So, any advice welcome. At the moment I'm in the "try to keep my mouth shut" camp but I want to talk about it so it's a struggle
My FIL called yesterday to discuss "something important" with my spouse - turns out he wants to buy a new car. At 88. With a home equity loan (that may be a secured personal loan, since it seems to be fixed rate & fully amortizing over 5 years).
I think this is a semi-crazy idea, but not sure that it is so crazy as to require intervention (see financial narrative below). Neither my spouse nor my MIL think it's a great idea either. FIL did the same thing 4 years ago (although with interest only HELOC, which has been paid down by about 75%) and my SIL is still angry at the car dealership (and my FIL) for that one.
My in-laws have enough money to get buy, but no extra. They ask for help paying their long-term care insurance premium each year. They also give substantial amounts to charity each year (like 1/3 of their total expenses!!). Every 6-12 months my FIL raises the red flag about not having enough money, but each time in the past after going through the numbers we come to the conclusion that they do have enough money, just not a lot of extra (SS and reasonable withdrawals from savings/investments cover expenses and should for the foreseeable future).
Us kids (my spouse & his 2 sisters) are okay but none of us are financially independent yet - all have gone through high debt times & we all have paid down or paid off debt, but no one has big reserves (yet). In fact it's borderline budget busting to help with the long term care contribution.
I do...wonder about the timing (right before Thanksgiving?) - some combo of wanting to affirm that driving is still something my FIL can do (various opinions in the family on that to - my view is he's fine if he's going someplace he's familiar, otherwise my MIL better be in the car to read the road signs for him), wanting to appear vital, wanting to stir things up...he even said that they might show up in the new car for Thanksgiving (!) but talking to MIL that sounds like it won't happen. I did mention to her that we could try delaying tactics but my guess is this is a 'terrier' item (FIL won't want to give up until he gets that bone...er car).
anyway, thoughts appreciated. keeping mouth shut for now (if I repeat that enough maybe I will be able to do it!)