively good income (which goes on our three kids and enormous mortgage which we took on to buy a family home just outside London). We are not profligate, have camping holidays (!) and rarely eat out, but we do provide the kids with extra opportunities (swim lessons, private music and group drama lessons etc) and I see what a huge difference this makes to their lives. It sounds really mean spirited of me not to want to help/support, but my husband and I work so hard to give the kids these extra opportunities which they really appreciate and I have not ever factored in financing my MIL through the last 20 years of her life. My husband had no financial support as a young adult (I assume money was always tight) and he worked holiday jobs and took on student loans to get through university.
So my question is does anyone have experience of this kind of situation? Any recommendations or thoughts of how to help without depriving our own kids of the extra opportunities I would like to provide for them?
How much do you need to live a comfortable life as a pensioner?
My MIL is a private person. Should I or rather my hubby raise the solution of swapping properties to rent for a short period or is it none of our business?
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