When I first realised that Mum needed more sheltered/assisted accommodation, I worried how we were going to pay for it. True, Mum had a reasonably generous pension coming in each month from my Dad's old firm which topped up her finances nicely. But it seemed that every home I looked at charged almost double her income... and most of them were places I wasn't happy to show Mum anyway. I realised that I was going to have to sell her apartment and use the proceeds to pay for the shortfall each month. After a few selfish moments where I lamented my vanishing inheritance, I set to finding the best place for Mum at whatever the cost.
As my entries from last year show, I was lucky to find a place that not only surpassed all the other 'standard' and corporate homes I looked at but was also a little cheaper. We're still losing around £160 per week on top of Mum's pension, but that's a whole lot better than losing another £350 every week. Okay, I'll stop dancing around it - the place costs £560 per week and Mum's income is around £400.
Since December, I've calculated that the proceeds from selling Mum's apartment ought to see her alright for another 20 years. Of course, if her money runs out sooner, the State would step in to make up the difference (this is where you start commenting bitterly, those of you from the US). It's a comfortable situation for Mum and that's all that is important, but I'm aware of the irony that she'd get the same level of care if she had nothing (6 out of the 8 people in her household don't pay a penny) and that's all my Dad's hard-earned cash disappearing down the drain.
So I believed for the last 5 months. But then a couple of weeks ago I fell to chatting with a distant relative about Mum's situation.
"You need to buy a flat or a house with the money and the rent will pay for the shortfall," she said.
I'm such an idiot. Why didn't I think of that? I rent out a house myself, so it should have been obvious. The rent raised could cover the shortfall and we would still have the asset at the end!
I'm posting this not just to how dense I can be, but as an option for those in my situation. It's currently my intention to do something like this when I get around to clearing Mum's apartment and selling it (falling market permitting!)
It could be that there's a flaw in the plan. Judging by my past performance, I ought to see it by August.