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Old 05-09-2017, 08:50 AM   #21
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One thing we say now when this situation occurs is all our money is invested (not true) but at least this explanation gets us through the uncomfortable situation without them resenting us.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:00 AM   #22
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Youngest sister needed money to pay a divorce lawyer so I gave her a five-figure loan. 13 years ago. Divorce didn't take, still married to that jerk. After small payments for three years, nothing. During this time, saw social media posts of vacations, NFL season tickets, etc. Finally started paying again recently. Interest free. No more loans.

Oldest sister left voice mail one time asking for $2,000 for DUI. I avoided calling her back for a few days and when I did she said it was taken care of. I was calling her to tell her she wasn't getting the money.

A few years ago, she left another voice mail telling me they were going to lose their house. I told her I would not be able to help her out. Later digging found that she had bought two $600 dogs while not making her mortgage payments. Multiple credit card write-offs. Other problems. Then saw them selling a $10,000 project car that didn't even run on social media. Huh? If you are in dire straits, that is the first thing that should go. They are still in their house.

Sour taste in my mouth makes it difficult to travel to the city where they both live to see them. Haven't been in several year.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:05 AM   #23
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Another vote for giving, not lending, if you decide to give them $$. Long ago, I gave up trying to get "grasshopper" people that I care about, to pay back or return anything, including books. They lose things, lend it to other people, forget where they put it, the dog chewed it up and "oh what can you do"...they are grasshoppers, not ants, and that's all there is to it.

It's ironic that grasshopper people often seem to have more friends and more fun than us ants. Maybe that is why we care for them.

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Old 05-09-2017, 09:07 AM   #24
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Thank you all! I knew I could count on you to make me realize we are not the only ones who have ever (or will ever) face this situation.

It's going to be tough. We've always known that whatever help we provide will be a gift, not a loan. Unfortunately I don't think bankruptcy is an option as SIL's employment would terminate and she's the only one working at this point. If we knew that $X would carry them over until such time as he can go back to work and everything would be fine (or at least, back to skirting the edge as opposed to dangling with one finger), we would probably suck it up and write the check, but everything is too open-ended. What if he is never able to go back to work? Or never able to do what he once did? Or if they can't negotiate something with the hospital over these 6-figure bills? I don't think they plan for "what ifs" - they just deal with today, today, then worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Drives me crazy because I always have to have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, for every contingency I can possible imagine.
You can't change the way they live their lives. It makes me crazy to see so many people who get a huge bonus and spend every penny. These are the same ones who are one paycheck away from losing their house or lifestyle. Living hand to mouth. Growing up I saw many of my relatives living only on social security and we all know how that works out.

We always sacrificed today to fund for our retirement and future. I gave up years ago trying to understand others who spend to look good in life and never save much money.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:14 AM   #25
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Been there done that. We have helped numerous family members because they think we are rich. No - we are just fiscally responsible! DH & I have both worked since we were 16. We by new cars but keep them for 10 years or so. We have owned 2 homes in 37 years of marriage.
Loaned our nephew $4,000 one year ago and I do resent it. He has always had his toys, jet ski, boat, very expensive truck (4x4), nice house, etc. He lost his job in the oil field and lost everything. He bought a used older truck. Now 1 year later he has upgraded to another slightly used but still nice big gas guzzling truck. He still owes us $ 3k. Many years ago he asked us to cosign for a really nice boat. I put my foot down and said NO. We don't have one and I didn't feel that was a necessity, but I do resent being the bad guy.
We've loaned sister n law money, co-signed a loan for, etc. We have had to pay her RE taxes one year. She has recently married for the 3rd time. So hopefully we are off the hook now!
So yeah - you are not alone.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:24 AM   #26
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We have a friend who continues to bail out her son from financial difficulties.
It is never ending.

I have said to DW a few times, he son will not be happy until his mother has exhausted her limited financial resources. Then he will move on and try to tap one of his sisters

At some point people need to learn to stand on their own two feet. Helping someone over a crunch is fine. Doing it in a consistent and constant manner is not helping, it is enabling the behaviour.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:34 AM   #27
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This really isn't a money problem, is it? So more of your money isn't going to fix it.

