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AIBU to think my SD should learn to be better with money?

(19 Posts)
OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 16-Jun-13 08:36:17

My SD is 32 and runs her own business. Her particular line of work means there is a direct correlation between her income and the number of hours she works. She lives with her mum and stepdad so doesn't have the costs of running her own home.

She is staying with us for Fathers' Day and has asked to "borrow" £50. I say "borrow" in inverted commas because this is the umpteenth time over the years she has either asked for money or told her dad details of her financial situation in conversation which results in him offering to "lend" her money but she never pays it back. On the rare occasions she does have some spare cash and we happen to see her, she might offer to pay for lunch. I haven't been keeping track but if I had to guess how much we've given her over the years since she got her first full-time job at 17 it would be in the region of £2-3k.

Her dad never says no - partly I think out of residual guilt that he and her mum split up when she was in her early teens and he was the one to leave (although they still had very regular contact and he more than paid his share of maintenance) and partly because he still sees her as his "little girl"; she is a daddy's girl and quite young for her age in some ways. It has caused minor friction between us over the years, mainly because he and I have had some desperate financial times ourselves due to double redundancy but no matter how much we were struggling to make ends meet he would still try to help her out. This highlights some of the things (loyalty, generosity, sense of duty/responsibility etc) that I love about him but also infuriated me as I'd be trying to point out that I literally didn't have the bus fare to work but he was still proposing to give his daughter £X because she'd asked for it!

(And breathe!)

Anyway, we are now in a better place financially after several years of hard slog, although by no means dripping with cash and while we share our money, my husband is now disabled with very little income so the majority comes from my salary. My job is looking quite precarious sad so my view is we should be saving every spare penny in case it goes tits up and I take a while to find another job.

I should add that my SD is lovely, she is not manipulative, she is always apologetic about asking. She doesn't have an expensive designer shopping habit or go out clubbing every night, she is just a bit hopeless/naïve about money generally. This is her second shot at running a business of this type; she wound up the first attempt as the need to budget properly, organise her finances, keep receipts etc wasn't something that came naturally to her. (I doubt I'd do much better in a business context which is why I remain a cowardly wage slave!)

I am grateful that my husband has told me of her request rather than just giving her the money behind my back, but AIBU to think a 32-year-old businesswoman should be able to manage her money better and that in times of relative hardship, her first course of action should be to put more hours in at work rather than asking the Bank of Dad?

SummersHere Sun 16-Jun-13 08:45:49

Well of course all adults need to learn to stand on their own two feet, however 2-3k over 15 years isn't really that much. I've borrowed way more than that from my parents, though i do pay it back.

DeepPurple Sun 16-Jun-13 08:46:01

It often surprises myself how many adults still expect their parents to give them money. I am 32 and would never dream of asking my parents for money.

He needs to gently explain that you don't have the money to give her.

ajandjjmum Sun 16-Jun-13 08:57:48

Maybe give it to her on this occasions but explain that you are not able to continue doing this, as you are having to save in anticipation of hard times ahead. If you have a good relationship, maybe you could explain the situation to her?

The money she has had equates to around £100 a year, which I don't think is unreasonable to be honest - although if you don't have it, she shouldn't be given it!

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 16-Jun-13 09:08:06

I'd never worked it out over the years, so it doesn't seem so unreasonable in those terms, although my perception is that we've given her much more than the equivalent of £100p.a. so perhaps my £2-3k guesstimate was well out! That is only cold hard cash handed over, not including gifts, paying for her to come on holiday with us a few times over recent years, that sort of thing.

I guess I have it in

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 16-Jun-13 09:10:22

Ignore random sentence fragment - I hit my tablet cut & paste button just as I posted and it pasted the last unrelated thing I'd copied!

ENormaSnob Sun 16-Jun-13 09:13:28

Shes 32. Yanbu.

She doesn't even live independently ffs.

raisah Sun 16-Jun-13 09:24:03

I think the CAB run money management courses which would be useful for her in the long run. can you try to encourage her to go on of those emphasising the ling term success of her business.

It is hard for you as a step parent watching a repeat performance of the same thing while keeping diplomatically quiet.

Would she consider taking a weekend/evening job (trscos etc) to help with her cashflow while she establishes her business. What is she like to talk to?

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 16-Jun-13 09:37:44

Raisah, some good ideas there, thanks. I'll suggest to her dad that he puts the idea of the CAB course out there.

Her business involves sporadic, changing hours with a certain amount of evening and weekend work so a second job isn't an option. I think part of my frustration is because I think she could easily be picking up and fitting in another 5-6 hours of work a week - she's well-regarded at what she does so demand for her services is there - and that would make the difference of the £50 and more. She's also a bit of a soft touch in that if someone cancels at short notice, she doesn't charge them even though her T&Cs state she will.

I think - being very honest here - that if I thought she were working every hour God sends to re-establish her business but still struggling due to cashflow or increased overheads or whatever, I wouldn't resent it so much, but because she has been doing this line of work for about ten years, either for herself or for an employer, in her head I think she feels she should be working something closer to an "average" week and "deserves" a reasonable amount of time off, without fully realising that her financial situation doesn't mirror this.

