Author Topic: when someone you love is terrible with money  (Read 15576 times)

totoro

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when someone you love is terrible with money
« on: May 23, 2013, 11:00:45 AM »
I have a sister who is terrible with money.  She has been this way all her life.  She is almost 40 and has very large student loans and credit card debt. She has recently gone on disability for a medical condition, so her income has dropped.

On the positive side, she is married and her husband works at a modest stable job.  They have a small house with an affordable mortgage and they get along well.  They don't have outrageous spending patterns, but consistently have credit card debt, spend beyond their means (imo), and do not plan for emergencies at all.  Her husband is not a saver either  and neither of them are handy at all.

In the past, I've given my sister several thousand dollars a few times to help her along when she was in financial trouble.  I'm helping her now to deal with creditors and insurers, but I'm really really frustrated with the denial she lives in which has become so apparent now that I'm more involved in the details.  Before when I knew less she always gave me reasons why she was in difficulty that I could somewhat accept.  Now she has similar justifications, but I can clearly see they are part of a pattern of denial and/or just not grasping reality.

As an example, she is eligible for a disability tax credit.  She has just found out she is getting $5000 back.  Unfortunately, she has plans to use part of this money to go on a vacation with her husband because "they need it" because of the stress and they can get a great package deal. 

I know this trip will be over $1000 dollars and I know they just went away in March.  I know this is something they cannot afford and could not afford in March, yet, to listen to my sister, it is portrayed as a need and not a want.

At the same time as she has these plans, I know they have student loan and consumer debt, have a leaking toilet and a crumbling deck, no emergency fund, she is on disability and who knows when she will be able to return to work - it may not be for a lengthy period and she has not yet qualified for long-term disability. 

When I look at the overall financial situation, it is apparent to me that my sister may be better off declaring bankruptcy if her medical condition persists.  This would result in a discharge of her student loans and consumer debt which I cannot see her be able to pay off.  It would not affect her husband's credit and they could keep their home. 

My sister refused this suggestion outright.  I can really understand this and certainly don't think it is good to take this step if you can manage another way.  The problem is I can see it going that direction anyway, and without a little planning which would cost them nothing, they could lose the house.   Her rationale for not do this planning is that she will find a way and her credit cards have been her emergency fund  and this would be cut off for at least seven years.  This could affect their (oh so unrealistic) dream of buying a vacation place.

I don't even know how to respond anymore.  Mostly I just commiserate with her on her difficulties because she doesn't welcome any other kind of feedback - she comes back with a lot of weird (to me) justifications based on emotions and not logic.  She is a kind and generous person and I love her, and her medical condition is real and currently debilitating, but I think she prefers denial to reality and there is this subtext that I can help her as long as I don't pop any bubbles.  I think it is also hard for her because we are doing well financially and I've always been the responsible one.

If she were my child I would definitely barge in and get the necessary repairs done on the house because I am the parent (no matter how old they are) and it would cause more stress for me to think of this situation continuing.  We have talked about doing this for them. This would require me flying there with my husband to sort everything out.   What stops us?  The knowledge that they would take a vacation under these circumstances kind of takes away the thought that this is the right step and it might be wasted effort and we might be perceived as overbearing.  We want to help, but perpetuating the fantasy seems like it would not solve anything.

So, mostly this is venting I guess.  I know others here have had some similar experiences.  I don't have any great ideas for how to handle this differently except to come to acceptance myself and then maybe go out and fix the house anyway by explaining that we have some extra money and they can pay us back one day, and talk to her husband about the bankruptcy option. 

If anyone else has better ideas I'd like to hear them.

Spork

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2013, 11:09:25 AM »
My sister is in her 50s.  She's the same, only worse.

Over the years the bailouts, handouts, freebies that I know of are more than $1M.  It hasn't helped her and I'd say emphatically it has made her worse.

Personally I think you need to distance yourself and let her fail.  Enabling her is not likely to work.  I know it's hard.  But for the most part you cannot fix financial problems with money.  There is an underlying cause that she's going to have to work out herself.

Also... I'm not entirely sure bankruptcy would discharge student loan debt.  It doesn't mean that's not still the best option... just ... verify that.

