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Old 08-15-2016, 05:34 AM   #61
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Interesting replies and hard to disagree with the different sediment. Once the dust settles, I am sure the family contribution $$ will come down as there are other sources (I.e. Gofundme) in play. None the less, the intent is to help family members get their feet steady in a crisis and not indulge/enable them... that is the intent. I have been thru this slippery slope with my mother before so am very aware of the sensitivities involved here. None the less, some of the comments raise other issues probably relevant to those on this site...

- Do you make part of your pre-RE and/or post-RE budget an allowance for charitable contributions? While I am 3 yrs or so from FIRE, this is part of my budget so I suppose choosing to give some of these $$ hopefully prudently to my BIL is easier for me and does not jeopardize my RE. As people who have planned and been financially responsible their whole life, I think it is easy to have a "screw you" attitude towards those who may have been irresponsible and "you ain't getting any of mine"... easy trap sometimes for us all to get on our high horse... just sayen something to be aware of.
- How have you dealt with the inequities of family members contributing in a financial crisis? How has it affected your relationships going forward? Having been thru this before, there are probably 2 schools of thought... 1) you give what you can because you can/want to and don't worry about everyone else, 2) it should be equitable in either a combination of $$/sweat equity. The challenge is everyone has a different opinion and these different positions can cause major long term rifts in a family.

Lots of dynamics here, but I would suggest our journey to FI is not all about us. That said, we have worked hard all these years to be self sufficient and don't want to jeopardize our futures. It's obviously personal to all of us.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:29 AM   #62
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- Do you make part of your pre-RE and/or post-RE budget an allowance for charitable contributions? While I am 3 yrs or so from FIRE, this is part of my budget so I suppose choosing to give some of these $$ hopefully prudently to my BIL is easier for me and does not jeopardize my RE.
Is there a way to funnel your portion (of assistance to your BIL) through a charitable organization to ensure you get a tax deduction? Maybe thru their church?

Good Luck DawgMan. No easy solution here. Best of luck to you and your extended family.
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Old 08-15-2016, 07:09 AM   #63
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Very admirable of you dawgman and hopefully it will get better for your BIL. It's a very tough situation to be in I am sure?
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Old 08-15-2016, 08:26 AM   #64
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Well DawgMan, I don't know if anyone here said "Screw you" to the family, and in fact not giving cash directly is not saying "Screw you". There are many programs out there to help families in these situations. I would devote my time to cutting through red tape and finding out which programs might help them. The hoops involved can be time consuming and hard for someone dealing with devastating health news. Contact the county they live in for more ideas.

With no assets they should be able to get on a food stamp program and such. I'd give them a 1000 dollar gift card to the local grocery store and a gas card to the local gas station. Make sure they file a timely SSI app and follow up for them. One generous family member might deposit the amount of the house payment and utility bills into the checking account every month.
My comment was I just wouldn't give them a 100K lifestyle, they didn't make good money decisions when times were good, I wouldn't expect to suddenly start under such dire circumstances.

As to your family if you all are good communicators I would have a face to face without the affected family present. Try to get some numbers and try to agree on a list of Must haves, house, food, gas, cell phones nice to haves, a restaurant meal ,cable and a list of don't need it at this time...new clothes, stuff for the house and work your way down by how much money everyone is comfortable contributing. This will give the hurting family some dignity relieve some pressure over monthly bills and a chance for them to figure whats really important to them. As far as the kids in college the family needs to work things out for themselves....it won't be easy they might be running half a dozen cars and have a 300 or 400 hundred dollar a month cell phone bill. Deferrals are common in colleges with family crisis like this and would stop a lot of the money bleeding.

