5 Ideas to Help Family Members Who Ask for Money

by Thursday Bram · 55 comments

When a family member asks for money, most of us want to help. The reasons why can be complex: not only is helping family something that most people just do, but most of us don’t want to be the sort of person who doesn’t help family, either.

But the simple fact is that offering a handout isn’t always the best solution. There are plenty of people out there who have gotten burned by family members asking for money — there are situations that turns into a painful conflict, and there are situations that doesn’t actually lead to a family member working to get to a stable financial standing and plenty of other frustrating situations. It’s worth considering alternatives before simply pulling out your wallet. Here are five.

5 Opportunities to Help Family Members

  1. Teach your relative to fish. You don’t actually need to head out to the nearest river, but if your relative is in a position where a little more information could help more than money, then provide it. Talk through the situation and see if there’s something that you know — especially since you may have read more about personal finance — that could help. Some financial situations grow out of a lack of knowledge more than a lack of cash. Simply knowing that you can request changes to your credit card can be a big leap for some people. Provide some of that financial education if it’s needed.
  2. Offer a connection instead of cash. The situation may mean that your family member has a short-term need for cash, but a long-term need for something bigger (like a job). Ask around your network to see if you’ve got a connection that can help with that long-term fix. Introductions can be just as valuable a currency as stacks of dollar bills.
  3. Provide an opportunity to earn the money. For many families, problems come out of short-term loans that don’t get paid back or gifts with strings attached. If, instead, your family member has a way to earn that money from you, offer that instead. Exactly what project you can offer depends — maybe you need some help with a home repair project or you have something a little more professional that your family member can work on — but the fact that the money is earned, rather than given can be surprisingly important.
  4. Invest in your family member. The cost of taking a class or starting a side business can be beyond what your relative is asking for, but will likely have a much bigger impact on their own abilities to handle money troubles in the future. By investing in that relative’s future, you can be doing a much bigger favor and ensuring that you don’t get asked for money again.
  5. Say ‘no’. You may face a request for money where the best thing you can do is to say ‘no’. If you find yourself faced with a relative who routinely needs money and hasn’t taken the initiative to fix underlying issues, telling that person you won’t help (at least financially) can be a wake up call. Just be sure that a wake up call is the best thing you can offer, first. It’s also helpful to be able to offer an alternative to that cash. For instance, if a family member consistently needs rent money, refusing to offer cash, but offering your spare room might be a reasonable alternative. Of course, you’ll want to carefully consider the impact of any alternatives that you offer.

Don’t be afraid to sit down and talk to a family member who is asking for help. While money always seems to be the easiest way to solve a problem, you may be able to find a long-term solution that guarantees that family member won’t need future handouts if you actually know what the problem is in the first place. Be clear what your goals are with offering some other opportunity: you don’t want to wind up the relative that everyone goes to for help of every kind, of course.

You shouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these opportunities still require some financial help from you. If you’re helping a family member find a new job, they will still want to keep the bill collectors away from their door in the short run.

David’s Note: Thursday’s advice is sound, but I won’t lie to you – trying to help them rather than just giving out money may be even harder. It will take a commitment on both the giver and the receiver, and you might even get into an argument with the person who needs help. However, giving them the ability to help themselves is the ultimate (and the only viable) gift you can ever give them, and as a relative, you can help!

Have you ever tried helping a relative get out of financial troubles? Any tips or stories you want to share?

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason March 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I have been asked by many family members and friends for money, and the truth is, you have to put yourself first. Saying no in a nice way, and offering to help in other ways is sufficient.

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Marcus March 18, 2011 at 9:21 am

No, actually you don’t HAVE to “put yourself first”. Unless you’re extremely selfish and cowardly then, yes, you probably have no choice.