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2013, 11:15:48 AM »
Thanks Spork.  Bankruptcy will discharge student loans in Canada when you are disabled - there may even be a way to gain a discharge without bankruptcy if you are totally unable to work.  You can also apply to court post-bankruptcy to have loans discharged seven years after you last incurred them - this is often granted where there is hardship.

I understand the advice to let her fail and then change.  It is the same approach with any sort of addiction, ie. you have to hit bottom before your delusions shift and you have to want to make the changes.  In this case, I have my doubts that change will ever occur and maybe there is something I can do.  She is quite sick.

I'm also okay to do what I can within limits to make things better in a practical way.  Part of this is for her, but part of this is because it is worse for me not to.  I guess that is why "enabling" happens a lot of the time.  Fine line between enabling and showing you care.

twinge

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 11:28:13 AM »
I'm sorry to hear your sister's health and money issues.

I had a couple of thoughts:

1. Your sister sounds like she has a "magical thinking" approach to life--if you swoop down with financial help you're providing further evidence to bolster this view.  It's really not help.  You would be making that dream purchase of a vacation house seem closer and bankruptcy seem farther.

2. If you think a bankruptcy where they might lose the house could be down the line, I wouldn't do the repairs.  Just would make it a more attractive asset to lose.  Maybe if you were visiting anyway, you could help out with some smaller diy repairs?  Seeing you do physical work to solve a problem may feel more "real world"  than you paying someone (hence working on that magic).

3. If you're working with creditors and insurers with her be really sure you're not doing it for her.  You say she perceives you as the "responsible one" -- it's really easy to keep reifying these sibling roles and subtly undermine each other without intending it.  I would purposefully hold off on what I know and put more of the analysis and decision-making to her--ask her questions like, ok this creditor wants this, what's the rate? What do you think? Which would be a better decision to pay? What are these insurance claims about? -- rather than figure it out all for her and then worry that she doesn't grasp it.  She may feel more ownership if she has to do more of the legwork of figuring it out and spending time with the reality of her situation may sink in more.


twinge

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 11:30:46 AM »
Quote
She may feel more ownership if she has to do more of the legwork of figuring it out and spending time with the reality of her situation may sink in more.

Oops, I wanted to add--that may put her in a better position to meaningfully receive assistance you might provide in the future.  Giving it now, you're just perpetuating her delusions.

Khan

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 11:50:30 AM »
-Get her Your Money or Your Life and ensure she reads it. There's no guarantee that it'll work, but it's a cheap thing to try.

Now, my experience was with someone who simply didn't know there was a better way, and he's also not 40 and super-set in his ways, so in that regards I was lucky, but try to show her what her constant credit card debt and student loans cost her, on a yearly basis in interest. Make a connection between that and all the other niceties in life she 'needs' and how much her/her husband have to slave away hourly to get that. Show her that restaurant meal actually costs -2-3 hours of their time, and do that for every thing you can.

Do not provide financial support to her, and don't hurt yourself  bending over backwards to help. It's the hardest thing, yes, but you don't give a crack addict more crack.

OzzieandHarriet

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 11:56:21 AM »
I have a situation like this with my sister -- she is in her 50s and destitute, tried to commit suicide 2 years ago, really bad with money (and she's a CPA!). But she's very intelligent, and on some level completely aware of the mistakes she's made. Her MO has been to get a good job (and she's had many good jobs) and then get bored with it and work her way around to getting fired or quitting in a huff. Her current mantra seems to be she's sick (depression), so she can't work or do anything where anyone can rely on her. Biggest problem? IMO, it's our older sister who has enabled all of this over many years, and who is now supporting her with no strings. I have had to distance myself from this, and it's been hard, but don't know what else to do.

To the OP, if you do continue to help your sister, I would do it only if you expect nothing in return -- including not expecting her to change.

olivia

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 12:18:16 PM »
I would keep out of her finances completely, and I definitely wouldn't give her anymore money when the first thing she does when she gets a tax refund is spend it on a vacation.  Some people just aren't fixable, and even though she's your sister and you lovie her, it's not your job to fix her problems.

