Thursday, April 17, 2008

To celebrate my 100th blog post, I went to Staples and bought some stationary. No joke. And it makes me happier than I would've been with a cake. I am such a dork. Seriously. I bought new labels for my label-maker, some new dividers, a couple foders and some binder ring-things. I am very happy.

On a more depressing note, my parents are taking out another line of credit. Another. Sigh. I have no idea how much debt they are in, but I'm sure it's more than they should be when they are in their late-40's. We've got two homes, one of which is my grandfather's home that we currently rent out. I know they've got a HELOC or mortgage (or maybe both? Eek) on that one, as well as the home we are currently in. We own one 1999 Chrysler Intrepid that they bought brand new and a 1989 Mecury Tracer that we bought for $100 at an auction - and it's been working (okay) for 2 years now. But it's close to dying.

The problem is, is my Dad recently started a new career. He sells insurance and life insurance and all sorts of stuff. He works for a company called World Financial Group. He started there 2 years ago and he's making okay money I think. The problem is, is that he doesn't make steady money. The aim of the game is to get a team of people around you, who then get a team around them, and since everyone above you takes a cut of your profits, the plan is to get a big enough team together that you earn money eventually by doing nothing. To me it sounds like a pyramid scheme, but apparently it's not. He explained it to the once, but I didn't really take it in.

Another problem: he hasn't made any money in 6 months. Yep. 6 months. Half a year. For half a year we've been living as a family of 4 on my mother's customer service at a grocery store salary. She makes something like $27 an hour - which isn't bad, but due to taxes and union dues, she's pulling in about as much as I am.

I wish I could invite Gail from Til Debt do us Part over to our house to smack my parents around and make them live on cash and jars. I hate seeing my mom stressed out about money. I think that she feels as though my Dad does everything he wants and leaves her to clean up the mess. He always says that It'll be okay, but I think she has a hard time believing it anymore. She hates her job, and I mean hate. When she drops me off at the train station she just loathes heading off to her job, and I hate seeing her like that.

They have a plan, sort of. My uncle, his wife and their children are visiting us from Ontario for the summer. He is a contractor, and a very good one at that, so we're paying him to do some work around the house. He'll be switching out all the windows, re-doing the roof, the siding, a new deck, painting the outside, maybe some back yard work, hauling stuff around, etc. My mom said that for basically doing whatever we want all summer, we'd be paying him $16,000. Seems like a lot of money, but this guy is a machine. He'll re-build a deck in one day. It's insane.

So, he'll be doing that stuff in the summer. Then, between the fall and next spring they will be bringing in people (or maybe doing it themselves) to fix up the bathroom (needs a new floor and some updating), and the kitchen - it's very small and needs major reno's, probably in the area of $5,000 - $10,000. Then, next spring they will sell the house that they are currently living in and move into my grandfather's old house. Currently the house we live in is valued at $450,000, but it will need some major reno's in order to sell for that much. At the same time, we've got a kick ass location (within walking distance: 3 grocery stores, 1 movie store, a mall, 2 train stations and bunch of other stores, a park, the river, and main roads), without being noisy (we're the corner lot of a cul-de-sac).

I guess the thing with Canadian law is that if you sell a home that isn't your main residence, you get nailed for taxes pretty bad. So they are going to stay in that other home until it is officially "their main home" and then, in turn, sell that one. That one also has a great location, being blocks away from the river and a main road directly into downtown, however, seeing as my grandfather built it, and not exceptionally well, it's falling apart. Pretty badly.

My parents want to retire to Nova Scotia and live in a little home on a nice, rocky, windswept cliff. Sounds nice to me, and while the land is cheap, it's starting to climb and it won't be too long before that land is expensive, too.

I just hope that they won't have tons of debt when they decide to retire. I hope I hope I hope. It's scary for me, I can't imagine how they feel. My dad is a lot like me, in that when we get stressed we just ignore the problem. My mom gets wound up easily, though, so I know it's hard.

On one hand, I'd love to sit down with my parents, and go through all their debt and add it up and yell at them, just like Gail would. But at the same time, it's not my place, and it would feel weird. It's their life, and they chose to live it that way. Sometimes I wish I could win the lottery just so I could give it all to them and take care of their debt. It's rough.


Esme said...

Congrats on your 100th post!

I hear you on the parents. I know you want to help but it's hard because it's family.

Lilo said...

I love office supplies too.
Good luck with your parents' financial situation! I hope they get it sorted out fast.

Canadian Saver said...

Wow, sounds complicated for your parents. Seems like you share a lot of the stress with your mom... I hope things work out for all of you guys... thanks for sharing this with us.