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justsayNO July 3, 2013 at 10:06 am

You must be a liberal. I work hard to earn a living and pay bills. If someone needs cash let them get off their lazy ass and work a second job. Why should I have to sweat for someone else, the Gov’t takes enough as it is. Paying your own bills first is NOT being selfish – you have been brainwashed into thinking otherwise

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Robin Bates July 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Whoa now…. based on a lot of my views I would be considered a liberal but I totally agree with you just say no. I do believe in helping people but not if they are not helping themselves and not if I cannot provide for myself and my family. I also think a majority of people considered liberals give the rest a bad name. Unfortunately they seem to be the loudest :(

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Robin Bates July 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I understand what you are saying but I have an aunt that always asks for money and I always say yes. I never get that money back and most of the time I can’t really afford to let the money go. She has now come to expect the money and literally has come into my house yelling “Where is my money? You got paid today?!” She refuses to look for work and expects me to pay her way. I can’t do it but I can’t say no either. Sometimes things are a bit difficult.

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Unwilling Provider March 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Yes you CAN say no! ‘Expect’ is just as much a dirty word as ‘Entitlement,’ and I see a lot of that here. The aunt can’t make it? That’s called thinning out the herd.

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401k March 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

The old adage “give a man a fish and he will live for a day; teach a man how to fish and he will live forever” is very applicable to this entry. You should teach your family members to become independent and help them to earn their own money.

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Randy Addison March 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm

With me, I always tend to give our relatives not money but ways to earn some money. Well, it depends on the urgency of the need. But as much as possible I don’t spoon feed them. I offer sometimes work, business opportunities or even suggestions on how to earn some extra cash.

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Marcus March 18, 2011 at 9:11 am

Yeah, when people ask me for money I just tell them to “fuck off and die”. As a result I am estranged from my family and have no friends. But, at least I still have my $7500 in the bank.

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Caroline Schukraft January 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Don’t be a Scrooge. Give if you can, in anyway you can, and don’t give anything you are going to expect back. You cannot and will not take it with you when You are gone from the earth.

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Mom of 2 March 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

My Mother and brother ask me all the time for money, “I need $ for Gas, I need $ for light bill, I need $ for Rent etc, etc, etc……….. ) I have helped them so much over the years its just crazy, they even get mad at me and hang up the phone on me when i say I don’t have it to loan. They never call or visit just to see how my kids are or anything, every single phone call is “can I get $20 or $50 from you. and yes, I never get paid back. All of this sounds good but for some it never works. This is not being a scrooge either, I know you can’t take it with you, but my kids will need it and will have it before I ever give anymore away.

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angela mcdonald January 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm

ditto with my brother. He can’t pay his child support. I quit giving it to him, cuz he’d get a tattoo with it and the next be asking for the support money. If I don’t give it to him, he calls my dad and I get screamed and emotionally harrassed because my dad ends up bailing him out. I hate what my relationship has become with them but hey I gotta take care of me.

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Colin March 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

Another thing I have done was to buy something from the person. In one case I bought a dirt bike from my sister, one that she wanted back at some point. That gave her some cash, but it cost her something. It wasn’t a handout or a loan. Not sure if she learned from the situation, but it kept the relationship on solid ground.

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Marcus March 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

That doesn’t work for me because the only thing I am interested in buying is drugs. Dirt bike? No Thanks.

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Thatwasfunny February 3, 2014 at 12:11 am

Hahaha!

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KM March 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I find the American way of family life really strange. I come from a place where family takes care of each other, and this family doesn’t just include spouse and kids. Sure, it’s better to teach someone who doesn’t work and just leaches off others how to earn their own, but for those others who are just in a rough time at the moment, there is nothing wrong with some monetary support. The way I was raised is to be generous to the point of giving everything you have – it’s why our guests slept on the bed while we made ourselves comfortable on the floor instead of offering them the couch. This country taught me to be a bit more “selfish” (in the way of putting yourself, your spouse, and kids first), but just how “selfish” some people are is still mind boggling to me. For the family members that I know are good people in general, I have no problem helping out financially with no strings attached…and I know they are the kind of people who will not make that a habit.

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Marcus March 18, 2011 at 9:15 am

You’re the only one talking sense here KM. Good for you.

