Author Topic: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family  (Read 8496 times)

TheGadfly

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Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« on: February 19, 2016, 09:31:36 AM »
I'd like to know if anyone else struggles with extended family members who don't respect the financial priorities and life goals you've set for yourself and your own family.

****Rant****

My wife and I are mustachian with modest incomes and the rest of my family (parents, sister, aunt, uncle, cousins) are anti-mustashian and likely part of the top 1%. My aunt and uncle are especially wealthy. To put it in perspective, using the wealth they generated from their small livestock pharmaceutical empire, they bought a multi-million dollar Victorian mansion, put all five of their children through elite private colleges, purchased each child a house upon graduation, and "invested" in an insanely lavish timeshare in the Caribbean that caters to celebrities ( won't even go into detail about the cars, boats and other recreational vehicles at their disposal).

My parents are less wealthy and more conservative with their money but often give-in to the pressure of my extended family's conspicuous spending.

Since money is no object to them, my family rarely discusses money unless they want to brag about how much they've accumulated or how much their properties have appreciated. When my wife and I try to engage them in a conversation about saving money, it's like an abstract concept that they cannot readily comprehend.

Normally, I am not terribly bothered by their attitudes or extreme wealth; however, occasionally, I does impact me directly. The source of my frustration is often the annual family reunion that they plan without regard my financial constraints or values. Last summer they planned a trip to Las Vegas (The Wynn, executive suite, high-end dining, night club table service, etc.) and invited the rest of the family to join them. My parents, sister, brother-in-law and others went along with the idea without a question. My wife and I immediately refused because, in spite of their assurances that they "will cover everything", what they don't seem to understand is that we will still need to pay for plane tickets, a hotel room, overpriced food, etc.

More obnoxiously, for some reunions, they actually promise to cover absolutely everything except the plane ticket (which I believe to be very generous and understanding of them) but when it's time to check out of the hotel or pay the dinner bill, there is a eerie and silent expectation that I will pay the bill anyway. Basically, I have to remind them of their promise and ask them to pay, after which they give me an assuring look and say "Ah, okay, I see. Don't worry, I've got this covered". It's humiliating and I'm starting to believe it's intentional. 

....Anyway, my aunt and uncle have invited everyone to stay at their timeshare resort for a week this summer. Again, they say they will cover our expenses but, if this trip is anything like the last, I will be silently forced into paying for the $800 plane tickets; the $100 boat charter to/from the island; the $80-per-night turn-down/cleaning service (not included in the hotel rate that my aunt/uncle will pay for); exorbitantly priced meals at the resort (from which there is no escape)...the list goes on. Granted, paying a total of $1500 for a one-week vacation isn't terrible but spending a week with my family is far from relaxing when I have to put up with insufferable snobbery and pay-to-play scenarios at every turn.

I've communicated my concerns, my limitations and my values to my family every time I turn down their offers to "join the fun". I've told them that high-end resorts/hotels/restaurants are not my scene. I've even suggested other (less expensive) ways for us to all be together. By now, they should know how my wife and I feel about their reunion planning. Their initial response is, "Oh come on! You can afford it. The whole family is going to be there, you have to come!" When I repeat myself, I get "Well, that's too bad. We'll see you next time!"

***Rant over****

 Does anyone else deal with this shit? Can I just assume my family isn't going to make an effort at understanding where I'm coming from?

cloudsail

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 10:07:16 AM »
Just wanted to say sorry that you have to deal with this crap. Sounds absolutely awful. I have one wealthy aunt but she would never do anything like this. Honestly if I were you I think the only option is to distance yourself as much as possible. You can't change them and you shouldn't have to spend money to be miserable.

acroy

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 10:11:44 AM »
Let it slide off you, man.
Be confident in your position of strength! Don't GAF! laugh at it!
Personally I have one or 2 distant wealthy relations. Unfortunately I have several close, lazy, welfare-recipient (don't need it, just don't want to work, do the bare minimum to stay on welfare) relations. And all their kids. To them I am the snob. Tough chit.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 10:19:30 AM »
If it bothers you, don't go.

