Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tough love for relatives who ask for money?

What do you do when a relative asks for money?

I have a friend who loaded a brother-in-law $300,000. He went into bankruptcy and never paid it back. The money was part of their retirement savings. They have jumped through legal hoops and there is little hope.

I know somebody who mortgaged their house to pay for a daughter's legal fees. She was a pharmacist and was doing drugs. She was on probation for manslaughter. She had shot and killed her boyfriend who was abusing her. When she got caught on the drug charge, she had to serve time for both crimes. The family eventually went into tough-love mode. They had given her everything they could give, and finally had to let her fall.

I just had a relative ask me for money. We didn't talk for 13 years...since the last time she asked me for money. I have been talking to her again for a few months, and she asked for money again. I feel terrible about saying no. I told her we couldn't afford it, that we have two children in college and a third in a private high school. I am afraid that the next time she asks for money, she will not talk to me again for another 13 years.

If I had a lot of money, I would give it to her, so she would never hurt for money again. I would buy her a house and set up a trust fund, and put her children through college. Right now I am putting my children through college and saving for retirement. I feel just terrible saying no. I feel terrible because I have so much more than she has.


Lelia said...

Sorry for you to be in that spot. My motto is "Famiy First" -- and that means OUR FAMILY. In this day & age, there really isn't any extra.

Lei/cottontimer said...

My mom shared a wonderful Chinese saying that addresses exactly this situation (pardon the poor translation) -

"Rescue people from emergencies, don't rescue them from neediness."

I don't know what the situation with your relative is exactly but if they were seriously out of food to eat, then you could give them some money so as to prevent them from starving. But if they need money so as to buy a new car, buy more new clothes, or whatever they could survive without, it is not your responsibility. You worked for what you had and have to take care of yourself first. Life isn't fair and not everybody gets to have a corporate jet.

Hope I'm not too out of line.