How to say know to a mother in law

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Kayla
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How to say know to a mother in law

Postby Kayla » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:48 pm

My Fiance and I life a frugal lifestyle. I've actually had a hobby on the side where I write a web blog for college kids trying to live cheap. As a result of this and our savings philosophy, we usually have several times what the average college student has in savings at one time. There is just one problem: keeping it there. My Fiance's mother and father are very poor at managing their finances. they make a very good living, but seem to squander it all away. They miss payments and end up with fees and overdrafts.

Then they come to us.

Yes, they usually pay it back. Sometimes on time, and sometimes in Items. (Ie: Hey, you guys said you needed a toaster, so here you go. Thats $20 less that we owe you.)

Now, I want to help them out. And Quite frankly, we only loan them what we can afford not to get back. But therein lies the problem. We can afford to give away $300, but I'd really rather not. I need a way to make them see that they aren't doing themselves justice by not handling their finances, and that we aren't making them better by giving them money.

Thanks!

Kayla

http://www.asmidgebetter.com
Low Income Life is Hard. Live www.asmidgebetter.com

Vile Merchant
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Postby Vile Merchant » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:12 pm

Sounds like you need to stop telling them that you have money in the bank. The correct answer is: 'Sorry, love to help but we're pretty strapped this month. We were actually wanting to borrow some off you'. It's not your fault they aren't prepared to live within their means.

NoBoB
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Postby NoBoB » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:01 pm

You're going to have to get your future spouse on board. As long as the child continues to enable the ongoing misbehavior of the parents, the future son/daughter-in-law has no chance.

It's too late to put the "we've-been-smart-with-money" genie back in the bottle. You're going to have to be tough -- both of you -- and make clear that your financial holdings are for the future [wedding | grandchildren | house | college | retirement | whatever], and that you can no longer allow them to delay or otherwise alter those plans.

If you both can't get on that page, you're in for some, umm, interesting times. At least you'll get a good look at how tight the apron strings are.

Jessica08
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Postby Jessica08 » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:14 am

While I do think that you need to learn to say "no", I also think that your fiance needs to sit his parents down and have a talk with them about financial responsibility. Since I assume they are not ill, and can fully support themselves, there is no reason why you should have to continuously lend them money. A parent should not expect that from their child. By continuing to help them out financially, you are not helping them.
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danielle17
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Postby danielle17 » Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:27 pm

As someone who has parents who tend to do stuff like you are describing.

one piece of advice I would give you is do NOT discuss your finances with his parents.

My parents got a whiff of the fact that my DH and I are doing well for ourselves and have a big nest egg. This led to a 2k "loan". This loan was paid back, but I didn't really like giving the loan and i felt weird about it.

After that, I never discussed my finances with my parents again - or at least I try not to. I don't want them to know about raises, savings, salaries, retirement accounts. The fact is, I may make more than they EVER have, but I have to buy a 300k house (not a 30k house) and I have to pay for my golden years, I won't have a pension or Social Security to depend on. Plus, I don't want my parents to get this weird idea that they can come to me for handouts, when they are 100% capable of living very well on their retirement incomes. My parents make a fine fixed income and there is absolutely NO reason they cannot live within their means. I would always help them out if they were really having trouble, but living within their means is their responsibility.

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Postby debtfree » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:43 pm

Jessica08 wrote:While I do think that you need to learn to say "no", I also think that your fiance needs to sit his parents down and have a talk with them about financial responsibility. Since I assume they are not ill, and can fully support themselves, there is no reason why you should have to continuously lend them money. A parent should not expect that from their child. By continuing to help them out financially, you are not helping them.


I agree with this advice. You don't need to lie to them and tell them you have no money. Next time they ask for help, offer to help them establish a budget, learn about frugality, and become wiser money managers. If they refuse to take necessary steps to better their financial situation, then that is their choice. They will soon realize you are not a 0% interest bank and will probably go elsewhere for charity. You will also learn that they don't want "help", they just want bailed out of their stupidity. If you feel guilty about not "lending" them money, then they are successfully manipulating you.
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googoo
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Postby googoo » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:20 pm

if they make a good living, then say no. Why are you trying to be nice to them, when they obviously are not being nice to you by placing you in a terrible situation? Learn to say no? hell, just say no.

Kayla
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Postby Kayla » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:31 am

Thanks For you responses. Quite honestly, My Fiance is perfectly capable of telling his mother no. But when his father comes to him (Once in tears) And literally begs us for money, he melts. We've both agreed that we won't lend them any more money- the hard part is feeling like they are really struggling and we can't help. They do make a good living, but they wrapped up all of their payments into a third mortgage on their house which means they have one extremely large mortgage payment and his mother works at a college, which means she brings in 0 income during the summer. His father works for Dow Chemical company, but is frequently "laid off".

Yeah, they have hard times, but I feel like they aren't trying enough to button down. They eat pizza hut twice a week, things like that.

So My emotional side agrees that times are tough and they are struggling. But I don't want to help them until they try to help themselves.


