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Am I unreasonable in expecting my inlaws to be more generous?

(94 Posts)
tootle Wed 08-Dec-04 12:20:24

My inlaws are stingy people. They have a very warped sense of what spending excessively is. In their eyes anything beyond frugal living is excessive.

My DH are not materialistic people but when we do buy something (say somethimg long lasting like a breadmaker) we buy the best quality we can afford.

I am a SAHM, my dh is a public sector worker and we live in the very expensive South East. We bought our house 2 years ago and missed out buying at the beginning of the boom. If we'd bought 18 months earlier I guess we'd be in a very different position.

30 years ago, my dh's profession was well respected and well-paid in comparison to other jobs, but all things being relative, he's well enough paid that we don't suffer anything near poverty, but we're never going to be the richest people on the block.

But, I don't think my inlaws are intune with relativety. They are obviously proud of their son and his chosen profession. However, they don't seem to realise that, whilst we are still able to buy mobile phones, have a monthly meal out, buy our dd new clothes (as well as nearly new) and have a modest annual holiday, we're actually not very big spenders in comparison to a double waged couple with no kids, or two parents who work in the field of IT (for example)

All we really want out of life is to live in a better area in a slightly bigger house. We don't want 3 foreign holidays a year or a bug 4X4 in the drive or to be able to cloth our dd from miniboden.

My inlaws live in a large house in the most expensive home county. They are just retired. They don't appear to spend much money. They eat food beyond its use-by-date, they buy second hand at the detriment of choice/quality, they hardly ever go on holiday, they don't even spend much money on their lovely house. But, they're from the generation when they struggled. They brought up 4 children in a small house and they didn't have spare cash for holidays and their children didn't have new clothes and toys and blah blah blah.

Dh's 3 siblings are older, single and childless (and will remain that way) so I cannot understand why they won't do more to help us give their only grandchild a better start in life. Why not let us have some of our inheritance now... why are they saving it up in the bank. I wouldn't mind if they actually spent it and enjoyed themselves but I just don't get it.

My children will probably benefit hugely in the future from their grandparents but I think it is better that the money is spent now to provide my daughter with a bigger house and better quality of life than being presented to her as a lumpsum in her teens or 20s when she could do more damage with the money.

If they won't put their hands in their pocket to help us out, I wish they could at least be supportive instead of making sniping remarks about how many clothes my dd has (she does NOT in comparison to thers) how many toys she has, how they coped fine without a baby back carrier. ARGH!

They probably think it is character building to struggle.

Sorry - I just had to vent!

woodpops Wed 08-Dec-04 12:27:53

Don't appologise. I know exactly what you mean. I just wish my in'-laws would treat her kids equally. DH does the most for them in odd jobs, fitting things, fixing diy etc. But he's the one who is treated the worst.

MariNativityPlay Wed 08-Dec-04 12:30:18

Tootle, I sympathise. My mother-in-law is significantly better off than my own parents but carps incessantly about not spoiling the children and how they have too much stuff. This rule does not appear to apply to her own knick-knack and antique-infested house.
My own parents often help us out spontaneously and will not take no for an answer. They are all of the same generation and have all struggled financially when they had small children.
I don't expect money from my MIL, I think it would come with strings attached.
BUT I do find myself thinking base thoughts about how all her fine words about doting on her grandchildren have no real substance. She won't even offer to babysit despite living only a few miles away (my parents live in the North of England), and when we occasionally have to ask, we are likely to be turned down because it is yoga night or Wife Swap. Seriously. When I presented her with the children's latest, very nice, school and nursery photos the other day, you'd think I'd handed her a fresh turd. Apparently it's vulgar to have family photos on display.
So I do know just how they can get right under your skin. Even dh finds her impossible.
What does your dh think about his parents?

sobernoel Wed 08-Dec-04 12:30:25

They may well be planning to leave their son and grandchild some of their money in their wills. Or they may be planning to donate it to charity. Why on earth should they give any to you? What makes any of it your inheritance?

Tommy Wed 08-Dec-04 12:31:09

My parents sometimes come across as stingy and I have come to think that this attitude is a generation thing - being poor and not sepnding money (even though they now have it) they can remember times when they didn't have money to spare. My Mum's favourite expression is "I do have 11 grandchildren you know...." when I ask her about buying things for my DSs (Obviously I do knoe this because I have 2 children and 9 nieces and nephews!) so I just try and not let it bother me (and fail most of the time)
BTW I would love to have an annual holiday that wasn't at my In-laws and also to go out for a meal once a month......

marialuisa Wed 08-Dec-04 12:36:47

I think it is very much a generational thing. My mum has big problems with her mum who could afford to live very well but insists on cutting her own hair, wearing clothes that were second hand to start with and are now 15 years old etc. She looks as if she hasn't got 2 hapennies to rub together but has a bulging bank account. That could all just about be put down to choice but she also insists on butting her nose into other people's business (esp my mum's!).