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 12:36:28 PM »
My sister is the same way.  I've loaned her money for years, never been paid back, etc.  The final straw was when I was in law school (so no income, just student loans) and she needed new tires on her car (as in, driving 100+ miles on the donut spare).  I said I would pay for them, and she swore she would pay me back out of her next check.  3 years later, I have never seen a penny of it.  So this year she comes to me to "borrow" $1k to get her car out of impound (for driving on a suspended license, which I'm pretty sure she is doing again now that she has her car back) and I told her no.  She looked at me like I had 8 heads.  I told her why, and she said "Oh, I thought I paid you back.  I can put that tire money in your account next payday."  Umm, no.  So I gave her the money I would have spent on her birthday and Christmas gifts early, and that was it.

She hasn't asked for money since.  I highly doubt she's changed, but I'm no longer her bank.  It works out awesome for me, and I'm not enabling her anymore.

Spork

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 12:37:39 PM »
I'm also okay to do what I can within limits to make things better in a practical way.  Part of this is for her, but part of this is because it is worse for me not to.  I guess that is why "enabling" happens a lot of the time.  Fine line between enabling and showing you care.

This sounds like my dad (who has bailed her out several times).  It's a little easier for me to let it go (or it is now) as my sis is also an alcoholic that has developed personality traits that become harder and harder to deal with.  At some point it's easier to let go.

But I always think: if dad had let her fall 25 years ago -- would we be where we are today? 

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 12:49:45 PM »
and even though she's your sister and you love her, it's not your job to fix her problems.

+1
Lots of great comments.

It's not easy, but creating a situation of dependency instead of independence only keeps the cycle going. By cutting it off, she may be able to come out of it. Only she can help herself.

Frankies Girl

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 01:04:12 PM »
Same thing here. Sister that is not good with money and makes bad decisions... Except for the disability, it's very similar! It kills me since she is smart.

Scary thing is, our father just died, left a very nice estate equally divided between the two of us. She is getting a divorce (it's pretty sad, as he's not a horrible guy - they just couldn't make it work). She's already cashed out an IRA with the 10% penalty, and some more fees due to some of the money being in CDs and doesn't care about taxes even though she isn't divorced yet and will have to file with his earnings as well, and she's going to get a nasty surprise when she files. :(

The money is a nice amount - but not enough to live on for the rest of her life.


Sorry, didn't mean to hijack....

So what I told her is that she is not good with money, and that I was worried about her since once this is gone, there is literally nothing left to fall back on. Our dad is gone, and the safety net went with him, and that she needs to get some financial help and do some serious soul searching on what her future will be like if she continues doing what she's always done. And that's all I'm going to say to her unless she comes to me for help.

If she does come to me, I'll offer advice, but nothing else unless it is a true emergency.



You have to let them fall on their ass sometimes. Your sister is a full grown adult, and the best you can do is to stop enabling and hope that they do eventually learn how to get themselves out of the mess they made. Offer emotional support and advise if asked, but otherwise, let her fight her own battles.

That might be hard if she's facing losing her home or car or the like. But the fact is, there is public assistance that plenty of people take advantage of, and if that is rock bottom for her, then either she will stay there, or she'll figure out what she needs to do to get out of it.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 10:33:11 PM by Frankies Girl »

OzzieandHarriet

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 01:32:57 PM »
Ah, Franke's Daughter, I wish someone had done this with my sister years ago. But the other sister has always swooped in and "saved" her. And now she has pulled the suicide card, so if anyone talked tough with her, she'd just say, "Okay, I wanted to die anyway, so I'll just kill myself." She certainly has our other sister running rings around her with this.

madgeylou

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 01:37:18 PM »
Ah, Franke's Daughter, I wish someone had done this with my sister years ago. But the other sister has always swooped in and "saved" her. And now she has pulled the suicide card, so if anyone talked tough with her, she'd just say, "Okay, I wanted to die anyway, so I'll just kill myself." She certainly has our other sister running rings around her with this.

ugh, that is the worst. emotional blackmail! when i hear people say shit like this, i always wonder what would happen if someone called their bluff. the folks i know who have been really troubled certainly haven't played it like a card!

sorry you are going through that.

Frankies Girl

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2013, 02:15:21 PM »
Ah, Franke's Daughter, I wish someone had done this with my sister years ago. But the other sister has always swooped in and "saved" her. And now she has pulled the suicide card, so if anyone talked tough with her, she'd just say, "Okay, I wanted to die anyway, so I'll just kill myself." She certainly has our other sister running rings around her with this.


