Post # 1
My Father-In-Law, while emotionally supportive, is causing us major problems. He has had a drinking problem (definitely in the past, not sure about the present), and due to either that or just not doing basic job stuff, he is unemployed, and job prospects at his age and with his health are minimal. Shortly after the wedding, he asked for a loan (said some people owe him money and haven’t paid which is probably true)- $2000. Little background- I have a good job and saved a TON before getting married, FH came into marriage with almost no assests and LOTS of student debt. FH and I fought over it (I felt he was unreasonable asking- despite we could afford it, we just had a wedding which he didn’t finanically contribute to, bought a house, a car, furnishing the house, and his student loans, not to mention mine) and we decided that if he didn’t pay us back (I figured good chance) it would come out of FH’s “fun money”- we each get some each month. This was in October, no mention of paying us back. For Xmas, we decided to give $100 and FH decided to put in $300 of his “fun money.” This weekend, FIL’s car was repossessed, apparently needs $4000 in addition to the Christmas present. (Also he’s a few months behind on his mortgage.) SIL can’t financially do anything but is totally against handouts, and hers and FH’s thought is buy some of FIL’s stuff he would need to sell anyway. He has some property far away from us worth abound 10,000. Part of the problem is we have the money sitting in the bank, but there are a lot of questions about jobs that won’t be answered for another 6 weeks. Father-In-Law has an idea of how much we have. FH thinks we should buy the land (the previous loan would be a credit toward it). One other possiblility is that we take what we donate each year and give to FH. FH feels really strongly that since we have so much, we should be helping him out. I am so frustrated by this and feel like all our options are bad. Any suggestions?
Post # 3
personal opinion? your FH is an enabler. they are allowing him to live like this. if the Father-In-Law has land, let him sell it, obviously he cant afford it. hes a grown man and needs to learn to deal with things on his own. if you keep helping him out it will never MAKE him change. people dont change when it comes to bad habits and addictions until they have to. if he seriously has a problem, he needs to seek help instead of seeking handouts when he screws up.
i would offer suggestions on rehab and help build a plan with a counselor on how to get back on his feet. if financial help is what he needs along with that, and he agrees to start trying to get his life on track then good, otherwise you can pretty much kiss your money goodbye.
possibly see an addiction counselor or someone associated with Al-anon and see what suggestions they can offer?
Post # 4
I agree with spaganya. Your fiance is allowing his father to be like this by continuing to bail him out. I would completely cut him off and stop helping him by giving him money (and you shouldn’t have to buy property you don’t want and maybe can’t afford just to bail him out).
Post # 5
I wouldn’t give him a dime. He can sell his property, and pay it off w/ that. I understand helping out in hard times but this seems a little ridiculous. I would try to help him out with getting him in contact w. loan programs. Or helping him out on the job search. You can’t enable him his whole life, because he will keep coming back for more money until you have none left. This is harder in real life than saying it on a blog b.c it is family. But you need to realize in the long run your not helping him. Hope things go well for you, and your family.
Post # 6
I agree. I’ve been in a very similar situation with my brother AND father… eventually you have to say no and let them help themselves, or they never will. As I tell my family, I am there to help and support emotionally but not materialisticly. (Sorry I cant’ spell)
Post # 7
oh and also this is coming from someone who has been thru this, and had to cut off a family member to show them that i meant it when i wouldnt stand by and watch them ruin themselves. it worked to a degree, but now they fall back on other family members. so it is important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to things like this.
talk to your FH about options and have him talk to his SIL and other family members to see what can be done. it isnt something that any one person can tackle on their own.
Post # 8
And also… I’m sorry you’re in the situation. I hope things get better!
Post # 9
I agree with prior posters.
Post # 10
I was pretty angry when I posted, then we got in a huge fight over this last night, so little more info- the land is undeveloped land in Hawaii that FH has mentioned in the past that he wants and isn’t worth much (therefore we wouldn’t be paying much). It has electric but not water. Sounds pretty rural. FH thinks it is a good investment because land in Hawaii is hard to come by and in a few years we could sell it and make double the price. I am having a hard time thinking straight about this. We were going to do some investing and FH thinks we should do this and it’s a good way to get the $2000 back he owes us. I pointed out that we weren’t supposed to be doing this anymore, but he views this as us getting something too. Father-In-Law has given us some nice furniture, no charge, and has some family heirloom-type stuff that he needs to sell and will offer to us and FH’s sister first to keep in the family. Since FH really wants this land, it makes it a lot harder. Is it reasonable to take some of the money we donate to charity each year (more money than Father-In-Law needs) and use it to “buy” either some heirlooms he’d hawk or the land?