Unfortunately, none of us know what it will take to fix it, because we aren't your family members. Be encouraging and supportive without giving money. Point them to some possible programs that can help them. Listen to them as long as it doesn't stress you out. And last but not least, if you feel pressure or disapproval coming from them, give yourself permission to just disengage and not feel guilty.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:57 AM   #28
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Maybe you should turn around and ask them money. Heck you need money for a bigger RV. You need somebody to finance your retirement. See how that goes.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:14 AM   #29
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I have always imagined scenarios about how I would handle a lottery winning. First thing, get legal help to minimize taxes and maximize anonymity. Second, get all finances in order. Third, provide discrete help to family, mainly parents, mostly just getting liabilities off of their books. At no point would I mention a lottery win to anyone, family *or* friends.

Now, back in reality-land, our actual nest egg is small, but once we retire it might look big to anyone who knows we have pensions that pay all the bills. I think I need to develop a good repertoire of phrases to toss out on a regular basis, sort of a smoke-screen.

"We're just living paycheck to paycheck like always."
"I just hope our money lasts."
"I don't know what we'll do if 'they' reduce Social Security."
"I sure wish we could afford to live back in the states."

Now that I think about it, those are probably good phrases to spread around even down in Mexico amongst our fellow expats. I mean, just in case...
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:29 AM   #30
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I have always imagined scenarios about how I would handle a lottery winning. First thing, get legal help to minimize taxes and maximize anonymity. Second, get all finances in order. Third, provide discrete help to family, mainly parents, mostly just getting liabilities off of their books. At no point would I mention a lottery win to anyone, family *or* friends.

Now, back in reality-land, our actual nest egg is small, but once we retire it might look big to anyone who knows we have pensions that pay all the bills. I think I need to develop a good repertoire of phrases to toss out on a regular basis, sort of a smoke-screen.

"We're just living paycheck to paycheck like always."
"I just hope our money lasts."
"I don't know what we'll do if 'they' reduce Social Security."
"I sure wish we could afford to live back in the states."

Now that I think about it, those are probably good phrases to spread around even down in Mexico amongst our fellow expats. I mean, just in case...
Sometimes I feel like I have "won the lottery". Certainly we are better off than all our relatives, probably combined. But we are very generous in many ways and have helped some relatives out with cash gifts. Usually in the range of $5,000-$10,000. I dont think anyone has actually asked for help and if they did, I would have absolutely no problem just saying no. Anyone who asks for money is out of my "good books" and that being the case I basically "write them off". I'm a hard hearted SOB in that respect and I think they know it. I certainly wouldn't make up stories about the reasons why. They should be obvious.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:33 AM   #31
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Former BIL was a leech on FIL and his aunt.
Current BIL leeched off his Dad.
My brother leeched off Dad his whole life.
Fortunately, they never put the bite on us.

I had a neighbour who tried. Once I paid his telephone bill and told him there would be no further discussion of money until he paid it back! Then I never lent him any more. He found people that would.

I am in the help them work through bankruptcy crowd.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:53 AM   #32
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If you do choose to help, don't give them any money directly. For example, offer to pay the bankruptcy lawyer but pay the lawyer directly. Don't sign anything making you financially responsible. Good luck!
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:08 AM   #33
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We helped DB and DSIL a few years ago. She's a 2x cancer survivor and each bout left them with big med bills (after insurance paid) and her without a job. After the first time they moved to a lower cost of living area (also to help take care of her mother) and got reasonably comparable jobs, again with good benefits. Her 2nd cancer threw them off and they declared bankruptcy. We provided cash to help even with that and they promptly paid it back. She's back to work (different place, of course) and they are doing pretty well, though they spent alot of retirement assets before the bankruptcy. Of course, she doesn't expect to live very far into retirement.

Anyway I was very happy to have helped them and I'd do it again (and we may be doing it again, who knows).
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:11 AM   #34
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This really isn't a money problem, is it? So more of your money isn't going to fix it.

Unfortunately, none of us know what it will take to fix it, because we aren't your family members. Be encouraging and supportive without giving money. Point them to some possible programs that can help them. Listen to them as long as it doesn't stress you out. And last but not least, if you feel pressure or disapproval coming from them, give yourself permission to just disengage and not feel guilty.
Yes, this is basically how I see it. In many ways, it's similar to trying to help someone with a substance abuse problem. Just giving them more drugs (or money to buy drugs) so they can make it to the next day isn't really a fix, although it might be the humane thing to do from time to time if circumstances are dire enough. But ultimately, the person needs to hit rock bottom and make an internal decision to conquer their dependency and overcome their pattern of destructive behavior.