I swear if anyone in my family started trying that type of thing, I'd be sorely tempted to call for the emergency crews to commit them for the 24 hour observation.


Check out this little snippet: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/wellness/2011/11/manipulated-by-suicide-threats/

And I also highly recommend the book "Emotional Blackmail" by Susan Forward. I've got loads of manipulative family members and that book REALLY helped me deal with and process what was happening, and what I (really) could do about it.

And big hugs - this sort of thing is something no one should have to deal with.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 02:23:21 PM by Frankies Girl »

OzzieandHarriet

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 02:31:53 PM »
Ah, Franke's Daughter, I wish someone had done this with my sister years ago. But the other sister has always swooped in and "saved" her. And now she has pulled the suicide card, so if anyone talked tough with her, she'd just say, "Okay, I wanted to die anyway, so I'll just kill myself." She certainly has our other sister running rings around her with this.


I swear if my sister started trying that type of thing, I'd be sorely tempted to call for the emergency crews to commit her for the 24 hour observation.


Check out this little snippet: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/wellness/2011/11/manipulated-by-suicide-threats/

And I also highly recommend the book "Emotional Blackmail" by Susan Forward. I've got loads of manipulative family members and that book REALLY helped me deal with and process what was happening, and what I (really) could do about it.

And big hugs - this sort of thing is something no one should have to deal with.

I should send that link to the other sister. But it wouldn't help and would get me embroiled in this again, so I won't. There are some other things going on with that crew that I won't go into here; suffice it to say that it's a mess.

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2013, 03:17:41 PM »
So much preventable trouble...  As someone who has never had a problem living within my means it is pretty stressful to see in a loved one.  I find living on the edge of disaster this way tough to watch because it is not necessary.

My sister is not an emotional blackmailer and she has actually never asked for help - I've always offered.  She is a nice person, just living in a world where decisions are made based on emotions not backed up by logic and this has led to the brink of disaster.

My sister is sick and has been for 10 years with an autoimmune disorder that has gradually gotten worse.  She has tried to work FT and was so fatigued and in so much pain that she fell at work.  I think she may not be able to go back for a long time.

Right now I'm helping her with her student loans and long-term disability insurance.  I'm a lawyer.  I asked to help her because I know how to get these things done - paperwork and processes are easy for me.  I offered because she was having so much trouble and delay dealing with the administration. 

What I have found though is that it is my sister who caused most of the delay by not understanding or doing things in an efficient way.  She does have a bit of a pattern of believing that other people are the problem...

I guess where I am at is coming to terms with my own sadness about her challenging circumstances and my frustration in what I perceive to be deeply flawed decision making that makes things worse. 

I don't feel good about giving her money because of the continuation of unsustainable patterns - unless it is truly an emergency. Feels like digging a hole and filling it. I do feel good about giving her an airmiles ticket to come visit or helping her fix her house or helping her with her applications.

My husband is really supportive but sometimes it takes hearing from others who have some similar experience to make sense of the crazy sad stuff that weighs on you.

madgeylou

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2013, 05:54:03 PM »
I don't feel good about giving her money because of the continuation of unsustainable patterns - unless it is truly an emergency. Feels like digging a hole and filling it. I do feel good about giving her an airmiles ticket to come visit or helping her fix her house or helping her with her applications.

My husband is really supportive but sometimes it takes hearing from others who have some similar experience to make sense of the crazy sad stuff that weighs on you.

That is really lovely of you to help with the administrative stuff that she struggles with. Interesting, I have noticed a serious correlation between people who have money troubles and people who have a difficult time following through on bureaucratic stuff.

It is hard to let go of the troubles of the people you love, because in some sense, it feels like you,re not loving them correctly if you're not shouldering all their burdens. Because you are so strong, right? It's easy for you and hard for her, so withholding any level of help feels cruel.

But it doesn't work like that, as you well know. Since strength is developed through effort, when you take on the burdens of others, you deny them the opportunity to become stronger.