I certainly wouldn't expect this trip to be any different- surely by now a clear pattern has been established of how this goes.

humbleMouse

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 10:25:33 AM »
Doesn't sound too bad to me.  I would swallow my pride and ask/remind them to pay for everything while I am on the trips.  If you don't let yourself "feel humiliated", sounds like you could have some pretty fun times.  A lot better than having broke shitty drug addicted family or something. 

merula

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 10:48:55 AM »
You have to determine if the cost you're paying is worth what you're getting. Is $1,500 plus dealing with them worth... time with family, seeing a new place, relaxation, or whatever else the trip has to offer.

I've been in a few situations of family or group travel. The first was "We're going to do A, B and C. Cost per person is $X, do you want to join us." I looked at $X and thought, totally not worth it. So I declined.

One I accepted was "We're going do A, B, C and D. We're covering A and B, you'll need to cover C and D. Do you want to join us?" In that case, the cost for just C and D was worth it to me, so I went along with it.

It sounds like your family is offering the second one, but only you can determine if it's worth it to you.

marcela

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 10:59:59 AM »
I sympathize with you Gadfly. My ILs come from money and they are constantly inviting us along on things that are simply out of our price range. I am not comfortable around that kind of excess and am not able to enjoy these outings. So if we say no, then we are the bad guys who never make time for family. If we say yes, we spend the whole time flabbergasted that someone would spend hundreds of dollars a day.

tj

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2016, 11:14:24 AM »
I have no shame in letting family subsidize expensive activities that I wouldn't normally do on my own. But they don't make me feel humiliated.

Cassie

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 11:32:55 AM »
I think it is horrible to offer to pay and then make you feel humiliated. I would not want to go on these trips. They are showing a total lack of respect for both of you. Family reunions should take everyone into consideration. If you are going to spend a significant amount of $ on a vacation it should be fun and with people you like.

ohana

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 11:36:16 AM »
Tell them you already have reservations for camping that week, and would be really happy if they wanted to come along.  And you can pay their campsite fee and will provide all the marshmallows for them.

mozar

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 12:37:11 PM »
I have wealthy relatives, but they don't invite me on lavish trips. But they do invite me to thxgiving. The hotel is only a hundred bucks, but I'm starting to think that's not even worth it. My relatives are obnoxious and condescending. My point is that I dont want to spend time with obnoxious relatives even for free. So I think you shouldn't go.

Fishindude

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2016, 12:44:08 PM »
Sounds like you are uncomfortable with it.
I would politely decline and thank them for the offer.

mm1970

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2016, 01:31:01 PM »
If it bothers you, don't go.

I certainly wouldn't expect this trip to be any different- surely by now a clear pattern has been established of how this goes.
Pretty much this.

Eventually they will stop asking.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 01:43:28 PM »
Tell them you already have reservations for camping that week, and would be really happy if they wanted to come along.  And you can pay their campsite fee and will provide all the marshmallows for them.

+1.

Taking a longer term perspective, can say "I would really love for our family to all spend time together, in all the different ways of joyous gathering we can imagine.  Let's start alternating vacations of creativity that I will arrange, like camping, and the lush arrangements at which you are so expert.  Will you come camping with us?"

True, they will likely say no.  But at least you have a positive perspective to counter their offer.


*****
Or you can go on the trip and say at the end, "(Wealthy relative), you said you had this covered.  You DO have this, right?" 

Personally, I'd directly tell them that I don't want to come because their behavior makes me feel bad.  But every family is different. Good luck finding a solution you like.

I used to argue with my dad sometimes.  But later, we reconciled as I took care of him during his last years.  Sometimes it's surprising how much love you can find underneath the prickly exterior.  Anyway, I hope it works out.

soupcxan

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 01:44:01 PM »
If it's not enjoyable to see these people, or you don't think it's worth the expense, don't go.

But grousing about being forced to pay for your own plane tickets comes across as whiny. You have to pay for plane tickets to go anywhere.