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JS August 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I tried to take care of family (my 35 year old son). He was having a difficult time with life and just wasn’t doing anything that was going to help himself. After my husband died I told him I’d help with his rent for 10 months – making sure he understood that it ended after 10 months. The entire time he didn’t go out to get a job and when the 10 months was up he went out and got a job – then couldn’t pay the first month and asked for 1 more month – said he’d pay me back. Not only did I not get paid back (and I don’t care about the money – I want to see him handle his responsibilities), he is now asking for more money and again saying he will pay me back. I offer advice and he gets angry with me and says he know’s what’s best for him – he doesn’t show it! I guess I’m being selfish by not asking him to live in my house – but I’m just not willing to put myself through that at this time in my life. I’m done with the hand outs – I don’t hear from him unless he wants something….it’s time for him to stand on his own 2 feet. Some people really do appreciate the help and show it – not in this case. Giving anyone money is not always the best answer. I finally see that he’s the selfish one – and it sounds like he’s someone Marcus would relate to!

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angela mcdonald January 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

nah you are not selfish. You gave him money and and let him chill at your house for 10 months… Their is a fine line between helping people in need and being taken advantage of…… trust me I know aaaallllll about that.

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Chris jones July 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I had a friend do the same thing never paid a single bill, are all my food and yet never saved a dime to get a car which they needed. She was literally the first to complain that everyone of her problems were because of someone else and it was never her fault. Now that she’s been kicked out, she still finds the nerve to ask for money even though she works a full time job.

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RebeccaR May 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I don’t think anyone has a problem with lending a hand to people who are “just in a rough time at the moment.” There’s a big difference between that and family members/friends who are perpetually looking for a handout because they make bad choices and/or are too lazy to help themselves.

My husband and I have sent checks for four figures to people we’ve read about in the newspaper who are in an unexpectedly difficult situation despite doing their best to help themselves. And we’ve given money to a close friend a few times because she was a single mom and she needed it more than we did. (She never asked for it – she was doing her best to make ends meet, and we just saw a need and helped out.) We were happy to help in all of those cases.

However, I also have a relative who moved to our town a few months ago. He is in his early 20s, has a 5-year-old daughter (who is living with her mom), is living with a girlfriend and her 2-year-old son, and they are expecting a child together in a few months. They have no furniture in their apartment, they moved to town without jobs, and they’ve already hit us up for money a few times. The first time, we gave them the money as a gift, and we gave them 10 times what they asked for. A month later, they asked again. This time, we gave it to them as a loan, and only the amount they asked for. They have not paid back the loan (no surprise there), and they are still in need of money.

Again, I don’t have a problem helping someone who unexpectedly finds themselves in a tough place. And I don’t have a problem with people having as many children as they’d like – as long as they can support them. But when you can’t even support the children you already have, perhaps it’s not the wisest idea to move to a new town without a job already in place, and perhaps it’s not the time to expand that family you can’t afford in the first place. Continuing to enable people like that by financially supporting them only encourages them to keep making those same poor decisions, because they’re not having to face the consequences of their actions.

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Unwilling Provider March 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

All this 20-something knows how to do is shack-up with women and breed. Cut him loose.

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Mrs A Jones June 2, 2011 at 8:06 am

I believe in helping my family all I can, especially in these troubles times when the poor kids can’t get a proper full time job and are desperate to get on the housing ladder. I’m in my 70′s as is my husband. It’s true nobody helped us when we were young because our parents had no money b ut we were lucky to get jobs, saved hard and eventually able to buy our own house. We had jobs with pensions as well. We are comfortable but not rich. If I can help my children and grand-children all well and good. I can’t get out and about these days and my greatest happiness is being able to help them. But I do advise them not to waste what I give them because if they do there won’t be any more handouts for them. If they can’t pay me back or are struggling to I write the debt off. After all it’s only money and I’m not having them contemplating suicide (which one of them) did because they can’t pay it back. If I’ve got it they can have it. Better them have it then the Government when I kick the bucket.

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Theresa July 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm

You have to draw the line somewhere.Giving give you a nice feeling to a point.Some people just take and take and make no effort themselves.You have to look after yourself and your future too.

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Jeff Vervalin August 6, 2011 at 5:50 am

There is the “2011 Definition of Poverty.” What it means to be “poor” has changed so much since my 83-year-old father was a kid in the Depression. Today “poor” means owning a color TV, microwave and a cellphone, which is unimaginable science fiction luxuries when my father was a kid without a father, selling bread door-to-door for a few cents in the 1930s. Any comments?