Between these two extremes of doing nothing and doing everything is a balance we all have to find, and it sounds like you have mostly been able to do that, to know what you feel good about and what you feel bad about and to draw a line between them. Which is really great -- I'm sure it helps ease your mind.

But, yeah, it is really hard to watch. As my friend used to say, it's like watching someone drown in 3 feet of water. So unnecessary! Such a waste! Just stand up!

As for me, well, there are a lot of people in my family who are in a position similar to your sister's, and I just don't have the resources to engage with everyone's troubles. So I end up not being super close with my family ... I mean, we spend time together, but not a ton. Which sounds awful, but, yeah. I just kind of congenially steer clear of most of the drama.

mushroom

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2013, 06:19:58 PM »
Totoro, I'm sure it's tough to be in this situation, but I would also think carefully about how any financial help you give her may be mostly for your benefit.

Helping her with repairs on her house makes *you* feel better and less guilty that you're in a better financial position than she is. However, giving her this financial help I don't think is beneficial or even neutral - it actually *worsens* her situation by making her more reliant on you and believing that she always has you as a last resort so she never has to really dig out of her own financial mess. She's never going to improve this way.

Frankies Girl

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2013, 06:27:53 PM »
Totoro - sounds like she's basically a nice person that just has no common sense. There are plenty of people out there like that, and I do sympathize with you wanting to help her.

It almost sounds like you're in a parent/child scenario: you are the parent trying to guide and fix her mistakes. She's not able to handle all the aspects of being a responsible adult, so that puts you in a difficult position as someone WITH common sense.

I guess a few things to ask yourself would be:

Is she happy you are helping her out on a regular basis or does she make you feel like you are interfering in her life?

Do you feel the parent/child dynamic is one you want to sustain for the rest of your relationship?

What does she say when you talk about the reoccuring issues that could have been prevented? Does she think she has a problem, or is it always something/someone else's fault? (that's a biggie to me - if someone constantly blame-shifts that means they are refusing to recognize that they are the problem, and you can't change things you refuse to acknowledge)

If it makes you feel better to help your sister out of the troubles she is in, then do it for YOU and don't worry about what others think, and just keep reminding yourself that some people are good with certain things, and money/responsibility is not one of your sister's "things" and remember the good things she has going for her - and why you love her. And maybe keep trying to teach her some better habits if she's at all open to learning.

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2013, 07:05:37 PM »
She is a nice person with very very bad decision-making about money and planning and some poor self control - maybe based partly on a disability of some kind.  She has had a successful fifteen year relationship with her husband though. 

She does sometimes blame others for parts of the things that go wrong ie. "they" didn't send my forms in on time... when really, in my view, for important things in your life it is up to you to follow up and make sure stuff gets done.  Common sense that you don't rely on people who really don't care that much.  Common sense that you research what your student loan options are thoroughly.  Common sense that you don't incur huge loans for a degree with iffy job prospects.  Common sense that you don't treat your credit card as you do your salary.

I think the worst part for me is the magical thinking that predictably leads to bad results.  It is like being unhappy with your work and spending time fantasizing about how you would spend your lottery winnings and buying tickets instead of solving things yourself.   

When confronted, there is not really blame-shifting, there is justification/rationalization for the decisions that doesn't really make sense to me.  She does not really acknowledge my concerns and perceives them like criticism. Like the example of needing a vacation to escape stress, instead of spending the money to resolve the source of the stress.  Part of this probably comes from feeling out of control and not knowing how to cope.

As far as my role, I don't know. Most of it is because I feel badly for her and I care. I do it because I want to. After all, what is family for?  I don't believe we aren't meant to help each other - it is a problem when it is dependance and a one-way street.  She came and stayed with me for a couple months to help with my son when he was young.  I paid her, but she did not have to do this.

How does she see it?  She is grateful for the help, but somewhat reactive if she feels criticized in any way and a lot of things that I view as problem-solving seem critical to her.  I've taken to not really trying to point out logic flaws because it doesn't work. 

I don't think I'm the parent but maybe she perceives it as intrusive sometimes - I find that I cannot be blunt about things.  I think I have better abilities in the finance/management and problem-solving area by far.  She is pretty good with emotional stuff and excellent with children though.