Thanks so much for your thoughts and support!
Post # 11
If your Fiance is serious, have an independent appraisal done on the land and do some research into what it will cost in terms of property taxes – especially if you develop it.
It may be that buying the land is a good idea, but I agree with PPs that it ought to be the last step you take in terms of saving Father-In-Law from financial ruin.
Post # 12
I agree with spaganya. I think it’s actually irresponsible that your husband wants to keep giving his dad money because it just sends him the message that he can screw up and you guys can fix it,
I’m against borrowing money, even family members. I just won’t ever do it. My personal opinions on money is that when it comes to finances, everyone fends for themselves once you’re over 21. EVERYONE has money problems, and while some have it worse than others, it’s no one else’s business how much you have and how you ration it.
Take it from someone who married into a family that’s all about enabling. My Mother-In-Law enables my BIL that it’s made him completely incapable of living on his own, and he’s in his mid-30s. They just give him whatever he needs and he’s set for life. It’s sad. When it comes to enabling, tough love works the best, in my opinion.
I would strongly advise you don’t loan any money to your Father-In-Law, and tell your husband that since you’re married, you both have to agree on this one, especially if your finances are combined. What he gives to his father will affect your finances as well, and honestly, it doesn’t sound like you want to make any donations anyway.
Not getting handouts might be the thing that makes your Father-In-Law turn his life around.
Post # 13
I’m in the same situation right now with my husband and his family, except for the fact that we hardly have any money in the bank. For a long time, he has been the one that the family goes to for money whenever they need it. He’s always been generous (and I love him for it) but he’s in the Army, so let’s face it, it’s not like he’s making that much to begin with. When we first got engaged, I finally put my foot down about it. I saw his constant handouts as taking away from our future family. The more money he continued to give to his family just meant it would be even longer until we could get our “baby fund” built up. I want to be out of debt by the time we have children. As of right now, it’s going to be several years until that happens and I’m 28, so I feel the pressure to be stingy with my money!
You saved YOUR money. When you got married, in a way, it became your money and your husband’s money…no where in there does it say it became your FIL’s money. I had to have many many heart to heart talks with my Fiance (now husband). It’s not that you’re being selfish with your money and not wanting to help, it’s that you have to save for your family. And if you don’t want kids, or kids aren’t in the picture right now, then you are saving for your house, your emergencies, your retirement, etc. A grand here and a grand there may not sound like much (if you have money in the bank) but it adds up fast! If you could somehow make your fiancee see that this money is taking away from your future financial cushion/stability, then I think he would really see the light. My husband finally did, it just took ALOT of hairpulling discussions to get there.
Post # 14
this is going to sound harsh, but why does he need a car? if he isnt working, he should try public transportation. i wouldnt give him anything else. sorry. and this ‘barter’ idea sounds like it might blow up…
Post # 15
I disagree. I know plenty of good people in today’s economy that are working hard and doing their best that are having financial problems. It doesn’t sound like you’ve had to bail out Father-In-Law before this 2,000 – so this man has supported himself for over 50 years and raised your husband! and paid for his food and rent and school and what not so I’m not sure that immediate descent into ‘tough love’ as if he’s an irresponsible child is appropriate. Many many people go through hard times in their lives. That doesn’t make them leeches. He seems to be offering value here and not simply asking for hand outs and it might even be a good deal for you.
Yes absolutely I think you should set aside your donation money to help your Father-In-Law – do you think everyone you help with donations is perfectly virtous? To me it’s important to help family and loved ones and if you can afford it you should do it (within reasonable limits).
Further, I think it’s a bad bad idea to argue with your partner about money when it comes to your partner’s family. I feel like as long as it’s not a huge financial burden a person should always defer to their SO in this. They’re the one for whom this relationship is crucial etc. And just like bad mouthing your SO’s parents the negative outfall can become very large and just not worth it.
Post # 16
My onl concern about investing in the land is the fact that it’s “not worth very much” now. How long has Father-In-Law owned this land? I would imagine, unless it is in an up and coming area it may not increase in value unless you develop it which is a much greater investment, especially since it is so far from where you live. It sounds like it has potential but requires a greater investment than your husband is willing to acknowledge at this point. I would ask him to present an investment plan, outlining what he wants to do with it before giving my okay to buying the land.
I agree with others no more loans but I also see how it is hard to say no and then give money to charity to help people who are not related to you. I would look into getting him some help or helping him to make a monthly budget and find at least temp. work.
Good luck, this is a tough situation.