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Angie Moore August 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I find that family and some friends ask me for money. But it is the same people who come to me for money. In the beginning I helped out as much as I could. But now I am realizing that they do not manage their money properly and that is why they are in the same situation again and again. If I can learn from my finacial mistakes they can also, if I live on a budget to pay my bills they can also. When I help them I am enabling them to continue their bad habits. If I can learn to live on a budget and pay my bills on time they can also. So when family member or friends ask for money, I tell them no, because I can not afford to pay my bills and theirs as well. It is not being selfish it is being smart and teaching them how to manage their money so that they do not have to get money from others.

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Sherrie September 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm

It’s all well and good that some of you have family members who appreciate your generosity and actually pay you back; however, that is not the case with many of us. I used to just hand out money, but I smartened up after I never got it back. It even got so bad to the point where certain family members knew my payday was bi-weekly on Thursday and would call me specifically on that day to ask for a handout. I know this sounds cliche, but I worked my butt off at 2 jobs to put myself through college and grad school to earn a decent living while my siblings and some others preferred to waste all their time and limited income on partying and girls/guys. What actually happens is that they get so used to getting a handout that they stop being proactive because they know they can just get it from you. When I finally started saying no, I actually got into some pretty heated arguments over MY money. Imagine that! At this point I have absolutely no sympathy and definitely no more money to give…

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Jay October 26, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I’ve been taken advantage of by friends and family for money, time, and resources. With family I try to help out but I do have limits. It’s funny though because it’s always the same people who are asking for money or time.

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MrBlatez March 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

There comes a point when you need to say no. Some family just keep asking and asking and then they get themselves into financial trouble and they know that someone will help them out. If you continually say yes and this leads to resentment then this will not be healthy. I am the youngest in my family and need to help out my older brother, he has had just as many opportunities as me but has blown all of them, now he has a wife and had two children knowing that he would have not money and that it would be difficult for him….. but he knows that family will help him because of the children. Is this right, to continually pull the victim card? If somebody complains about money all the time but does nothing to change there situation, does this mean that the responsibility falls back on the family? I have a difficult time saying no to family but I agree with the first comment, at some point you need to put yourself first. I have now realised that unless i put myself first now then I will be continually handing out money and never get ahead myself, if I do not get ahead then I cannot help my family in the future. With family its a hard one and if you say no then yes they will probably think you are a bastard but I think sometimes it is the only way to change the pattern. Say no today :)

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Ann March 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I have helped family and probably will always try to do so if possible; however I will not let myself or my immediate family be taken advantage of. I recently tried to help a young nephew and his family however they did not want to help theselves rather just wanted a place to stay and someone to cook and clean up after them. I tried to talk to them and find out what direction they wanted to go in ie..hud home etc… but I just received an I don’t know answer. Well if they didn’t know then I couldn’t help. I asked them several times to go to the housing authority office but they never did. I worked everyday and took care of my own family along with him, his wife and 9 month old child. They are now angry with me for asking them to leave and go back to his mother’s house. They did not ask to come to my house to begin with, they just came to visit and it turned into a mess when they stayed longer than expected. I really wish I knew what I could have done but at this point believe praying is the best answer.

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Tanya March 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

I spent a year helping a family member that I thought was in need.When I stopped after seeing the way they were spending their money:Expensive boots,food,entertainment,electronic gadgets etc…I stopped.Since then they have been on a mission to assasinate my character at every opportunity.They have not mentioned the help they were given by me and my husband.Like ‘Dont let the truth get in the way of a good story’.I should not have been surprised as this has happened to other family members that helped this person in the past.Soon they will run out of people to tell tales to.One that will believe them at least.I have more touble than ever trusting people.I am pleased to say that next time I feel like being kind I will look at supporting some child in a third world country.I am sure they wont bad mouth me.

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lhs April 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Tanya,
I feel for you. Tough situation! I went from poor to rich. I lived in someone’s basement until I was 45. It was the best I could do and I was proud that I paid ALL of my bills. I did not think of asking other people for money. Now that the situation has changed, I have gently and with humor explained who I am to the young ‘uns, etc. You can like me – or not – but it won’t be about money. Nothing f****s up a relationship more than money. You can say, “Yes,” “Yes,” “Yes,” fork over your money and the instant you say, “No!” the formerly grateful recipient now hates you. So, they all know it’s a “No,” and don’t ask. I can then especially enjoy doing for them and giving to them when I feel it’s right to do so. I strongly feel that if you teach people you are a cash register you can’t blame them for treating you like one. Give your time, unconditional love, etc and bask in the warm glow of family appreciation!