Kayla

http://www.asmidgebetter.com
Low Income Life is Hard. Live www.asmidgebetter.com

jkf_74
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Postby jkf_74 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:03 am

All four of you need to sit down and talk out their budget and what improvements can be made to their money management. If needed and you can afford it, offer some suport to them for a set period of time, for example you will give them $100 per month for one year (or whatever fits your budget). Let them know that that will be the end of the lending and after that, they will need to take care of their finances.

googoo
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Postby googoo » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:44 pm

Kayla wrote:Thanks For you responses. Quite honestly, My Fiance is perfectly capable of telling his mother no. But when his father comes to him (Once in tears) And literally begs us for money, he melts. We've both agreed that we won't lend them any more money- the hard part is feeling like they are really struggling and we can't help. They do make a good living, but they wrapped up all of their payments into a third mortgage on their house which means they have one extremely large mortgage payment and his mother works at a college, which means she brings in 0 income during the summer. His father works for Dow Chemical company, but is frequently "laid off".

Yeah, they have hard times, but I feel like they aren't trying enough to button down. They eat pizza hut twice a week, things like that.

So My emotional side agrees that times are tough and they are struggling. But I don't want to help them until they try to help themselves.


Kayla

http://www.asmidgebetter.com


if you can't say no at $20, you definitely won't be able to say no when it is a few thousand dollars and you are cashing out your 401k to help, because you melt. they obviously do not care that they are putting you in this position, nor do they feel guilty about it. it's not a matter of them struggling, because they obviously could be doing fine, but they have chose not to. Why should you have to make up for the bad choices they made? You don't. if you want to help them, then help them help themselves. say no. if they want help, have a sit down and discuss finances. chances are they won't be receptive. you also don't know their entire story, b/c chances are they won't tell you the entire story.

Vile Merchant
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Postby Vile Merchant » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:48 am

Kayla wrote:They eat pizza hut twice a week, things like that.


Wow. What does that cost them vs eating at home those nights? 20 bucks? I doubt pizza hut is the cause of their problems :P

BTW, people tend to exhaust their own personal credit before they come crying to relatives. As they earn a good living, it's reasonable to suggest they've had plenty of access to credit and have probably run up 10 or 20K in CC/store card debt etc. Do they have car loans? Tell them you won't help unless they sell the cars and buy $2K beaters. What i'm getting at is, by loaning them money you might be throwing good money after bad. If they've actually got themselves into an unrecoverable position there is absolutely no point in helping them. Why lend them money to make payments on something that will eventually be repossessed because they can't actually afford it?

maat55
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Postby maat55 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:42 pm

I would get a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and give it to them with a card that says: Please read this book, you have the tools you need for financial freedom, this book will tell you how to use them.

If they ever come to you again for money, tell them NO. Read the book I gave you.

kombat
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Postby kombat » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:27 am

The risk you run in helping them with money is that it could drive your family apart. If they come to you crying for money with a convincing sob story, and you relent and give them money, then the next time you see them spend on anything that isn't an absolute essential (in your opinion), you're going to feel resentful. You might keep it bottled up and not say anything, but the feeling will be there. And every time they go to the movies or buy a video game for their kid or take a trip to visit a relative (gas is expensive, you know), the feelings will fester a little more. Eventually, it might boil over and you'll say something. Or you might succeed in keeping them contained. But it doesn't matter - the problem is that you have those feelings, and they won't go away until they pay you back (which of course will never happen).

So the next time they ask you for money, say "no," but tell them why. Tell them you love them, and you don't want money to poison your relationship and foster feelings of resentment. Offer them all the (non-monetary) help they want, designing budgets, helping them cook healthy, cheap meals, whatever. But if you keep giving them money, they will not fix their ways, and it will split your family apart.

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Postby Cleverbeans » Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:13 pm

kombat wrote:So the next time they ask you for money, say "no," but tell them why.


I second this opinion with the amendment that you tell them today rather then the next time they ask for money. This has two advantages, firstly if your Fiance has trouble saying no when his dad comes by in desperation you avoid this situation, since they aren't desperate yet. Secondly, it gives you some time to talk them through changing their habits. Maybe sit down with them and show them how to make a budget, or something simple like the envelope system. There are a number of good books you can get them too if you think they'll read it. I find it much easier to say no to someone if I've been giving them value through knowledge and I'm confident they can take care of themselves.

HollyP
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Postby HollyP » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:13 pm

I didn't know my brother-in-law has a fiancee!

Seriously, this could almost be my in-laws. Basically, you and your fiancee need to have a heart to heart about this subject. If you aren't on the same page, you should re-evaluate your decision to marry him. I know that sounds harsh, but this is an issue that will go on and on, eating at your relationship with him. My husband and I never argue about how we spend money in our household, but we have periods when we fight a lot about how his family spends money.

In our case, what seems to work for both of us is to put a little bit of money into a savings account each month, so that we have something budgeted on hand for the next time his family has a financial emergency. And over and over, I need to fight the temptation to harp on the frivolous things we do without that the ILs buy. No matter how crazy these people and their priorities seem, they are still the people that my husband loves dearly. If I criticize them, it only hurts him.

Good luck.


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