Frankies Girl

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2013, 10:04:26 AM »
Oh darn... I was hoping that your sister would really buckle down after reading that she got approved for the disability.

It sounds like she is just unwilling to deal with the hole she's dug, so she's going to keep digging. I'm so sorry she's not dealing with the debts and lack of funds, and I am cringing at the idea of shopping vacations and that "affordable" trip to Europe - since it clearly isn't. She's just a very illogical person who has no concept of delayed gratification. She wants what she wants when she wants it, and all that stress and worry that the debt is causing creates a nasty cycle that will never end:   get upset and stressed > go shopping/take a trip > have a brief period of happiness > debt and stress still there >  ... rinse and repeat forever.

Just keep trying to help her and be there for her, but goodness, I hope you're a strong person, as the whole buy new exercise equipment (instead of what you suggested) and the multiple trips would have sent me over the edge and there would be some cursing involved on the stupidity of the situation. :(


N

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2013, 10:07:37 AM »
no one in my family is mustachian. they are all messes. as a recently reformed mess, its hard not to want to evangelize to them, but they emphatically arent listening.

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2013, 10:26:16 AM »
Yep.  Probably going to end up with me needing to learn how to accept and let it go rather than her learning how to manage a bit better.  I haven't reached this yet. Very, very difficult for me. 

You've go to love them where they are at. I'm not perfect either, just better at this stuff.

MichaelR

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2013, 11:51:21 AM »
I think this comes under the heading of "Things We Can't Control". In my experience relatives are the least likely to listen to advice. I admire your efforts in trying to help but agree with some of the comments above that if you expect a change or even gratitude you may well be disappointed. Having said that, by discussing the issues you can hope that a seed of good sense has been planted that may bear fruit in the future.

And under the heading of "It Could Always Be Worse" - I am trying to deal with a gambling addicted uncle who has no regular income, is about to be kicked out of his rental, and who has an unregistered 11 year old car as his only asset!

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2013, 01:58:03 PM »
Frankie's girl - it did send me over the edge for a bit.  I ranted to my husband and he thought it was bonkers.  I lost sleep.  You can tell it really gets me because I've gone so far as to publicly air my family business!

As far as gambling goes MichaelR, she too has had some issues with this in the past when they lived near a casino.  It became a big issue for her husband when he found out how much she had spent. He only found out when he saw her tax return and wondered where the money had gone. It almost stopped the wedding. They moved away from the casino and she stopped going after the big blow up.

All this makes me wonder about all sorts of stuff.  Like here on the board a lot of people are INTJ or INFJ (me too) and are interested in early retirement.  They are turned on by efficient systems and long-term planning and this creates security/comfort.  I wonder if people who cope like my sister have a different personality type and maybe get caught more easily in short-term comfort and stress relief.  Like personality is one piece but habit is just as important.  There should be a high school boot camp for this stuff.

So, where I am now is that I called her.  We did not talk about money but about medical stuff.  At least we are talking.  My next goal is to get her to permit me to negotiate the student loans.  I can figure that out and get her the best result possible which could be a big reduction on the $70 000.

arebelspy

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2013, 02:02:10 PM »
Probably going to end up with me needing to learn how to accept and let it go rather than her learning how to manage a bit better.

This is truth.

Hard, but true.
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totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2013, 02:19:23 PM »
I'm quite a ways from acceptance.  I'm anticipating learning some new inner turmoil mastery skills on the road to there.

pbkmaine

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2013, 02:32:31 PM »
You love them with all your might and you stop enabling them. That is love, too, and it's a tougher, better love. You say: "I love you to bits but I have given you all I can. If you need help with phone numbers or groups or spreadsheets or moral support, I am here for you. But you have to really want to change for it to work."
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 02:34:56 PM by pbkmaine »

Purple

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2013, 09:47:41 PM »
Thanks for posting this Totoro. Your posts and insights on this forum are a great gift for many.

Sometimes I wonder about some of the fabulous and insightful posters on the forum, and you are one of those definitely. I have wondered what has made you all so wise, strong and giving. Perhaps your challenges with your sister have strengthened you and given you clarity - gifts you are passing onto others even if she refuses to benefit from them.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 09:50:36 PM by Purple »

arebelspy

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2013, 10:14:46 PM »
I have wondered what has made you all so wise, strong and giving.