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Lewis November 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

Tanya, I too have been in that same position, except it was my son doing the badmouthing. I too now have difficulty trusting even my own family members, including extended family (friends). They have basically used me up. I used to help out financially freely, but it’s come to the point that they have to work for it now and none of them like that idea. Never hear from them unless it’s to do them a favor. My son has now (actually for about 5 yrs now) refused to look for work- he has two kids he should help support, but when they go to visit him, he sits there playing his video games that he bought with someone elses money. It’s sad. His “roomies” are really getting tired of it.

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Tanya April 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Dear Ihs
Thanks for the comment and support.

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crazy lady December 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Here’s my story
I have a mother and brother that I’m supposed to split child support with.
I moved out of the house when my mother planned on moving in with yet another guy. I moved in with family friends. My mother ended up splitting with the guy. She agreed to split the child support down the middle. I did not recieve any money for 8 months. Every time I called to ask for money to get my medicine there ‘was no money’.They owed me more than $3000 I was supposed to recieve. I had a job while neither of them did. I have come to find out that they were spending my half on pot/spice. I know have control over the money. I take $500 while my brother gets $200. He agreed. Plus it wouldn’t come near what they owe me. Plus i’ve used my part to buy them groceries and try and fix their car so my mother could get a job. my brother complained and my mother gave him the money she was gonna use to fix the car. Now they don’t have a working car. And now asking me for $125 to fix it. I’ve already given them 310 this month. What do I do? theysay they have no food and are miserable but are bumming off my uncle at his house. And I feel entitled to the money. So idk how to deny them.

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Din December 28, 2012 at 8:48 am

Where is Marcus?

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Din December 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

If I gave to all my family members who need money and don’t work and don’t look for work, I’d be flat broke myself. I work very had for my money and if I don’t look out for me, I’ll be in line for a hand out next.

You have to say no, if they hit bottom; maybe they’ll get jobs. It’s like giving the alcohoic sleeping on the street a bottle to hold him over.

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Unwilling Provider March 28, 2014 at 6:42 pm

or…..thinning out the herd

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Kate February 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

No cash, just pay the bills and offer support for education. It sucks, but better than him spending the cash on drugs and alcohol. I also put in a caveat that he has to get therapy before bills will be paid. I am not planning on doing this long-term, once today and that’s it.

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Unwilling Provider March 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

We offered a brother-in-law therapy for his alcoholism which he refused. Two alcohol-related felonies later, he still asks for money. He got himself into this, it’s not our problem to get him out. Help was offered when it would have done the most good.

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Eric April 9, 2013 at 7:15 am

I put myself through school and am in debt up to my ears. I have a brother whose latest trick is calling our mother and saying he is hungry and hasn’t eaten in three days. Before, it was “i need money so I can pick up my prescriptions”. For the longest time, I was considerate and sending western unions to him. This continues to this day. I finally had enough, my brother is 35 years old and healthy. His prescription needs are for a drug he can only get when cycling through the physicians in the yellow pages. In other words, he goes from doctor to doctor to get prescribed this medication he is addicted to. The fools on this thread saying ‘help family at all costs’ do not realize it can be to their detriment. As of now, i’m telling my mother that if he needs food again he should get food stamps and if he needs money, he should a job. She is upset with me (because, how could I make my poor brother starve to death) but, you know what? I’m doing him a favor. He needs to learn to take care of himself and i’m sick and tired of the silly excuses.

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Hoot July 27, 2013 at 4:26 am

Marcus, $7500 but NO FRIENDS!! Oh my. How is that working relative to your quality of life? Just askin pardner not judging but I can imagine there are people who would give more to avoid going through like ALONE!

