Post # 1
My future in-laws are a financial train wreck. Their house is probably going to end up in foreclosure and I can easily see them eventually declaring bankruptcy. A while back, they contacted all of their children, basically asking them to all chip in and pay off the rest of their mortgage, which amounts to around $250k. My FFIL has a brain injury and needs medical assistance, and when the kids told them they’d be unable to just write a blank check, my FMIL responded by indirectly threatening to walk away and leave them to care for their father.
The housing situation seems to have calmed down for now, but a couple of weeks ago, my fiance got a call from his mom, asking for a $15,000 “loan” to pay off one of her credit cards. ONE OF THEM. I have no idea how much her total credit card debt is.
I’m under no delusion of this being a loan – if we (and yes, it’s “we”, as we’ve combined our finances) give her any money, we have to be willing to accept that it will become a gift. And we simply don’t have $15k to give. In the meantime, she apparently worked something out with her credit card company, who has reduced what she owes under the condition that she pay it off within a certain timeframe. Which brings us to today’s phone call – now she needs $2700 by Thursday.
My fiance is super-stressed about the whole situation. I’ve given him the go-ahead to give her the money, with one condition: She is not to ask for any additional financial assistance until the $2700 is paid back.
I’m just not sure what more we can do. I’m not willing to bury ourselves in credit card debt to help her get out from under hers. Nor am I willing to totally decimate the money we’ve saved for retirement, a house, our wedding, etc, especially if they owe such an astronomical amount of money that the eventual outcome will be them declaring bankruptcy anyway. I also find it completely mind-boggling to think it’s reasonable to call your children and ask for $250k, $15k, or even $3k, but that’s another issue entirely.
Thanks for “listening” to me vent. My fiance is usually my audience, but he’s so freaked out by this that I don’t want to make it worse.
Post # 3
Dude, did she miss the memo about you having 120K in veterinary school loans to pay off first?!?!?
My mind boggles at parents asking for gross amounts of money from their children. It totally sucks and puts you and your FI in a very awkward position. You’re doing all you can do. Wash your hands of it, tell her that’s ALL she gets. She has to dig herself out. Which, it sounds like she may never =. By the time you’re a grown adult and managed to raise children, you should at least be financially savvy. I always admire my MIL for the way she handled money. Yeah they were broke ass poor and grew up in a trailer park and she only works as a receptionist but it’s amazing what being smart about your money can do for you, no matter how little it is.
Post # 4
I’m so sorry you are dealing with that. It sounds to be like they have made their bed and they have to lie in it. I’m sorry that your FFIL has a brain injury but his wife is being irresponsible with money and should NOT be asking her children to forgo their future dreams and give her money to pay off her debts.
Post # 5
250,000? yesh!!! what does your FI do for a living?? why would his parents think he was in the position to gift them tens thousands of dollars? NERVE!!
I dont really have any advice. by giving them money, youre just enabling them. how do you really know that the 2700 will go to a credit card and not another shopping spree. if you decide to give them the cash, i suggest you write the check directly to the bank. and i agree with the condition that they not call you again for any money until this 2700 is paid back.
i guess my bigger concern is that this is a regular occurance for the rest of their lives. set boundaries ASAP and make sure FI and you are in agreement as to how much cash youre going to bleed out for his parents.
BEST OF LUCK!!
Post # 6
@ejs4y8 – Oh, if it were “only” $120k! I owe $150k and my fiance’s student loans are around $30k. *Gulp* And what makes me more irritated is how hard my own mother worked to manage her finances. Mom and I were, at most, lower middle class. We lived in a trailer park for a while. She often worked two jobs. And I don’t remember her ever taking a non-family-event (i.e. wedding, family reunion, etc) vacation. She busted her a$$ her whole life. Whereas FMIL spends a fortune on everything, whether she can afford it or not. We’re probably going to end up paying for my fiance’s parents to attend our wedding, including travel, hotel rooms, food while they’re here, etc.
@MissAsB – Exactly! Their poor financial choices should not become their children’s responsibility!
Post # 7
Um…you can’t really put a stipulation on her, only on your FH. I think it’s a HUGE mistake to give her ANY money AT ALL. She’s just going to ask for more later.
These are THEIR debts to pay, and they should just declare bankruptcy. It’s too bad she has poorly managed her own finances, but honestly by giving her the money, she is just going to ask for MORE in the future. Your FI is stressed out about it, so it’s not like he’s very happy to oblige her. I would discuss giving a MUCH smaller sum and telling her that is ALL you are willing to help with ($500). She shouldn’t push her burdens off on her children!!