Bucksandreds

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2016, 01:57:54 PM »
If it's not enjoyable to see these people, or you don't think it's worth the expense, don't go.

But grousing about being forced to pay for your own plane tickets comes across as whiny. You have to pay for plane tickets to go anywhere.

I agree. Go, suck up your pride and appreciate their generosity. Otherwise don't go. They're paying 75% or more of your vacation and they're the bad guys?

marcela

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2016, 02:10:52 PM »
If it's not enjoyable to see these people, or you don't think it's worth the expense, don't go.

But grousing about being forced to pay for your own plane tickets comes across as whiny. You have to pay for plane tickets to go anywhere.

I agree. Go, suck up your pride and appreciate their generosity. Otherwise don't go. They're paying 75% or more of your vacation and they're the bad guys?

That's not what Gadfly said. They mention how the family offers to pay and then when the time comes they don't pony up, forcing an uncomfortable encounter.
Also there's a big difference between plane tickets purchased for a trip you chose, at a time that was best for you (with all applicable discounts and savings) and one that you have to pay for due to other people's choices. I can spend $200 on plane tickets and another $300 on lodging/food for myself and my husband to have a weekend trip or I can spend the $1,600 it would cost for us to visit Vegas for my SIL's birthday weekend as was requested two years ago. Like Gadfly, we were told we only had to pay for plane tickets. We said no and now were the bad guys of the family who didn't care enough about her birthday. 

Reynold

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2016, 02:15:56 PM »
If it's not enjoyable to see these people, or you don't think it's worth the expense, don't go.

But grousing about being forced to pay for your own plane tickets comes across as whiny. You have to pay for plane tickets to go anywhere.

I agree. Go, suck up your pride and appreciate their generosity. Otherwise don't go. They're paying 75% or more of your vacation and they're the bad guys?

I understand the OP's perspective.  My FIL would spontaneously offer to take us all to dinner, then when he saw the bill was over $100 (for 4 people,  mind you), he would complain and grouse about it, and decide to just leave a $10 tip "because that is plenty of money for anyone".  It was, when he started working, in 1938, but not so much now.  Anyway, it would suck all the joy out of it for my wife.  If someone offers to pay for something, then has to be reminded of it, or complain about it, it is really rather annoying IMHO.  I suspect it is not so much deliberate on the part of the relatives, as just that they have no concept of someone who "has to worry about money", so it doesn't occur to them when the bill for the meal comes that they need to give you something at that point.   For them to then pressure you is not nice, though. 

The only thing I can suggest, other than just telling them no, is to ask for a "cash advance".  Estimate what your actual costs will be, add a buffer, get it in advance, meticulously document your expenses, and give them the accounting plus remainder.  I don't know if that is particularly fun, but at least they may then realize how much it is costing you, and you will only be out what you agreed to.  Not that they are likely to care, they probably couldn't tell you what THEY spend on one of these things, it is literally in the noise for them. 

Giro

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2016, 02:31:18 PM »
I don't even go to Thanksgiving dinner with my family if I don't feel like it.  I used to begrudgingly spend time with my family until I got married.  My husband told me that I never have to do ANYTHING I don't want to do.  It is all a choice, even family!  He covers for us a lot and we stay home and chill. 

It's your life and it's time that you will never get back.  If you truly want to go, save up some cash and go with them.  If you truly do not want to go, make other plans. 

Life is FAR too short. 

Larabeth

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2016, 04:07:24 AM »
More obnoxiously, for some reunions, they actually promise to cover absolutely everything except the plane ticket (which I believe to be very generous and understanding of them) but when it's time to check out of the hotel or pay the dinner bill, there is a eerie and silent expectation that I will pay the bill anyway. Basically, I have to remind them of their promise and ask them to pay, after which they give me an assuring look and say "Ah, okay, I see. Don't worry, I've got this covered". It's humiliating and I'm starting to believe it's intentional. 

