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Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 2/3/2009 1:37 AM (GMT -7)   
People here have seen - well ... almost everything.  Maybe I can get some opinions on this. 
I'm sure a lot of people here have had to downsize due to medical things affecting ability to work.  I'm on short term disability and I'm grateful that my employer has both long and short term plans.  Starting next month, the way the STD plan is structured, I'll be taking a large cut in pay.  I'm sure this is a familiar story to many.
But my question is about our 19 yr old daughter.  She is in school "sorta".  She hasn't put the whole work/ expenses/ being realistic thing together yet.  I didn't expect to reach my limit when i did, so there wasn't any planning for my current disability.  I don't wish to be gloomy or be a negative thinker .... but the effects of this Lyme thing could stretch on indefinitely.  So ... she needs to know where we're at and how this affects her - some drastic changes from our current financial situation. 
I'm thinking the best thing to do is just sit down with her and show her what the income and expenses are.  Income minus house payment, utilities, food, gas ... you know the drill.  There won't be anything left over after the basics and probably we're headed to where she will have to stop relying on mom and dad and provide more for herself.  She's been thinking she has plenty of time on stuff and that we could mostly pay her school expenses, but ...  Obviously she's not being kicked out or anything, but I'm not sure we can carry her financially for another few years and pay tuition etc.  at an expensive school.  We live in the Seattle area which is expensive.  Nothing we can do about that in the short term and it'll probably use up some retirement savings to keep going while we see what improvements we may get from my Lyme treatment.. 
Have any of you done this with older kids?  Any advice?  I like to be upfront about things and let people know what's going on.  I'm afraid she'll be overwhelmed.  I've been hinting at downsizing, but this will be the first really serious talk.
My wife is a wonderful person, but she developed a seizure disorder almost ten years ago.  By the time we got it figured out and got them controlled, the repeated 'absence' seizures really took a toll on her.  I don't think she can work a lot more hours or do more demanding work than her current part time job.
If this really turns into a permanent thing, we could move to a less expensive area of the country where a much smaller income would go a lot further.  I suppose we could sell the house or something.  But selling this house and getting one paid off in a lower cost of living area is a big part of the retirement plan.
And thanks for "listening".  Reading this forum is something I always look forward to every day.  If anyone has some ideas or insight on this stuff, I know it will be you guys. 
Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..."  (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)

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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2858
   Posted 2/3/2009 4:53 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Rich....I don't 'know' you but you sound like a patient, kind and pragmatic man and I think you have it in you to sit down with your daughter and tell her 'how it is'.  I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try to factor in college expenses in this uncertain, floundering economy, with or without the diseases we are all battling.  My husband and I are in our early sixties and he finally 'sat me down' and showed me our so called portfolio...we have now lost over half of our retirement fund in the stock market and we are too old to recapture what we have lost.  So...I got 'the talk' you probably should have with your daughter.  I knew things were bad...all you have to do is turn on the news for five minutes to watch those little red arrows pointing straight towards financial Hell.  We will have to do what it takes to survive and once upon a time we joked about which one of our children we would live with in our old age but now it has become a reality.

Hopefully, your daughter will see it in black and white and understand what a rough ride it might be.  Maybe you could include her in the decision making...she might surprise you!  So many of us on this forum have had to down size due to finances and the limits this disorder puts on us. It just is what it is.

I wish you luck...change isn't always a bad thing.  My children are grown but my grand daughters who are mere toddlers now know they can't walk through a store anymore and point to things they want and expect to have it thrown in the cart.  They 'get it' and I'm sure your daughter will too.




fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 1014
   Posted 2/3/2009 7:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rich!
This is a difficult situation. My heart goes out to you. As for the Lyme thing. If you read my bio under my signature, I had 4 bouts with Lyme.. I did survive and went on to have a reasonably "normal life" afterwards. Yes, it took time and life was a lot harder after the Lyme, I got tired more easily and so on. Hopefully you'll come through this with no problems.
As for your daughter, I would let her know how it is. My dad went broke when I was a little younger than her. Dad had put all of my older brothers through college but when it was my turn there was no $$ left. So I had to do it on my own. It was hard times. I decided to go to a community school and wound up taking a cosmetology course. I did very well in that business for 25 years. And I think I learned how to be a hard worker and to handle money better than other kids who's parents gave them "everything". She needs to understand what's going on, no kid wants to think they did something to create family problems. If you show it to her in black and white, hopefully she'll get it.
Wishing you all the best,
Fibormyalgia, 4x Lyme Disease Survivor, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Dyslexia, 2 Lumbar Disk Herniations, Allergies, Bi-lateral Carpal Tunnel. 
Meds = Elavil, Tramadol, Lipitor
"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - author unknown