Post # 8
Ugh, this is totally my nightmare with my FILs. Hasn’t happened yet, but….
IMO, family should help family. But there have to be limits. Before you enable them to continue living this way, you guys need to consider some thing.
– Are you just delaying the inevitable bankruptcy? If so, they may be better off filing sooner than later.
– Do they have any plan for the future? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?
– How much is the house paid off?
I think your obligation to family is to keep them fed, sheltered, and healthy to the best of your ability. But you can’t solve their problems, and you may not want to be a part of just delaying the inevitable.
Post # 9
@FutureMrsMorgan – My fiance is a software developer for Apple. He’s well-compensated, but by no means are we swimming in a giant pool full of money. Plus, our student loan debt is rather extraordinary. I think writing the check directly to the credit card company is a fantastic idea, and I’ll bring it up with my fiance tonight. And yeah, we definitely need to figure out a maximum dollar amount that we’re willing to give.
Post # 10
I think you’ve worked out fair solution, although I’m sure it doesn’t take away from the stress of the situation. The best you can do is let her know that YOU need the money and IF you have any to spare then you will try and help her. I don’t think it’s fair that she’s asking for so much, and I think it’s pretty horrible to threaten to leave her husband otherwise… it sounds like some kind of hostage situation!
An aunt of ours tried to guilt my mother once into giving her money by saying that my sister isn’t doing anything worthwhile in college (our parents set aside money for me and my sisters to go to college). My sister did take longer than average to finish but that was none of my aunt’s damned business! It makes me mad when people feel the need to give financial advice where it’s not asked.
When it comes to family, money is a tricky thing. You have to be ready never to see it again if you “loan” it out, and you have to be careful giving so often otherwise they start depending on it.
Post # 11
@MightySapphire – I’m also nervous that she’s just going to ask for more money later, which is why I’m *extremely* hesitant to give her anything. If they end up declaring bankruptcy, then we’ve basically wasted the money we gave them.
@monitajb – I’m convinced that they’ll end up having to declare bankruptcy, and I don’t want to throw money into a bottomless pit. As for the house – the children offered to form a limited liability corporation, buy their parents’ house and fix it up while providing alternate housing during the renovation, sell the house and recoup the money they put into it for renovation, and give their parents the remainder (which would be more than enough to buy a house in a less fancypants neighborhood). Their parents refused the offer. We’ve also offered to pay for a rental property in Pittsburgh (where we are – they live in Cape Cod currently), which has a really low cost of living. Again, they refused. Basically, they want a blank check. Which is completely and totally unreasonable. Dealing with them is like banging your head against a wall.
Post # 12
I would NEVER give her the money. You should NOT be responsible for PARENTS’ irresponsible spending! You two are just STARTING OUT…how are you supposed to do that while giving your money away? This makes me so mad for you! I am so sorry! Whatever you do – stand your ground! Do NOT let her think that loaning her money is going to happen whenever she needs it – you do NOT want to become a doormat, or made to feel guilty, ever! Set boundaries NOW, because it can only get worse if you don’t!!!
Post # 13
Given the situation, I wouldn’t give them anything. I can guarantee they will ask for more soon. And if you gave once, it is going to just get worse.
Post # 14
@ redherring: Dude, those were all really smart, responsible offers. Don’t send them money. They don’t want a solution, they want to avoid their problems.
Post # 15
I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. Now the Lawyers Daughter part comes out of me… do not give her a cent until she signs a contract with you saying that she will repay you.
I would definately make sure that she knows that this behavior is unnacceptable and that she cannot call you to ask for anyting until she pays off her new debt to you.
I would also call the credit card company with her and make sure that it is the credit card company has really said that she will have reduced debt if she pays off the $2700 by Thursday. That way you know that she is not lying and I would pay the credit card company directly and not give the money to his mother. She may be using it for other things.
Sorry this sounds a little harsh. If I was in your situation I would not give her anything at all.
Post # 16
I could understand if parents need money for an unexpected occurence or illness; then that would be fine and I’ll be more than willing to be there for them financially. But if FMIL is not responsible and blows money left and right when they don’t have it I almost lean towards not giving them the money. This one time has to be very clear that no other “loans” will be given out. Sorry, tough situation!