So having said that, my advice would be not to give or loan any money unless you feel the situation is dire to the point of being immediately life threatening. Bankruptcy would be analogous to hitting rock bottom, so it actually seems like it would be a good (and probably necessary) catalyst for getting them to change their lives for the better.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:14 AM   #35
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Tough love. Our niece (wife's side) was trying to get into her first house, a very small and cheap house, and asked us to help her. We've helped her in the past with money...she's one of these new millennials who lives in the moment, with no care about the future (the grasshopper). I had no interest in co-signing on a low end house I might be on the hook for in the future and had no interest in owning. We agreed to loan her the money for closing costs, and the day she sells any equity is returned to us as repayment plus interest. We also told her in no uncertain terms that this would be the last money she received from us. "You're 30 years old, start acting like an adult please." That was almost 2 years ago, she still hasn't changed, living hand to mouth, in debt, negative net worth, she's being sued by an ex-SO over property after a breakup (or some nonsense), etc. If she fails, I will let her fail and I think my wife agrees. Some people only learn lessons when they are beat over the head.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:28 AM   #36
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We helped DB and DSIL a few years ago. She's a 2x cancer survivor and each bout left them with big med bills (after insurance paid) and her without a job. After the first time they moved to a lower cost of living area (also to help take care of her mother) and got reasonably comparable jobs, again with good benefits. Her 2nd cancer threw them off and they declared bankruptcy. We provided cash to help even with that and they promptly paid it back. She's back to work (different place, of course) and they are doing pretty well, though they spent alot of retirement assets before the bankruptcy. Of course, she doesn't expect to live very far into retirement.

Anyway I was very happy to have helped them and I'd do it again (and we may be doing it again, who knows).
This is heat warming. Glad to read a success story .
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:30 AM   #37
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I had a similar situation. Won't go into details here. Something to keep in mind. If they are in as bad shape as they claim they can access outside help. Some government. Some charitable. YOUR input could be minimal. And as far as your assistance goes, mentally ad operationally you can call it a gift but in order to qualify for certain avenues of assistance (especially the Government stuff) you'll have to "call it" a loan in public

I told the person I was dealing with more and more money wouldn't help because the day after I run out of money he'd be out again anyway then there'd be TWO broke people instead of just one

Also---- this relative I had to bail out actually got a great deal of help from GoFundMe. He did not open the account (or whatever you call it) and I didn't because I had not heard of GoFundMe, but some sympathetic sole who had heard of his situation did and he received enough money to cover his rent for almost a year. I chipped in some... he got some gov help and some local charities/church stuff. He eventually got a job. Still struggling but I guess you can call it a"good struggling."

If a large part of their problems are medical I am sure, especially in the current "policy" environment, they will get some help. Perhaps a lot
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:37 AM   #38
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I have an irresponsible brother (not the one I mentioned earlier, but another) who is a broken record in all throughout his life he'd say "Well, I'm sort of short on cash." Well, definitely a grasshopper and not an ant.

I loaned him some $ in the past to help him buy a used car. He paid back for a few months then just stopped as I guess he had "better" things to do with his money and loan repayment wasn't a priority.

Fast forward to today, he has since moved several states away, still always short on cash. He has already skipped coming back around the hometown for a wedding of a nephew ("well, short on cash") and I'm willing to be my life savings that he'll skip another wedding of a niece in a few months.

When he does call me and talks about how broke he is, that he really would want to go home to attend the wedding but is short on cash, I just tell him to keep is Facebook account open as I'm sure some folks will post wedding pictures.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:27 PM   #39
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If you do choose to help, don't give them any money directly. For example, offer to pay the bankruptcy lawyer but pay the lawyer directly. Don't sign anything making you financially responsible. Good luck!
Good advice.
Every time we have helped out our ne'er-do-well relative, we have used this method. Paid his back property taxes, utilities, etc. directly to the city/county, etc. He was NOT pleased that we didn't just give him the money, but it was for the best.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:45 PM   #40
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He was NOT pleased that we didn't just give him the money, but it was for the best.
This ^ reminds me of the time a homeless person once asked me for money for food (as they did most days) and I told him I would take him to a nearby restaurant and pay for it. Nope, he wasn't interested.
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