Post # 1
My father in law keeps trying to offer us money. (A good problem to have, I know.)
He thinks we should be homeowners, so he keeps offering to give us money for a down payment and to co-sign on a loan so that we can buy a house.
He wants my husband to finish his bachelor’s degree, and he keeps saying he will pay for it.
These offers of money make me feel really uncomfortable (and to be fair, I would be just as uncomfortable taking that kind of money from my own parents). I feel like my husband and I are independent adults who should not be relying on mom and dad for things we can buy on our own once we have some time to save up. I also sense a personal motive behind the gifts of money – not that there would be strings attached…but it’s as if FIL wants us to appear like we are living at a certain level when in reality we haven’t gotten there yet. He has even tried asking personal questions about our finances, which I have deflected.
My husband doesn’t see a problem with taking money from his dad, and he is understandably excited about the prospect of having somebody pay for him to go back to school. (It would be a struggle for us to pay for that on our own without taking out a loan.)
We are definitely not ready to be homeowners, and I want to eventually buy a house with our own hard-earned money someday, perhaps out of pride. But I guess I would be more OK with FIL paying for my husband to get a higher degree. My intuition is just telling me not to take any of these gifts. Has anyone been in my shoes before? What did you do?
Post # 2
I get the house thing, but if your husband really wants to get his degree, and his father is willing to pay for it, I’d accept that. It’s a good long-term investment, and many parents pay for their children’s educations.
Post # 3
IF they can afford it – take it! My father could not afford to throw money at us and if he did, I would feel weird and obviously try not to accept it. However, my fiancees parents are rich(ish) and they are giving us several thousand dollars as a wedding gift and wanting to pay for the rehearsal dinner. YES PLEASE! People don’t offer money if they can’t afford it and don’t truly want to pay for something. Its not like offers to babysit where family feel obligated.
Post # 4
I would definitely accept the money for your husband to complete his degree. That’s priceless!
Post # 5
The completing the degree thing I would accept. It allows your husband to make a long term investment in your future without putting you into fianncial hardship. It’s not an oppertunity everyone gets. Also, this would be strictly for your DH, and I think in that case, if he wants it, he gets to make the call on it.
As far as the house goes, I accepted money from my parents for my house. There were no long term strings, and I’m extremely greatful. My DH didn’t get to make the call on this as it was before we were married and the house was and still is completely in my name. I don’t think he would have been comfortable at that point, but since then he has started to understand that my parents are only doing this for me because their parents did it for them. My dad’s parents sold him his frist farm under generous terms. My parents are now paying it foward, and if god grants us the oppurunity, we will do so for our kids. Now that my DH understands that family history, he is okay with the help we have gotten from them. At this point, they have steped back and it’s up to us.
I will also mention under no case did I ask for money from my parents. They gave it freely, and I accepted. I think it’s very different to be constantly asking for money, and accepting a gift. I do not expect anything like this again from them.
Post # 6
MarieTherese: I would definitely accept that money for your husband to finish his degree. I know plenty of people who have gone back to school, and their parents have paid.
As for the house – if you’re not ready to own a home, I wouldn’t accept it. There’s more to home ownership than just buying it. You’re going to have to pay taxes, pay for every single thing that breaks, etc. If you don’t have extra income to deal with those types of issues, a downpayment isn’t going to help you. I would decline that offer currently.
Post # 7
My parents paid for my first degree and I am so beyond appreciative of that. I would accept that money for sure!
Post # 8
It sounds like your husband would like to go back to school, and if your FIL paying for it is the best way to make that happen, it’s a good move. If he is pursuing a degree that will open more job opportunities in the future, then it’s a longterm investment that will keep giving.
As for the house, you say that you are not ready to commit to home ownership. Ask if the money he’d give you towards a house can be invested and dog-eared for when you ARE ready to buy a home or have kids. It will give your FIL a sense that you will both have something to fall back on should the unexpected happen. Many people still view owning a home as an investment for the longterm that will hold steady against hard times. It will give you the freedom to establish your careers and save a down payment as well as build credit history so he wouldn’t have to co-sign.
In the end, he’s trying to help you out so that you have a solid foundation to grow from rather than having to struggle to get the solid foundation and then struggling further to grow.
Post # 9
I appreciate everyone’s comments.