This is where I would personally draw the line.  I'm all for loving my blood relatives, but if you're going to humiliate me and emotionally manipulate me, I'm done.  Even if it was initially unintentional, you voicing your interests in a different way and them ignoring you completely is inappropriate.

MayDay

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2016, 10:51:13 AM »
I suppose I would agree to a trip like that, if they agreed to pay everything- but only if they paid it all.  Don't reserve flights- let them do it.  If they don't, well, you'll know they don't really want you to come.  If they do, and they cover the hotel, then I'd be inclined to let the small expenses go.

My grandpa is quite well off (though no where near the level of your relatives) and he is a bit odd about stuff like this- he'll offer to pay, then not, then we have to decide to awkwardly bring it up or not.  At this point we just always assume we will pay, even if he says he will, and then it is a nice bonus if he does. 

But honestly they sound like awful people so I probably wouldn't want to go at all!

rmendpara

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2016, 03:58:09 PM »
Would going every other year alleviate some of the issue? I don't know if you value time with your extended family, but even if you paid for it yourself, and it's more than you would normally want to spend, it could be worthwhile. Surely that's for you to judge...

... if you don't enjoy their company, it's more than you want to spend, and they gripe over paying when they offer on their own accord, then don't go and don't feel bad about saying no.

Apples

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2016, 04:58:47 PM »
More obnoxiously, for some reunions, they actually promise to cover absolutely everything except the plane ticket (which I believe to be very generous and understanding of them) but when it's time to check out of the hotel or pay the dinner bill, there is a eerie and silent expectation that I will pay the bill anyway. Basically, I have to remind them of their promise and ask them to pay, after which they give me an assuring look and say "Ah, okay, I see. Don't worry, I've got this covered". It's humiliating and I'm starting to believe it's intentional. 

This is where I would personally draw the line.  I'm all for loving my blood relatives, but if you're going to humiliate me and emotionally manipulate me, I'm done.  Even if it was initially unintentional, you voicing your interests in a different way and them ignoring you completely is inappropriate.

This is where you ignore the awkwardness and sit/stand and smile expectantly at them.  Don't let them do a power play and awkwardly force you into either paying or seeming like a tightwad.  Lean back in your seat, step back from the check-in counter, etc.  Tell them "thanks again for being so willing to to cover things for us, we appreciate it" and smile like there's no tomorrow.  Make the silence awkward in your favor.  You're getting power played, so play it right back.  My MIL is the most passive aggressive person on the planet...they only way to play the game successfully is to be open, honest, cheerful, and direct.  We didn't bring enough cash to cover this, since you had planned to cover it.  The only credit card I have with me doesn't have a big enough limit on it, I left the regular one at home-you know how terrible credit card theft is!  Thanks again, this is great.  Kill them with cheerfulness and gratitude.

BlueHouse

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2016, 05:25:02 PM »

More obnoxiously, for some reunions, they actually promise to cover absolutely everything except the plane ticket (which I believe to be very generous and understanding of them) but when it's time to check out of the hotel or pay the dinner bill, there is a eerie and silent expectation that I will pay the bill anyway. Basically, I have to remind them of their promise and ask them to pay, after which they give me an assuring look and say "Ah, okay, I see. Don't worry, I've got this covered". It's humiliating and I'm starting to believe it's intentional. 

There's another option that you seem to overlook.  If you can't afford the hotel they've chosen, select another one around the block.  Or plan ahead and get a VBO.  There are plenty of ways to join more spendy family members without breaking the bank.  Don't feel like you have to go every time, but Vegas?  there are hundreds of cheaper hotels in that city and you DO NOT have to stay in the executive suites. 

Rollin

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2016, 05:58:50 PM »
You have to determine if the cost you're paying is worth what you're getting. Is $1,500 plus dealing with them worth... time with family, seeing a new place, relaxation, or whatever else the trip has to offer.

I've been in a few situations of family or group travel. The first was "We're going to do A, B and C. Cost per person is $X, do you want to join us." I looked at $X and thought, totally not worth it. So I declined.