Good luck, but always keep in mind this could permanent for this family and you need to temper your desire to help with your own well being.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:14 AM   #65
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If you can get all of the family who is contributing to agree to do something like this>
Draw up a contract that states in order to receive any assistance he has to do the following: 1) get older kids home now, take a semester off and get a job and/or go to local school and live at home, 2) remove kids from private school and put in public. Etc.....
Not really any different than the requirements banks put on someone with bad debt to get a loan.
+1
Give them 6 months to live in denial (have to be reasonable), then set out the many conditions until/if he returns to normal. If you don't do it now, it will be harder later.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:19 AM   #66
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+1
Give them 6 months to live in denial (have to be reasonable), then set out the many conditions until/if he returns to normal. If you don't do it now, it will be harder later.
Don't you think giving the amount needed for necessities without writing down all the things you won't pay for is a little bit kinder? In your scenario you are the bad guy taking thing away from them. The other method lets them kind of figure out on their own what they need to cut. They have a roof over their heads, gas, food and they get to make the choices which gives them a better chance of long term success and leaves them some dignity.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:36 AM   #67
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Don't you think giving the amount needed for necessities without writing down all the things you won't pay for is a little bit kinder? In your scenario you are the bad guy taking thing away from them. The other method lets them kind of figure out on their own what they need to cut. They have a roof over their heads, gas, food and they get to make the choices which gives them a better chance of long term success and leaves them some dignity.
You are assuming they know what are necessities. Apparently having an emergency fund is certainly not a necessity to them. I also was helping family get over a financial emergency (ie paying their overdue bills). I stopped when I realized there was nothing they did not consider a need. They needed some time to get humbler and realize they could not afford the lifestyle they had grown accustomed to. Having the electricity turned off for a day also made their teenage children realize there was a problem.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:48 AM   #68
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You are assuming they know what are necessities. Apparently having an emergency fund is certainly not a necessity to them. I also was helping family get over a financial emergency (ie paying their overdue bills). I stopped when I realized there was nothing they did not consider a need. They needed some time to get humbler and realize they could not afford the lifestyle they had grown accustomed to. Having the electricity turned off for a day also made their teenage children realize there was a problem.


This has nothing to do with the OP... but where I used to work the boss was very religious and would help out people in his church... one day he was complaining about this woman he had helped by buying stuff for her... a month later she asked for more.... and then again... he blew a gasket when her washer broke and she asked him to buy her a new one!!!

Some people are really good at getting others to pay their way... you know, make you feel sad for them.... they are users....

As I said, I do not put the BIL in this category as they paid their own way for their life style.... but things have changed and so will their life style...
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:50 AM   #69
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You are assuming they know what are necessities. Apparently having an emergency fund is certainly not a necessity to them. I also was helping family get over a financial emergency (ie paying their overdue bills). I stopped when I realized there was nothing they did not consider a need. They needed some time to get humbler and realize they could not afford the lifestyle they had grown accustomed to. Having the electricity turned off for a day also made their teenage children realize there was a problem.
Well, the person giving the money would decide what is a necessity and the receiving family needs to take it from there. Just give the set amount of money without getting into disagreements about this.Going over someones spending line by line and saying something is wasteful, just makes people defensive and stuck in their position.This turns the giving person into the "bad guy" which really ticks you off when you are saving someones bacon.
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:02 AM   #70
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The sad reality is that this is part of our culture so the situation isn't all that unusual. According to the article below, 1/4 of high income people live paycheck to paycheck. I wish I could think of a good solution. Obviously, the problem to be solved is changing the behavior mindset about money. My only advice is to that any help should go towards helping to solving the problem. Easy to say but hard to do based on my personal experiences.


How to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle

Nielsen: Even Many High Earners Live Paycheck To Paycheck
AUGUST 6, 2015 • TED KNUTSON
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It’s not just the poor and middle America who find it hard to save for a rainy day -- or retirement. One out of every four families making $150,000 a year or more is living paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey by Nielsen Global Consumer Insights.

The number increases to roughly one out of every three for households earning $50,000 to $100,000 and one of every two for those taking in $49,999 and below.
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:25 AM   #71
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DawgMan - Have somewhat walked a mile in your shoes with family in the past (and still do with a couple siblings). It was tragedy for siblings that exposed the lack of sound financial planning. One really made the effort to turn things around earlier in life and the other still hasn't figured it out. Helped both financially throughout the years, but stopped financial aid to the one who won't help themself (still gets assistance from family members). Over the years, it "was" like watching a car drive off a cliff. Always in trouble, and never any plan to resolve issues other than money.

As a family, we are all still friendly to each other, but the hopeless one is approaching the age where gainful employment is no longer an option (doesn't work now) - living with one of us is not desirable either (but does now - temporarily living with one of us and making life miserable for that family).

I know things unfortunately will have to change for your SIL/BIL, but doesn't appear that they have a sound financial plan/plan of action - other than getting $100K of family money to continue support for their current lifestyle - and "maybe" getting out of that wheelchair and getting a six? figure job again (hard to pull off when you're already in your mid 50s and in a limited field of work).