DoJo Sun 16-Jun-13 09:44:56

If she is self employed, then HMRC also run courses on business management and how to manage finances. Might be wroth suggesting as that sounds more 'business' related rather than 'you can't cope'.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 16-Jun-13 09:46:26

I feel sorry for your SD; being "a bit hopeless/naïve about money generally" is really only able to continue with the collusion of her parents. Still being seen as a 'little girl' (possibly by her mother as well - otherwise why is she still living with her mother at 32?) I wonder if she's been conditioned to he hopeless with money, tuning subconsciously in to her parents pleasure/relief at being able to bail her out again.

IMO it is not in this woman's best interests to be kept in this state of learned helplessness. You must have known her a long time, can you sit down with her as a friend and gently talk it through with her? First that your DH has a much-reduced income now and your job is not secure; she may genuinely not have realised about your DH's income. Secondly, ask her about where she sees herself in five years time - 37 and still with her mother? Ask her about her plans, what she wants. Ask her how she is going to make it happen. Giving her £50, which you imply she could earn if she just prioritised it, would IMO be unkind in the long run, just keeping her in this 'dependant little girl' stage that she really needs to move on from.

babyhmummy01 Sun 16-Jun-13 09:51:21

Definitely look into the courses mentioned here for her and broach them in a "ohh found this the other day and wondered if it might be if any use to you" kind of way.

My dsis drives me nuts always asking my parents for money, she earns significantly more than I do and her fiance is a doctor so earns a very good wage yet are always borrowing off my parents, although they do pay it back. I have never asked my folks for help and wouldn't dream of it but some people prefer it to bank loans etc as no.interest

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 16-Jun-13 10:45:36

WhereYouLeftIt, she is aware of her dad's circumstances. She is aware we had a house repossessed following our redundancy. She is aware we now live in rental with no assets. I think she does genuinely feel guilty when she asks, and has the best of intentions to repay it...but she does ask, and she doesn't repay.

She did share a house with her boyfriend for a couple of years, but they came to the conclusion they couldn't afford it so both moved back in with their respective parents about three years or so ago. I don't think her mum was overjoyed, and I have no idea of what SD does in terms of household contributions as it's none of my business, but she doesn't even talk about moving out again, or saving to do so. I suspect the only way she might move out is if she meets another man and they do it together (she and her bf of the living together split up last year).

She doesn't think in terms of five-year-plans, or career goals - she is very much a "drifter". I agree that continuing to give her the money when she asks is almost certainly counter-productive in the long term, but her dad has a bit of a blind spot where she's concerned and I would struggle to put that view across without coming over as a resentful step-parent, I think.

OrangeFireandGoldashes Sun 16-Jun-13 11:00:59

Sorry, meant to add that the HMRC courses might give a better message than the CAB ones so thanks for that, DoJo, and thanks to everyone else who has replied.

AThingInYourLife Sun 16-Jun-13 11:09:36

I think, given your own financial circumstances and hers, that you should say no.

You are middle aged (?) trying support two adults, one disabled, on one precarious wage and have no assets.

She is young, living with her mother, has no dependants, and working.

Her financial situation is miles more secure than yours.

She ought to be ashamed of herself for asking.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 16-Jun-13 11:14:23


She is 32 not 12.

2-3k over any period of time is quite a lot to need to be loaned by ones parents imo.

I don't earn a lot and have a painfully expensive (and not entirely worthwhile as it turns out) postgra course to pay off. It can be a struggle. I don't ask my parents for handouts,I go without non essentials.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 16-Jun-13 11:16:29

Oh dear, sounds like I gave her too much benefit of the doubt there, OP!

In that case I'd be a little harsher with her, in a private conversation - "X, I know you've asked to borrow £50 from your Dad. You MUST know that he can't afford it. How do you think that makes him feel, wanting to be good to you and not being able to? And I know you really do mean to only borrow, but X, every time you borrow you NEVER repay. We can't just give you £50, we don't have it to give. If you are short of money, you really need to address that yourself, work overtime perhaps. You're 32; it really is well past time you should be standing on your own two feet. Your mum and your dad won't be here forever - what will you do then? You'll have to sort it out yourself then, so I really think you should be sorting it out yourself now. Asking your dad for money when he doesn't have any - well, it really isn't good for his self-esteem. As I've said already, how do you think that makes him feel?"

Make sure you start and finish with 'how do you think it makes your father feel'. Absolutely guilt-trip her.

As for your DH, same guilt-trip argument. "She's 32 and still drifting. You know yourself that you'd be so proud of her making it on her own, maybe making you a grandfather, and TBH your dishing out £50 here and there is holding her back, making her dependent when she has it in her to be independent. It upsets me to see her making so little of her life, and it upsets me even more to think that we could be partly responsible for it. You're stopping her from growing up, DH."

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 16-Jun-13 11:17:47

And it goes without saying that she should not be given loaned the £50!

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Mon 17-Jun-13 02:27:37

Sad but the mother is obviously enabling this behaviour. Adult children don't just get to decide that they are moving back in with a parent. The mother must feel put upon.

IMHO the mother needs to push her out of the nest for her own good. I had to do this with one of mine.

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