Yesterday we found out that FIL intends to pay us for DH’s education after he completes it. That is great, but we can’t afford to fund school right now without taking out a loan, and I don’t want to do that with the expectation of being paid after the fact, because FIL also previously told us he would give us a car and then changed his mind about that only a few months later.
So I believe that if we’re going to fund my husband’s education it will have to be on our own terms, and then if the money really follows, it will be an extra bonus.
Post # 10
I bought an apartment this summer,and my MIL insisted that I didn’t buy anything,that she would buy an apartment herself and let us live there rent free. She insisted so much something seemed a little off to me. I declined,because I had the money and wanted to buy my own home and not owe her a favor for letting me stay there. When we moved in, there was a lot of drama about my SO moving in with me “too early” (he is 26 and we’ve been together for 5 years). So I guess either her offer was never genuine and she would only postpone for as long as she could,or she would use it to meddle with our lives. Now she offered to pay for SO’s masters,but we investigate other solutions,because we would rather be independent.
I think offering to pay after might be a way to force your DH to reach the education level he envisions, maybe without intending to pay at all.
Post # 11
MarieTherese: im in such a simular situation. i dont really know what to do either. FIL is vey easily offended which makes confronting him or being honest super difficult. Right now he wants to sell us his trailor, for super super too cheap…. and says he will help us fix it becuase it needs completly re done. the thing is some times when his dad does good things for people (he is super generous) he later brings it up like they owe him soemthing. ive always had a problem taking money from people. DH has been used to barrowing money from his parents and his brothers all his life. we actually owe his parents 20,000 as it is. now he wants us to buy his trailor. i dont feel comfortable with the whole situation.
Post # 12
You and your husband need to come to an agreement about accepting money from family.
My husband and I are far too independent to accept any financial help from our families. When I went back to school, we didn’t expect a cent from my parents. We paid for my education ourselves because we are both working adults. We also have very manipulative mothers who would use their “gifts” as a reason to boss us around.
Some in-laws like to use money to control their grown children. If your FIL is the type to throw his contributions in your face when you don’t do what he wants, it doesn’t make sense to take anything from him. I believe that if someone is old enough to get married, he is old enough to pay for his own education.
Post # 13
If your FIL thinks that he is owed something in return when he helps others, he isn’t a truly generous person at all. That kind of behavior is manipulative and controlling.
Post # 14
amiona: totally!! he does nice things for random people all the time but he later will brag about it and it drives me crazy!!!!!! DH and i both know, if you want a reward or a flipping cookie for a good deed then its wasnt really a good deed.. but this is why i dont want to take things from him. And he has been pushing this trailor on us. like saying “im only selling it to you guys” “im JUST trying to do you guys a favor” “im just trying to help you guys out” its the way he says it too. then why are you forcing this trailor that you say you dont even want to sell, on us!? we dont want it. but DH says if hes selling it to us for so cheap we would be crazy not to buy it. so we would be cornered into buying it just becuase its a good deal? and not even cuz we would want to live in it. ? ugg sorry so frusterating. i used to be close with his dad but for obvious reasons have distanced myself from him. he loves the crap out of you, unless you dont do something he likes, then its like youre dead to him- kind of attitude. … by the way they live next door. his father is honestly the most manipulative person ive ever met. hes like a child some times and everyone would rather give him what he wants instead of stand up to him. im having a really hard time dealling with it right now. esp since they live next door. one day right before i went to bed his dad literally was yelling hey out side the trailor.. then started yelling my name… so i could help him, even though i made it clear i was going to bed. he could have asked DH who was at his house a min ago. i swear this is aging me. ..
Post # 15
amiona: I agree. From my experience with borrowing/lending/giving/accepting money within the family, it puts an undue strain on relationships. The accepting/borrowing party feels like they “owe” something to the other party and it can change the dynamics of how you interact. Similarly, the giving/lending party might start to raise an eyebrow based on the financial choices they see the accepting/borrowing party making because then they may wonder if they made the right choice giving/lending them such money.
Both parties may think that the money being exchanged comes with pure intentions and no strings attached, but unfortunately, it’s very often the case that there are invisible strings that show up later down the road.
FI and I have decided that we want our relationships with family members to remain as free of all that as possible and allow us to love one another without any type of financial arrangements hanging over any of us. But, as amiona said, you and your husband need to come to a decision on how you want to handle it.