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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17526
   Posted 2/3/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Rich!  Well, I know this wasn't in your plans.  My husband and I were paying for our children's education and one one was not doing their job in school so we pulled them out.  Shortly after that, my husband died suddenly.  This child wanted to go back to school but I had them take out a student loan to go back.  Because the money was coming out of their pocket, they started getting straight "A's".
Many kids are taking out student loans to go to school.  Many others are taking their classes either at community colleges or on line.  It may not have the prestige that being on campus has but the degree is just as good.  (Some may beg to differ with that last statement but I know several people that have wonderful jobs that got their degrees on line.) 
You need to think of your and your wife's future too.  So I agree with the others that say you need to sit down and explain what is going on.  Your daughter has her whole life ahead of her to earn money, save for her retirement, etc.  Your time is far more limited.  You shouldn't feel guilty that you can't pay for her education.  Everyone is having financial problems right now...even those without all the health expenses.  And, Rich, I could have paid for my child's college but chose not to because I felt they needed to learn some sense of responsibility at the time.  
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1771
   Posted 2/3/2009 8:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rich.  I have a teenage daughter who will soon be college bound, so I have an idea where you are coming from.  Times are tough for us right now too (just like everyone, unfortunately), and we've already begun talking to our daughter about it.
We are planning to downsize too, and my daughter will have to give up her "own" bathroom, which is a source of great distress to her eyes (I grew up in a home with 3 women and one bathroom - I think she will survive :-) ).
We've also told her that she will have to contribute to her education, either by working, getting loans, or getting a scholarship.  The way we see it, she can borrow money for her education, but we can't borrow for retirement.  I've joked with her that it will be easier for her to borrow for school than to have to take care of us financially when we are older (if we go broke paying for college).
Your daughter is an adult, and hopefully she will understand if things are presented to her in black and white. If she is treated like an adult, she may rise to the occasion. As you said, you aren't "kicking her out," and I thing it's perfectly reasonable to expect her to carry some of her own weight. I think she is very fortunate to have such understanding, caring, giving parents.
I wish you the best.  It's a tough thing to have to expose our kids to the realities of life, when all we want to do is shelter and protect them....
Hugs - Austen
"There is no charm equal to tenderness of  heart." - Jane Austen
Fibromyalgia, 2 back surgeries, Meniere's Disease, 30+ kidney stones, GERD, IBS, Asthma, Allergies, Endometriosis, Heart Arrythmia, Myofascial Pain, TMJ.

Irish Babe
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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1380
   Posted 2/3/2009 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi, Rich. When I was growing up, my parents explained to me that we didn't have a lot of money and we had to earn things. We were all told that if we wanted a 'simple' wedding at home, that was fine, but if we wanted a 'reception', we would have to pay for it. I went to college and I paid for that, I worked f/t, school f/t, student loan and scholarship. When my DH and I were planning to marry, WE saved our money and paid for everything, had a honeymoon and saved money for down payment for our house. My parents weren't unkind, they just couldn't afford to pay all that money. The first two yrs I went to a county college, I saved my money to make sure I could go to the college I wanted for my degree. Excellent school and I did very well there. My parents would not have been able to swing that at the time.

I have 3 grown children, since they were young, we explained we were not in a position to pay for college/wedding. My children all got jobs, put money away for cars and began paying for college. My DD is still in school and takes these classes on line, as she works all day. The co she works for sponsers her for these business classes (reimburse) after she completes & passes the classes. Previously, she and the boys went to the same county college I attented yrs ago.

My two sisters were upset when my parents told them they would have to take care of the expenses of college/wedding. But I figured I was old enough to make these 'adult' choices, I was old enough to pay for the things I wanted. I am proud of the fact I did what I wanted to do and responsible enough to pay for it.

You and your wife have a lot of things going on in your lives, health wise and w/ the economy, your DD needs to understand how the world is right now. I'm sure she will understand and do her part.

God bless.  Alice.

stitching star
Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 2/3/2009 11:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Sit down and be straight with her. Show her the figures, the budget, and tell her openly that no more new clothes, tuition at expensive schools, no more anything but basic food and a place to live as long as she respects you, your wife and your home. Anything else she can pay for herself. Attempts to manipulate $$ out of one parent or the other will result in her being expected to perform extra chores to benefit the family.

Be SURE to keep long range planning for you and your wife in mind.
SAHM, kids are the light of my life
dh of 17 yrs, my sweetie
ds 16yo, great kid, Sr. in high school
dd 13yo, my reward, homeschooled
ds 8yo, amazing kid, great magician
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     -Jorges Luis Borges