As the scorpion might say about totoro: it is her nature.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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Purple

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2013, 11:02:01 PM »
You are on the wonder list too Arebelspy.

arebelspy

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2013, 11:22:14 PM »
You are on the wonder list too Arebelspy.

An oversight, I'm sure.  I am none of those things.

But I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Adventine

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2013, 11:38:38 PM »
I have wondered what has made you all so wise, strong and giving.

As the scorpion might say about totoro: it is her nature.



One of my favorite childhood movies! We could all benefit from being more like Totoro.

To totoro the OP, my heart goes out to you. I also struggle with many of the same issues with my parents - essentially good people, just really bad with money.

Your sister is lucky to have someone like you in your life.

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2013, 08:56:54 AM »
Thanks so much for the kind comments and the lovely graphic :)

I still love the movie.

Things have been going okay with my sister.  We've been talking and there have been some uncomfortable moments and then some good ones too. 

Someone hit the head on the nail with the concern about the parent-child dynamic developing because she said to me that she felt like I was being the parent and reminded me that she was an adult.  She then said that, "it makes me think that you don't think I know how to make good decisions".   I just said I was worried about her plans and that it wasn't the first time she had been in desperate financial circumstances and things could easily go that way again if they don't have any savings. What else could I say?  The link between past spending decisions and her current circumstances are clear to me - but not to her.

Things got harder after that.  She pulled out the big guns on why they needed to go on the trip to Europe with her MIL  (which will now happen in September) - family is important, they really need something to look forward to because of her health and all the stress, she's been getting sicker and might not be able to travel in a few years.  She then started crying and said she'd call me back.

She did call me back and I have to give her credit.  She turned the conversation to focus on me and my life.  It gave her some power back in the relationship and helped me from a bit of over-focus on the spending worries which I have no way to change anyway.   I think it was good because we became equals again and she had some really helpful insights. 

There were a few odd moments in the conversation because she doesn't really understand my financial situation.  I have not shared the fact that we will retire in a few years with her, or anyone in my family.  My sister started to question me on the wisdom of owning so many rental properties and asking me if I wasn't concerned about not getting paid by tenants for a couple of months.  I said no, we have savings. 

I know that this was her attempt to try to point out to me that my finances might not be perfect either so maybe I should not be so concerned about hers.  It was an awkward position for me because I didn't want to make her feel envious and create a divide, but I also did not want to leave her with the impression that I wasn't applying the same logic to my own life. 

I strongly suspect she and her husband have had a number of conversations in which my "poor" financial decisions (ie. rental properties) have been used to discredit my concerns about their spending.  I'm just letting it go.   

Self-employed-swami

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2013, 11:28:15 PM »
I know in Canada, the IE sickness benefits recipients have strict rules about travel outside of the country on a week day, or for more than 24 hours (ie, a run south for gas and groceries is alright, a night away is not). 

I am glad (if you can say that) that she is getting a settlement.  Hopefully it helps, and doesn't just compound things for her, and you.

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2013, 09:01:12 AM »
I'm sorry for the OP (and others in the thread) who have and do have troubles with family members. It's incredibly stressful.

Anecdote: a few years ago I was in a serious relationship (living together) with someone who turned out to be....unstable. A very smart, very high functioning sort of unstable, but nonetheless. The opinion of the therapists we went to were that it's likely that she was (is) suffering from undiagnosed BPD. Long story short, it's one of those conditions where nothing is your fault and the world's out to get you and the world is a very black and white place. None of that is here nor there. Point being, I had to learn to draw a bright, sharp line around the things in our relationship I could control and the things I could not. I can control me; my words, my actions. I cannot control anyone else. If I've listened and given my honest opinion, and, despite that fact that I'm trying to help, they can't or won't listen to me, I can't do anything about that. If they go another way with it, that's not my burden to bear. Down that road lies codependency.

Anyway, best of luck to all.

OzzieandHarriet

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2013, 09:43:36 AM »
I'm sorry for the OP (and others in the thread) who have and do have troubles with family members. It's incredibly stressful.