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TR August 23, 2013 at 8:04 am

My brother has been through two bankrupties over the past couple of decades. He has had two cars Repo’d. Now he’s forced my Mom and Dad into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His current car owned under my Dads name. The bankruptcy lawyer told him to get the car transferred under his name. Otherwise it will be repo’d very soon. What does my brother do? Goes out to a Ford dealership and looks at new cars. The salesperson told my brother that Ford Credit will give him the ‘credit’ he needs to get the car. However, he needs a co-signer or $2000.00 in cash. I have the money, but don’t trust he will pay me back. (My other brother borrowed $5000.00 and only paid back $2000.00. ) I”m set to say NO if asked. I think my brother needs to look at getting a loan for the car he has. It may not be brand new, however it gets him to his two jobs. Is that a bad way to think about the situation?

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meysismith August 27, 2013 at 5:20 am

I’m the youngest in the family, I’m only 19 yrs old but with a big responsibility with my family. We own a small restaurant in our hometown for almost 15 years and the business is not in a good standing. So what I have to do is to find a job and leave my school. It was hard to deal with my family who keeps on asking for money every week. If they have nothing to eat or pay for their debts they will ask me immediately and I can’t say NO for that. I truly love my family, but is it really necessary to give always what they want?

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Tracey August 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm

To TR
Look after yourself. Sounds like your brother who has two jobs should be doing the same. You are not your brother’s keeper, nor are your parents.
“Love many, trust a few, and always paddle your own canoe.”

All the best!

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My Stubborn mom/ helpless mom December 13, 2013 at 10:43 am

My mom doesnt work always made us as her reason that she cant go out to find work whatnot. Supported her financially even let her stay home with us. I dont get respect from her. Now that im here abroad tried supporting her financially but always seem insufficient… Even gave in to her idea of having a small business since she’s only living now alone and from what she was always complaining before thought maybe she can handle it, and for me to stop sending her money so she’ll learn how to fish… turns out her plan didnt pushed through… Spent all of it, Now i am angry i feel that my kindness is abused and all the freaking relatives is trying to make u feel guilty. WTH! No more… Cant deal with the crap and her craziness!

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Tracey December 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

To My Stubborn Helpless Mom,
You have done enough.Sometimes there are people who are ‘Bludgers’.They may have no conscience at all.
You have to look after yourself and your immediate family who may be dependent on you.
Some people will just take and take and make effort themselves.
Marcus :You could be one of these people I feel?

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Mrs Dewhurst December 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

My brother asked me if I would help his son, Keith, who I was told was rich with money but it was tide up. I was supposed to get it back the following week – that was 3 years ago. Then we were told a year after he could not pay back. Money to me and his business. Then, he told me he would pay me this Christmas. Not a penny back out of £3000. And he was told by my brother not to give me back the money. Is there any thing I can do to get my money back?

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Feeling Used January 9, 2014 at 8:29 am

Two and a half years ago my mom’s boyfriend committed suicide with an AK-47 in a condo that I owned. Ever since then I have been helping her out financially. Let her move in with me, helped her get into an apartment (paid the deposit, rent, signed the lease). Once that lease was up I told her there was no way I was going to sign another one so she got the apt to let her just sign but she continues to ask for my help with rent and I’ve been helping. She is really close to getting social security disability but has not received any money yet. To complicate things further, she has my brother living with her who is over 40, is an alcoholic with cirrhosis of the liver and they both refuse to hold down a job. At the beginning of the month, she said she needed $300 to help cover rent and to pay for some living expenses so I said I would help and asked her to meet me at a restaurant that I like and she said no because she doesn’t like their food so I said fine come by my work and I’ll give you the money. So she comes by my work and then asks me if she can get a little more. I told her no, all I have for you is $300. Less than a week later she sends me a text “I hope you’re doing well, can I borrow some money :-)” I am at my breaking point with her and told her no. She texted me later that night and asked if I’m still mad at her. No, I’m not so much mad as I am tired of being taken advantage of by her and my brother who refuse to work and want me to bail them out of everything! It really is true that if you let people treat you like a cash register then you can’t blame them for treating you like one and for me that stops now! I don’t want to see them homeless and I will pray for them, but I cannot give anymore. I’m through with being an enabler.

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Kathy February 13, 2014 at 6:57 am

My husband and I are the cash registers for 4 brothers and 2 sisters. My husband says it’s far better to be in our situation than if we were the ones asking for money. I am so resentful that it’s beginning to be an obsession. I wish I knew how to get rid of the resentment.