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 532
   Posted 2/3/2009 2:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Rich I am sorry about your delemia My neighbor just spent 40,000.00 on her oldest daughters wedding and is getting ready to send another one off to Philadelphia school of Science. My neighbor just lost her job due to the economey. She doesnt know how she is going to pay for her daughter to go to school.My thoughts are that the school is 45minutes away that she could commute to save money. They have applied for a home equity loan and were denied because they already have a loan for the wedding. My husband and I were talking because we are not to far away from sending our kids to college. If I can help them I will but I refuse to put myself at jeoperdy for my children. I have told them to prepare for a community school for there first 2 years and then transfer if they want. They will be expected to work a part time job to help pay for clothing gas car act... My son will be 16 soon and is begging us to buy him a car I refuse too I have told him for 3 years to save birthday christmas ect... money for a car he did not and now he cant afford a car. He will be working a parttime job this summer (he makes more there a week than I do in a week)So he will either save for a car or will not have a car. Kids need to know that this is what you are doing and why. I refuse to answer my kids with because I said so They need the truth.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 2/3/2009 2:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for the feedback.  I also put myself through school and paid my own way after high school.  My step daughter has sorta been an "only child" cause all the other kids are so much older.  There are some family dynamics here I'm trying to be sensitive to.  My wife was divorced shortly after my daughter was born - there are some on-going guilt issues and all that to work through.  (We've been married 13 yrs. :-) )
I "did the math" and have the numbers together now.  shocked    It's not pretty.  Very basic expenses would equal the reduced ST disability income.  And when did each month ever go exactly according to plan.? 
I'll sit down with my daughter and "show her the math".
Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..."  (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 2/3/2009 5:04 PM (GMT -7)   
A woman my daughter goes to college with is a "professional scholarship getter". She applies for every scholarship she is remotely qualified for. She thinks of it as her job. She gets enough to pay for her tuition, books, apartment, car, and all living expenses at our state university. She's a decent student but not perfect.

My daughter gets enough to pay for her tuition and books. There is money out there if you are willing to put some work into it. It's worth a shot.

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Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 1156
   Posted 2/3/2009 9:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a single parent with three children. My eldest son attends Rutger's University and my youngest tow will attend our community college system. My first child began at Bellevue Community College before transferring, the other two will probably do the same. In addition, I am putting myself through grad school.

Since your income is decreasing, your child might qualify for student loans for her private school. She can also be declared and independent student if she is self supporting and qualify.

She needs to go to her financial aid office and let them know about the change in family circumstances, schools like Seattle University are pretty good about helping out their students (I do not know if she attends there or not, this is just an example).

If not, then she goes to the CC if she wants to stay a student. Coming out of school makes no sense because of the job freezes here.

Actually, Washington has many ways a student can attend school comfortably. all of the community colleges offer online degrees and we even have 4 year schools that do so also.

My son gets through school with loans, scholarship and money. I have sacrificed to keep him in but that was my perogative. I wanted to be more supportive of my children than was done for me. HOwever, it was community college first. lol

You can find a way. Being honest with her will clear the way for her to find methods of staying in school. Oh, a great scholarship engine is fast web.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 376
   Posted 2/4/2009 12:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again .... with Fog it's always good to get other opinions (my wife and I have been talking about this quite a bit).  Yeah .... sat down with my daughter and went over all the finances.  A few tears shed all around.  Always hard to change expectations.  Ugh ... don't know if it was all the extra concentration but the Herx Monster has me tonite. sad
I'm always amazed at what a small world it is.  My daughter was going to WWU.  BCC is a very realistic alternative.  lol ... we've probably passed over at the Mall and never knew it  :-)
Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..."  (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)

MT Lady
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 969
   Posted 2/4/2009 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rich,
I see you've already had the talk, but thought I'd add my two cents, for whatever it is worth.

I have three sons, well, one is mine, and two step-sons, but I've been married for almost 30 years, so I have "raised" the boys since they were very young.

When it was time for college, two of the three wanted private schools. Times were different then, they are in their 30s now, but still trying to put two through private colleges was very difficult...they are two years' apart. So, we had the talk, and explained what we could afford to do. They both took out student loans. Then, after they graduated, they both decided to go to graduate school, one became a lawyer and one a doctor.

The lawyer, who is my biological son, about ten years' ago, one day had a conversation with me and told me that he was so happy that we asked him to pay a portion of his college. He said the guys he knew that had a "free ride" were the ones that weren't as motivated to do well. It certainly warmed my heart to hear him say that.

I wish you well,

Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, scoliosis, back problems, hypothyroidism.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 2/4/2009 11:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rich,

I have a 20 year old in college and a 17 year old that will be there in two years. I understand parenting from guilt, as I have been divorced (now remarried). My kids know that there isn't alot of money to go around, and now things are even tighter. I, too, just got my long term disability approved, thank goodness. My husband is a pastor and we were just informed that we are being moved in June. This means we have to sell our house in this terrible housing market. Ugh.

Anyway, my 20 year old works about 25-30 hours a week and goes to school full time. She does get some financial aid, but also is taking out student loans. I pay the car insurance on her car; she makes the payments. She gets frustrated with professors who don't give her "value" for her money! My part time job at home is couponing, and I get alot of things for free or near free. She gets really excited when she comes home and "shops" in my stockpile of health and beauty items, cleaning supplies, etc. I know that she will be capable of taking care of herself in this world, and she has alot of pride in what she is doing as a result of doing so much of it on her own.

I hope that you take some encouragement from my situation - by the way, a little hard work never hurt anyone!
Still learning how to manage my Fibromylagia, and all the lovely gifts it brings.   
I had severe spinal stenosis, had fusion done on C5-7, and my life has changed. 

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