Anecdote: a few years ago I was in a serious relationship (living together) with someone who turned out to be....unstable. A very smart, very high functioning sort of unstable, but nonetheless. The opinion of the therapists we went to were that it's likely that she was (is) suffering from undiagnosed BPD. Long story short, it's one of those conditions where nothing is your fault and the world's out to get you and the world is a very black and white place. None of that is here nor there. Point being, I had to learn to draw a bright, sharp line around the things in our relationship I could control and the things I could not. I can control me; my words, my actions. I cannot control anyone else. If I've listened and given my honest opinion, and, despite that fact that I'm trying to help, they can't or won't listen to me, I can't do anything about that. If they go another way with it, that's not my burden to bear. Down that road lies codependency.

Anyway, best of luck to all.

This is good advice. It's what every therapist I've talked with about my family has said. Hard to do sometimes, though, especially when they start labeling you as "cold" and "uncaring" etc.

Weedy Acres

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2014, 09:06:43 AM »
And let me guess.  I bet she completely blames the insurer for everything, and doesn't own her own decision to travel to Europe last Fall, which precipitated everything and could have completely prevented the mess.

Yeah, best thing to do is lower your expectations of her ever digging out.  Don't care about her problems more than she does.  Just love her for who she is and let the financial stuff happen as it will.

arebelspy

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2014, 09:24:02 AM »
I'm quite a ways from acceptance.  I'm anticipating learning some new inner turmoil mastery skills on the road to there.

Looks like you're making progress on that. :)

Congrats on the Federal benefits!

You may be able to get a lawyer who specializes in suing insurance companies who don't pay when they should to take the case free if you don't want the stress.

Sounds like the insurance company is acting in bad faith, which is a big no-no for them.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

totoro

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2014, 09:34:28 AM »
And let me guess.  I bet she completely blames the insurer for everything, and doesn't own her own decision to travel to Europe last Fall, which precipitated everything and could have completely prevented the mess.

Yeah, best thing to do is lower your expectations of her ever digging out.  Don't care about her problems more than she does.  Just love her for who she is and let the financial stuff happen as it will.

Yes, she does blame the insurer.  That is a bit frustrating, but I'm outraged at the insurer's conduct.  It is all about terminating, rather than providing, benefits.

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2014, 11:00:51 AM »
I just have to decide if I'm willing to give 60 or more hours to this...

What does your sister want?

sleepyguy

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2014, 11:24:47 AM »
100% agreed, don't take this the wrong way.  The more you get involved the more they are going to "lean" on you and blame you when things eventually (yes they will at this rate) fail.

Give your last piece of advice, even write down a few pages (print it out and hand it to them).  Then walk away from their financial matters.  I'm not saying cut off ties to them, no way, they are familty... just don't be involved in their financial matters anymore.

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2014, 11:33:46 AM »
I think there are lots of sayings about how family and money don't mix.  You can't change her.  Every lifestyle change is the same: the person changing needs to WANT to change otherwise it will never happen.  Your best bet is to just love her and stay away from any financial involvement until she ASKS for your help to change her ways.

You need to decide if the 60 hours is helping her or enabling her.

sobezen

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Re: when someone you love is terrible with money
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2014, 01:27:01 PM »
Totoro, I am so sorry to learn about your experiences with your sister.  I have a similar situation with my aunt who also has considerable challenges managing her finances and life.  It sounds like your sister and her husband are happy with their financial choices and lifestyle.  So it might help to ask yourself, can you accept how she manages her life and money?  It is her life and she is an adult able to make her own choices.  If you cannot respect her choices, might it be prudent to separate yourself (physically and emotionally) from her financial quicksand?  I know it is important to help family but I've learn some painful lessons trying to help others.  Specifically, sometimes I need to recognize people think differently and step back; respectfully accepting my way is not the only way.  I feel this might be the case with your sister.  It is abundantly clear you treasure her and want to help her.   And she may truly need financial help and your guidance might be spot on; however, she has not reached the point in her life where she wants to be helped.  Everyone learns in their own way and time.  I am sure you will continue being supportive but hopefully you will find the delicate balance.  Lastly, it is truly commendable you are considering help your sister by taking on her pro bono case.  I hope things conclude favorably for your sister.  Please keep us updated and side note, congratulations on the early retirement and rental properties.  Cheers!