Giving financial assistance (never have been paid back and didn't expect it) has never solved the problem in our family, but taking control of your own situation and turning things around did for one of us (and the other will always be a burden).
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Old 08-15-2016, 12:30 PM   #72
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It's one thing to help someone get past a "temporary" setback. Having "helped" my ex-DW (the D doesn't stand for "dear"...) many times while my son was young, it soon became obvious that the problem wasn't temporary...
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Old 08-15-2016, 01:02 PM   #73
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Also he won't qualify for SSDI unless a doctor says he is expected to have a permanent disability that will last more then 12 months. If the doc says he might get better in 12 months he will not be eligible until that time has passed and he is not better.
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Old 08-15-2016, 01:44 PM   #74
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Possibly I missed the cause of the accident, but any chance of insurance money from that ?
Even if it was his wife that pushed him off the roof, it could possibly qualify.
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:34 PM   #75
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Fast forward today... this accident to my BIL has totally exposed their financial situation. They have some, but little NW in home, $15k in credit card debt, no savings/RE acct. Large family on my DW side and we will all be contributing $$ to bridge the next 12 -18 months until we know more. Both my BIL and SIL have their head in the sand and think everything will just work out. Even if he gets 100% back, they are driving off a financial cliff and refuse to see it regardless of any sound family advice. Frustrating, heart breaking none the less, but this is probably more typical than any of us want to believe.
A few thoughts rumbling around the rock I call a head.
Some times falling off a cliff is a good thing. I don't know folks like this but my brother is a recovery drug addict (10years clean) and fully admits that he finally decided to get his act together when he fell of his cliff and hit rock bottom. when my dad tossed him out and no other family would bail him out, he found himself sleeping in a garbage bin, that's when his Epiphany.

Maybe forcing their head out of the sand would do more good.

On a general note, I give very few folks "cash" gifts. I have a lot of nieces and nephews that are college students so I'm always sending food or restaurant gift cards.
My elder relatives are all on ss and medicare and don't spend much.
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:54 PM   #76
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Love the passion of the thread despite the fact I am knee deep in it. As mentioned earlier, this is unfortunately not my first rodeo in one of these family crisis involving financial assistance. It's real easy to say what should be done when you are not in it, but when real relationships are involved, it's never black& white. I am absolutely against enabling and know what I want the mission to be of any $$ I contribute to the kiddy. There is a human side to all of this that involves compassion for our fellow man. Again, right there with everyone on enabling, but I would suggest compassion is part of the equation. Sometimes we provide charity in good faith that someone will see the light and change their ways, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. I think what most of us take for granted on this site is most of us are wired naturally to be financially responsible, but it's clear there is a whole large population out there that is not and it doesn't make them bad, regardless how frustrated we get with them. I think there is definitely a place for tough love, but then there is also a place for compassionate charity and faith that people may see the light. i am sure we can all think of times we were given a second chance or someone bailed us out and we got our $hit together.
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:59 PM   #77
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Possibly I missed the cause of the accident, but any chance of insurance money from that ?
Even if it was his wife that pushed him off the roof, it could possibly qualify.
Freak accident in the ocean that involved instant paralysis and drowning which he was miraculously resesitated. Lucky to be alive. Unfortunatley, started a new job 7 months ago and income will end, no Disability. The financial collapse was on its way at some point, but this accident accelerated it.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:19 PM   #78
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You bet there is an emotional side even when you are not related to people. I worked in human services for years and at times I helped people but not with $ but with things I had or obtained that others no longer needed. I have helped many friends navigate resources when needed. One of my 3 sons has a drug problem and I had to put a stop to the enabling and it was very, very hard. But with a person that was not my child I find it much easier to assist with helping them obtain resources, running errands, making some meals, etc but would have no problem not supplying $.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:35 PM   #79
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Again, right there with everyone on enabling, but I would suggest compassion is part of the equation. Sometimes we provide charity in good faith that someone will see the light and change their ways, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.
I am so far from this or any similar situation, I shouldn't even be commenting, but I don't think "compassion" is always just giving money and things just for the sake of giving. We sometimes convince ourselves that that is the best way because its the easiest (on us).

Compassion also involves helping to steer right the ship, which can involve the harder task of cutting off enabling sources. This is, however, still also helping "our fellow man". No one is saying not to contribute financially, BTW.

BTW, I disagree with the "wired" part you wrote --- for this specific situation described, as I understand it. ANYONE can learn to be (somewhat) responsible with their money and their lives - they just have to want to. There's a saying - "People won't change until it becomes too painful not to change."

JMHO
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:35 PM   #80
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INTJ10 nailed it. Half of America couldn't come up with $400 in an emergency:

Could You Come Up With $400 If Disaster Struck? Half Of Americans Couldn't : NPR

Bogles my mind. Kudos to you & your family for helping out.
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