Author Topic: Supporting Non-Mustachian In-Laws  (Read 3388 times)

BolusOfBees

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Supporting Non-Mustachian In-Laws
« on: November 04, 2012, 10:10:44 AM »
Long time lurker, first time poster.

My fiancee and I are both focused on growing our mustaches.  We're about to graduate from dental school with an astronomical amount of debt, but we have solid plans for paying it down as quickly as possible.  My fiancee, however, has some not very frugal parents that she will be supporting.  On the surface, her parents seem like they have all the basics of a frugal lifestyle- Biking, DIY, infrequent dining out, living close to work, etc.  The problem is, they don't live by the math.  They splurge all too often on things like organic groceries, top of the line home gym equipment, and North Face brand everything.  They both have steady jobs with a household income of over $100k, but they have still carried credit card balances over the years and they have recently been "forced" to sell their very nice home and move due to changes in collective bargaining laws in their state. They were living so close to the line  that they couldn't sustain their lifestyle after losing a couple thousand a year in benefits. My fiancee wants to keep our finances separate, because she says that she alone will be helping her parents.  I see this as inefficient and enabling, but I don't want to seem like an ass bringing it up with her.  She is very touchy about them having to move out of her childhood home, commenting often that they got screwed by state politics. I want to help her and her parents, but I don't want this bleeding wound in her bank account that will not even solve the problems behind her parents' financial woes.  What should I do?

arebelspy

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frugal rph

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Re: Supporting Non-Mustachian In-Laws
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 04:08:56 PM »
I am the one with financially irresponsible in-laws, and this was a problem for me and my husband for many years.  I wanted to (and did) help them many times while they continued to travel internationally and buy things they didn't need and couldn't afford.  My husband was justifiably upset about this, but I felt bad seeing my parents struggle, even though it was their own fault.  They have always been such good parents for me that I wanted to help them.  They never asked me for money, but when I would visit them, there would be stacks of unpaid bills and creditors calling.

The issue did not resolve until I finally realized that my parents were not going to change and that the money I was giving them was enabling them to continue their out-of-control spending.  I stopped giving them money about 5 years ago.  Two years ago, they were forced to declare bankruptcy, but I think they are already living above their means again.  It took me a long time to get to this point, but I have finally realized I can't and shouldn't save them from themselves.  They have enough pension and social security income to avoid true poverty, so I don't allow myself to worry about it.  If your in-laws are government workers, hopefully they will also have this safety net.

I don't think there was anything my husband could have done that he didn't do to make me stop giving them money sooner.  I never gave them more than $1,000 a year, but even that was wasted.  He did point out that they live in a bigger house and were taking nicer vacations than we were.  He did ask me to stop helping them, but never gave me an ultimatum.  I don't know that I would have done if he had given me one.  This may not be helpful at all, but I just wanted to give you a perspective from someone else in your fiancee's situation.

needmyfi

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Re: Supporting Non-Mustachian In-Laws
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 05:01:48 PM »
There is alot of good advice and observations in the old threads, I only have a few things to add.  The first is that alot of folks, especially spendy types, assume you are in the same boat as them.  Others have advised to plead poverty, and I heartily concur.  You don't have to let your inlaws starve or go homeless, but once you get your stashe nice and full Do Not let them know. I have used this to my advantage many times.  I have had friends, tenants  etc. who make more money and still live paycheck to paycheck. Most of them think I am in the same financial shape that they are. Sometimes it is better to listen and then tell them it is indeed rough out there.  If you help them out with small sums here and there they might assume that that is all you can spare.
There are also people out there who do not respond to the stack of unpaid bills like we stache types might.  I watched my mom go through money like a hot knife  thru butter. My older brother helped her out but quit when he figured out he couldnt solve her money problems with more money.  When she had to sell her house  I was shocked how she took it in stride.

cdngb

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Re: Supporting Non-Mustachian In-Laws
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 06:52:15 PM »
If you think that you will not be able to get out of this future financial obligation then you should prepare for it.  Remember it will probably get worse when they retire due to lower income and even worse at the death of the first parent, ie your father-in-law.

Often you may be able to fund this obligation with the purchase of a term life insurance policy on your father-in-law.  The death benefit will re-imburse you for the premiums paid as well as for their expenses.  This would also provide a pool which you could use to help with your mother-in-laws future expenses.

If you expect to have the expense then it is only a question of funding it. 

If you do not want to let them know your plans for the proceeds of the policy say that you are going to use it for your children's education.  You may want to speak to your father-in-law privately and explain that it is a way to take care of his wife once he is not around to do so.  This would be a solution to a problem that I am sure that he has concerns about and has probably not done anything to resolve.

This solution should reduce you and your wife's financial and emotional stress.  It is almost like treating it as a business expense, that is without emotion.

Good luck.