One I accepted was "We're going do A, B, C and D. We're covering A and B, you'll need to cover C and D. Do you want to join us?" In that case, the cost for just C and D was worth it to me, so I went along with it.

It sounds like your family is offering the second one, but only you can determine if it's worth it to you.

If someone else is paying there could be a lot of expectations and that go along with that.

To the OP, no it doesn't happen to me and likely not many others here since you said they were top 1%.

I'd live my life the way I wanted.  You probably aren't doing this on purpose, but it comes out as a bit whiny when all you have to do is say no thank you.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 06:01:36 PM by Rollin »

Larabeth

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2016, 07:25:02 PM »
I'd live my life the way I wanted.  You probably aren't doing this on purpose, but it comes out as a bit whiny when all you have to do is say no thank you.

Maybe I'm just whiny too, but I don't see this situation as anything that can be easily handled by a "No, thank you!" 

The social and emotional expectations make it hard to just say no and walk away.  Also, the fallout from not handling a situation correctly is something to consider.  This is family and it can be hard, even if you're not very attached to them.

Rollin

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2016, 07:55:43 PM »
I'd live my life the way I wanted.  You probably aren't doing this on purpose, but it comes out as a bit whiny when all you have to do is say no thank you.

Maybe I'm just whiny too, but I don't see this situation as anything that can be easily handled by a "No, thank you!" 

The social and emotional expectations make it hard to just say no and walk away.  Also, the fallout from not handling a situation correctly is something to consider.  This is family and it can be hard, even if you're not very attached to them.

So many webs are weaved when we commit to things that we really don't want to commit to.  These commitments no only hurt you, but you can affect you other relationships too.  Let them feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.  That may sound abrupt, but it is not meant to be.  It may be a slow and gradual process or it can be quite quick, but you have to be true to what you think is right.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 07:57:32 PM by Rollin »

Larabeth

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2016, 08:35:01 PM »
I'd live my life the way I wanted.  You probably aren't doing this on purpose, but it comes out as a bit whiny when all you have to do is say no thank you.

Maybe I'm just whiny too, but I don't see this situation as anything that can be easily handled by a "No, thank you!" 

The social and emotional expectations make it hard to just say no and walk away.  Also, the fallout from not handling a situation correctly is something to consider.  This is family and it can be hard, even if you're not very attached to them.

So many webs are weaved when we commit to things that we really don't want to commit to.  These commitments no only hurt you, but you can affect you other relationships too.  Let them feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.  That may sound abrupt, but it is not meant to be.  It may be a slow and gradual process or it can be quite quick, but you have to be true to what you think is right.

This is true.  Sometimes you just have to find a way to put your foot down.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2016, 08:57:57 PM »
More obnoxiously, for some reunions, they actually promise to cover absolutely everything except the plane ticket (which I believe to be very generous and understanding of them) but when it's time to check out of the hotel or pay the dinner bill, there is a eerie and silent expectation that I will pay the bill anyway. Basically, I have to remind them of their promise and ask them to pay, after which they give me an assuring look and say "Ah, okay, I see. Don't worry, I've got this covered". It's humiliating and I'm starting to believe it's intentional. 

This is where I would personally draw the line.  I'm all for loving my blood relatives, but if you're going to humiliate me and emotionally manipulate me, I'm done.  Even if it was initially unintentional, you voicing your interests in a different way and them ignoring you completely is inappropriate.

This is where you ignore the awkwardness and sit/stand and smile expectantly at them.  Don't let them do a power play and awkwardly force you into either paying or seeming like a tightwad.  Lean back in your seat, step back from the check-in counter, etc.  Tell them "thanks again for being so willing to to cover things for us, we appreciate it" and smile like there's no tomorrow.  Make the silence awkward in your favor.  You're getting power played, so play it right back.  My MIL is the most passive aggressive person on the planet...they only way to play the game successfully is to be open, honest, cheerful, and direct.  We didn't bring enough cash to cover this, since you had planned to cover it.  The only credit card I have with me doesn't have a big enough limit on it, I left the regular one at home-you know how terrible credit card theft is!  Thanks again, this is great.  Kill them with cheerfulness and gratitude.

