Saturday, November 10, 2007

If I had a million ducats...

I've been humming that song all morning. If you like funny music and/or Celtic music, go check out The Brobdingnagian Bards. You can even listen to many of their songs for free.

You may well be asking why I have such ideas drifting around in my head. The folks at Wise Bread want to know what their readers would do if they were given $1,000,000, tax free. Most of the people who're responding are astonishingly sensible, pretty much what you'd expect of the self-selected group who read pf blogs.

My answer is fairly typical. I'd put a couple of years worth of living expenses in FDIC insured accounts, consider buying a house, stick the rest in some sensible mix of index funds and highly rated bonds, and go on with life usual for a few years with the knowledge that I had far more flexibility. Teach for America would still be my post-graduation goal, and after that I might want to go to St. John's College and study the great books curriculum for four years before graduate school in science.

My mother know exactly how she'd spend a million. Money truly would solve many of her problems. It isn't fair that over 85% of the responsibility for caring for my grandparents has fallen on my mother instead of being shared by her four siblings, but having money would ease the burden significantly. She could hire nurses and certified nursing assistants in shifts around the clock, and her 88 year old father could move back home. She'd no longer need to deal with Medicaid and all of the accompanying bureaucracy. Having staff around at my grandparents' house would also mean there would be more people to keep an eye on my grandmother, who's still quite capable of handling most of the tasks of daily life but is getting a bit more forgetful, illogical, and sometimes combative. It's the thought of having to take care of, and possibly support, my parents a couple of decades from now that keeps me scrimping and saving.


Mrs. Micah said...

Fortunately for our family, only my grandfather has needed full-time long-term care so far. Two of my grandparents died instantly (one in the middle of the night with no warning when she was about 60, before I was born, and one instantly while out shopping just a couple years ago). Compared with my one grandfather's drawn-out descent into senility and eventual death, I think they were both lucky.

Fortunately, after his wife's death, my grandfather had done a lot of investing (in the 90s boom) which was moved to safer places when he first showed signs of senile dementia (around '98, so he didn't lose too much in the crash). So while there was some financial burden, his own estate bore most of the costs of his care. I wouldn't be surprised if it was something like a half a million dollars.

Best of luck to your mother, it does sound like she has way more responsibility put on her than there should be.

Blue said...

Hey E.C.,

I'm slowly working my ways through my archives, and just thought I would add that if your grandmother is getting combative, illogical, and forgetful, consider asking your parents to get her tested for Alzheimer's. My (now ex)step-grandfather had Alzheimer's and it made him basically a nightmare (and I wish that was an exaggeration) to be living with my grandmother, who subsequently filed for divorce. (For example, he would write checks, forget to write down that he wrote them, and then accuse my grandmother of stealing from their bank account, so on and so forth.) Best of luck! I look forward to getting through your posts - they're interesting to me as a college student with savings.