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Daddyola February 28, 2014 at 7:54 pm

My wife and I used to have little, and we lived within our means. Due to fortunate career developments we are now well off, but live at the same standard of living and saving.
Many friends and family now expect us to fund their lifestyles as they have never lived responsibly and have squandered their own considerable earnings over the years. They say we can afford it, and resent that we have money while they only have useless crap they bought.
I can’t pay to maintain relationships. Being asked for money is a no win proposition. When you are asked for money, remember that you didn’t create the situation. You are either a sucker or an a-hole because they refuse to be adults with their money.
We choose to be a-holes. If they only hang out for the money, they can get gone. Now I know why many rich folks become guarded and assertive to the point they resemble mean people.

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Alphy March 11, 2014 at 4:10 am

I just cant take this anymore. My fiance has lost both his parents and since his mother’s passing he’s been taking care of his 2 sisters, he even left varsity to work. Now their father passed as well, the sisters live in the mother’s house and we live in the house his father left him. His sisters are 22 and 19 yrs old, he sends money every month for rent, cable, gas etc. and now they want more. I feel like they are taking advantage that he always says “yes” cause they are not even looking for jobs. The 22 yr old has a child and I think they are big enough to now look for jobs. My fiance doesn’t even earn much as he left his studies, I earn more than him.

Me and my fiance are expecting our 1st child and I think it’s time we focus on saving for our child….. am I a bad person for thinking that?

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Feeling Used II and Guilty March 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I have a 60 year old male cousin, who has worked sporadically over the years and blown through inheritances from his mother and aunt. All older relatives are now deceased, so he is looking to me for financial support because I am a professional with a good income. I helped him out the first time when he lost his part-time job and needed money for rent at the long-stay motel. That money dried up at Christmas time so I gave him additional money(double the time before) to last over the holidays and the winter. He told me this would get him to April and he was sure he would have a job by then. I also told him that was the extent of my helping him out financially because I wasn’t doing him any favors and with this time frame, he would know there was no more money coming from me and he would have to find some sort of job. He wasn’t pleased when I told him that. Well, it is mid-march and, right on schedule, he left a message on my phone telling me he needed to get together over the weekend so he could tell me how much help he needed. I am stressed out over this. I can afford to help him out, but he never helps himself. I was horrified how he continually took money from his mother and an aunt, with sob stories about how there were no jobs or he needed new tires or a new computer. He has never helped out any family members with his time and caring. He just expects handouts. I have tried to suggest jobs to him, but he has an answer why such jobs aren’t right for him – too much standing on his feet, hates the graveyard shift, not the right credentials, etc. I don’t know what to do. I have to say no to him or I will be the family support to replace his mother. But I feel tremendous guilt that he will have to live in his car and I would feel responsible if something happened to him. Anybody with any thoughts?

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sandford June 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

When it’s family it can become an emotional issue. If you look at a person’s history objectively (get an outside opinion if needed) and they have difficult circumstances but are trying hard and willing to work in whatever capacity (take jobs they don’t like, babysit, or paint your house, sell some items etc. then help them out.
But if they continually make poor decions spending more than they take in–and continually ask for money but aren’t willing to work & don’t find ways to pay you back then they have no incentive to learn a better way of life and can drain you dry. And you both end up unhappy. So explain that you care about them but they need to find other solutions -and that you can ONLY bail them out one more time–and ask them to choose–is this that time. And then stick to it.

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moroni June 18, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Looks like all these stories are similar. My brother in law and sister, in the 27 years they’ve been together, have been stable perhaps 5 or fewer of those years. Now they have no income, and for whatever reason to this point have refused to apply for government help. There’s always a job around the corner, etc. My sister even went back to work after decades out of the work force to raise a large family. But as soon as he got a job she quit. His job didn’t last long. And he’s only a few years from retirement age. They’re willing to accept help from family, friends, and charitable organizations – so what’s the difference accepting it from the State or Federal government? I really think that my brother in law would rather they go homeless than choose a home within their means. I’m bereft…I just sent cash and I don’t want to send anymore…

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