If it makes you feel better I get frustrated with my dad's family who frequently say "just ask if you want anything". Well, I don't want to ask, we're not desperate and it's so degrading. If, they were to OFFER some help, I would gratefully accept though!

JoolsTide Wed 08-Dec-04 12:38:05

you have your plan for life - they have theirs and I don't really think its right for you to criticise how they spend their money.

think I'm agreeing with sobernoel - sorry!

bakedpotatohoho Wed 08-Dec-04 12:38:57

i have a very tricky relationship with my ILs. however, money doesn't come into it. it has never crossed my mind to expect them to help us financially, even if they could.

personally -- and sorry if this sounds a bit selfrighteous -- i would try to be happy about the fact that the money will be there for her education (i imagine that's what they're earmarking it for). i think it gets really tricky when money for grandchildren gets siphoned off and confused with money for family, ie house. after all, it's the ILs money, and it's up to them to pass it on (if that's what they intend to do) in the way they see fit.

i'm sure if they perceived you were in serious difficulties, they would rethink.

annoying though when they make comments about all her kit. you're right, it's a generational thing. that is just plain rude.

marialuisa Wed 08-Dec-04 12:40:08

And BTW, it is made very clear that all their worldly goods will be mine and DD's. The money is "family money" on my dad's side and has been passed down for generations. You're just expected to suffer and make your own until you're in your '60s, then someone will die and you cop the lot. By which time you don't need it anyway!

FlashingRudolphNose Wed 08-Dec-04 12:42:35

Generous with their time and small gifts for their grandchild - no, you're not being unreasonable.

Generous with large amounts of money that you're assuming will be your inheritance - I'm sorry, but yes, I think you are being unreasonable. It's their money, to do with as they please.

vict17 Wed 08-Dec-04 12:45:53

I also agree with sobernoel. It really isn't anything to do with you what they want to use their money for - why should they give your grandchild inheritance now? They might need the money for sheltered accommodation later on or any number of things. Really cant understand your point of view. Sorry

jingleballs Wed 08-Dec-04 12:47:49

no, i'm afraid I can't either, but then again, I've been brought up/ learnt not to expect anything from anyone as they you won't be dissapointed if it doesn't come off. I do expect actually thou, from DH a nice treat every now and again - and a bit of affection!

tootle Wed 08-Dec-04 12:49:20

My dh feels the same way. In fact these thoughts aren't instigated by me even, I'm not some money grabbing dil. I would much rather they just spent all their money on travelling the world for two years.

It's more their attitude which drives me mad. It's not just about them giving us a small lump sum which would allow us not to live in a shoe box. It's about them buying things sponatneously for their gd things she needs not just something they saw cheap at a car boot sale which is totally impracticle for the size of our house, it's about them not making a snide remark each time we say we have spent some money. It's about them acknowledging that we struggle too in our own way in comparison to all of our friends who have children.

My parents are not as well off in comparison but they will help out spintaneously whenever they can, and in fact, one of those annual holidays was with them when they paid for most of it. The other holiday was a long weekend city break -afforded courtesy of easy jet.

*They may well be planning to leave their son and grandchild some of their money in their wills. Or they may be planning to donate it to charity. Why on earth should they give any to you? What makes any of it your inheritance?*

Some of it will be left to my dh so he knows it will be our inheritance.

*They may well be planning to leave their son and grandchild some of their money in their wills. Or they may be planning to donate it to charity. Why on earth should they give any to you? What makes any of it your inheritance?*

sparklynorthernstar Wed 08-Dec-04 12:49:27

HI Tootle. I do know where you are coming from, but I guess it is there money and it is up to them what they do with it.

My in laws are very wealthy (property owners) and lead a very priveliged life style, but have never given dh or his brother a penny (apart from when we got married)My parents compared to dh's do not have a pot to piss in, but when we moved into our first house and had no furniture it was my parents who bought us a fridge freezer and a bed and it's my parents who help out here and there when they know we've been struggling.

I know it's their money, but I understand how frustrating it is when you hear of parents buying their kids their first car or helping out with a deposit for a house etc and my inlaws don't give anything. But as my Dad says 'There's nowt so queer as folk'

MancMum Wed 08-Dec-04 12:52:55

Hope my kids don't look at me in this way when they are older and working - why should they expect me to fund them out of my retirement funds- I think you are being incredibly greedy and selfish - why should you get more of the money and get it now because you made a lifestyle choice to have a child?