I like this approach, but not as much as I would enjoy turning down a vacation with terrible people. And in at least this regard, the OP's wealthy relatives are terrible people. If you offer to pay for someone's expenses because money is no issue to you and you enjoy their company (or for whatever reason), then FFS go out of your way to make it as unawkward as possible. Pay the bill in advance, or jokingly scold them as soon as they reach for their wallet and have your credit card and a quick change of subject ready. Just do whatever to make it clear as day that the money is not an issue and that you really just wanted their company. It seems the OP's relatives do the opposite. I know some wealthy people, and all their fancy shit could not impress me less or make me want to vacation with them more if they act like inconsiderate asshats.

EcoCanuck

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2016, 11:05:24 PM »
Just a thought, if its a yearly reunion suggest that the 'planner' of the reunion change each year - rotate it between the family, create a 10y schedule. If they want to do the tropical thing for their turn at planning it - fine. You can organize a hike and picnic at some amazing and local scenic area for your turn.

Don't let them control it, they are likely competing with themself.

EcoCanuck

Exflyboy

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2016, 10:47:03 PM »
Scew these people no way I'd waste my time or energy hanging around these clowns family or not.

goatmom

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2016, 05:50:45 AM »
I would go along except for the part where they humiliate you.  That is just bizarre.  Are you sure that is what is going on?  Maybe they just aren't thinking or have had a few drinks?  If they are truly that mean - I wouldn't play along.  Have you asked other family members their opinions of the dynamics?  Maybe you are being sensitive?

My MIL often offers to pay for things that in my opinion just aren't worth it.  Takes us to restaurants but basically tells you what you can order.  Bad tipper.  Etc.  Just stressful for me so I don't want to go either.  She's hardly 1 percent - just controlling.  I don't think behavior like that is reserved for the 1 percent. 

Most of my relatives are much more likely to be hitting me up for a loan than offering to pay for an nice vacation.  Or trying to stick me with the bill. LOL. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2016, 06:57:45 AM »
I'd live my life the way I wanted.  You probably aren't doing this on purpose, but it comes out as a bit whiny when all you have to do is say no thank you.

Maybe I'm just whiny too, but I don't see this situation as anything that can be easily handled by a "No, thank you!" 

The social and emotional expectations make it hard to just say no and walk away.  Also, the fallout from not handling a situation correctly is something to consider.  This is family and it can be hard, even if you're not very attached to them.

"I'm sorry, I'm not available this year. Thanks for offering."

Our family has a yearly vacation to the Jersey shore.  My branch of the family goes once every 5 years.

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2016, 08:27:00 AM »
Turn down any invitation that doesn't appeal. 

If the invitation appeals but was made without an offer to pay, make your own choices about flights and hotels and pay them yourself.

If the invitation does appeal and they've offered to pay, say "how generous, we'd love to come, here are the flight details, do send us the confirmations when you've booked the flights and the hotel, it sounds as though it will be great fun".

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Re: Rant: Dealing with wealthy, spend-thrift family
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2016, 09:40:08 AM »
You are among friends who understand and appreciate your rant. These relatives sound too influential to completely not GAF. Sitting down and explaining your goals, probably will not work. Awkwardly waiting for you to request they pay is a power move. Sometimes rich people like to do this to remind you who is in charge. It sounds like you are tired of playing their game of going on "free" vacations that make you guilty and poor.

I like the idea of expressing interest and then saying you will fully commit when tickets/etc arrive. You still have to deal with meals and any extra purchases that make you feel uncomfortable. If you are really at your rope's end with this, you may just need a break this year. I've exploded (justified) at family before, it isn't quickly forgotten regardless of how right you are. If you are at that point, I'd find a reason to not show up, become less tense and then try something next year. Vacations and family time should at least possibly be enjoyable, even if they don't turn out that way and it sounds like no matter how this vacation goes, you will not enjoy it. So...don't go and under no circumstances do you feel bad about it.