To me, it does not sound like you need more money as you have a very nice lifestyle - if you really want more, why don't you and DH show some independance and do it yourselves - could he work in Private Sector, why not leave the south east and live somewhere cheaper ... why don't you get a job instead of expecting in-laws to fund your dreams of an easy life

To be honest, your mail has made me really quite angry ...

PamiNativity Wed 08-Dec-04 12:58:34

I think that if you were really struggling then it would be great of them to help you out, but otherwise it's their choice.
If you felt that they were definitely going to leave you an inheritance then you could drop some hints about avoiding inheritance tax! (as long as they live for 7 years after any gift, then it is tax free)

tootle Wed 08-Dec-04 12:59:01

I did ask for honest opinions so don't mind if you call me selfish!

I realise that's how it sounds. I am just judging them by my own way of thinking. My dh and I would hope to give our children something to start them off in life.

I'm sure my inlaws will earmark money for our children's higher education but that is already taken care of by someone else so that's not actually needed.

But yes, anyway, I guess I need to get oevr it and get over myself. It's not going to happen. They're not going to change. Best I can hope for is DD will get a Christmas present which costs more than £5.

throckenrobin Wed 08-Dec-04 13:03:02

Is it possible they could invest some of their money in you ? What I mean is they loan you the money and you pay a given amount of interest. You use it instead of a mortgage to buy a bigger house.

Otherwise - you just have to accept that some people view money differently from you and just live with what you have, and anything inherited at a later date must be viewed as a bonus.

sobernoel Wed 08-Dec-04 13:03:42

By your inheritance, I mean actually yours, not your dh's. My FIL is fairly well off and he will probably leave some money to dh and our dds, but I would not expect to benefit from that at all unless he wished me to. He also makes snide remarks about not having had what we have when he was our age but that's just parenthood IMO. I bet we will make similar comments to our children - by the time we are in-laws a loaf of bread may cost £20 - it in the nature of living with rising prices.

I sometimes point out to my FIL how much things cost these days, if he gets really arsey, but I wouldn't dream of expecting him to fund my life. I just don't see why he should. Buying a bigger house 'for his grandchildren'? It's blatant moneygrabbing, surely?

Unless you've seen their will you don't actually know the money is coming your way, and by the time they die everything may have changed anyway. That's how I see things with my FIL.

tootle Wed 08-Dec-04 13:05:24

"could he work in Private Sector, why not leave the south east and live somewhere cheaper ... why don't you get a job instead of expecting in-laws to fund your dreams of an easy life"

Gosh - that's a bit rude of you if you think I have an easy life. FWIW My dh's income alone gives us the same mortgage allowance than when calculated with our joint income.

And we are considering moving to be closer to my parents and sister.

Perhaps if you knew me personally you wouldn't think me so rude. I am sorry I brought this up now.

sobernoel Wed 08-Dec-04 13:05:33

sorry, posts crossed, wasn't trying to beat you over the head!

morningpaper Wed 08-Dec-04 13:05:56

I have to admit that I find your attitude a bit puzzling. You seem to be seeing their money as YOUR money. My grandmother died recently and by the time she died had spent all her money on holidays/charities/respite care.

Consider yourself lucky that hopefully your parents will be able to pay their own way in their old age - they might have another 40 years to live - and besides, they might not WANT to leave anything to the family. There are many children (myself included) whose parents rely on THEM to pay their way in old age, and not the other way round - by the time my parents die, there won't be much more than memories to remember them by.

sparklynorthernstar Wed 08-Dec-04 13:07:34

Well I view my dh's inheritance as mine also. The same as if I inherited something from my family it would equally benefit my dh.

We have one big pot in our house. Surely that's what being married is all about?

ThomCatsAreNotJustForXmas Wed 08-Dec-04 13:10:20

Sorry Tootle but you asked 'am I being unreasonable' and in the nicest possible way, yes I think you are.

The snipey remarks are another matter and they shouldn't do that and you have a right to me annpoyed at anyone commenting on your family unit in a negative way. That's not linked with how they spend their money and they are int he wrong to make nasty comments.

I don't think you have any right to even think about what they do with their money and how they choose to spend it. Neither you or your husband do in my humble opinion.

hunny Wed 08-Dec-04 13:11:01

I've told my mother in no uncertain terms that if she leaves me anything in her will I'll be really p**ed off. She's worked hard for what she has and should be using it to make her life comfortable now, not to make my life comfortable sometime in the future when she isn't here.

I think FlashingRudolphNose hit the nail on the head really. The time my mother spends with my kids is more precious than any material thing she could buy us.

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