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Sure DSis is going to ask me for money- saying no with out causing bad feeling and giving constructive advice. LONG SORRY!

(64 Posts)
rockingdino Mon 31-Mar-14 16:34:54

This is quite long, as i want to give you a full picture of the situation so I can get the most suitable advice.

Normally my DSis and I go to visit our mum on saturdays and spend the day together with her and our respective children. DSis was not there this week as attending a party and Mum told me that the previous week (I was away) DSis had mentioned to my mum that her finances were a bit of a mess and she was going to ask me to lend her money to clear her overdraft and some credit card/store card debt.

I am not sure of the amount however Mum said thousands. Apparently she has an overdraft of £1500 which is always near the limit, 2 credit cards that she has maxed out to the tune of £2000/£3000 on each plus some store cards. She asked to use my mums credit card to pay the £600 balance remaining on a 3 week trip to attend her husbands sisters wedding end of august/start of september, this is apparently her part of the cost of this holiday, Mum declined as she is worried about her not being ale to pay it back.

I normally don't see my sister apart from a saturday but she has invited me to go out with her youngest child and my youngest child on wednesday and I am sure she is going to ask me for money. I am fortunate enough to be in a position to lend her some money, which she is aware of so I will feel bad saying no. I need to find a way to say no so it doesn't cause bad feeling, as she knows i am in a position to lend I am sure she will not be able to understand why.

I know NO is a complete sentence and all that but she is my little sister. I feel my NO needs to be explained in a way which will help her with her finances.

This is why I do not want to lend to her:
- A couple of years ago her Husbands mother passed away, leaving around 85-90k to EACH him and his 2 siblings, the minimum (25K + a little equity from previous house) was spent to get a mortgage and the payments are nearly £850 a month. The rest of the money has been wasted, concerts, holidays, Inc trip for her husband to cricket tour thing in AUS which cost about 10k, eating out, weekends away in expensive hotels. People who have 85-90k should not be in debt 2.5 years on, the spending is reckless.

-Her and her husband run finances separately, He works full time and does a lot of overtime, pays the mortgage and food bill and sky bill. the remaining bill are my sisters responsibility despite her not being at work, she was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago, she spent the first year and a half in part time employment but it was too hard for her and she had to keep having time off sick. She gets DLA but sacrificed this for a mobility car or she would not be able to go anywhere (3yr/4yr children). As she sacrificed the DLA for the car the only income she has is child benefit and child tax credit to pay for council tax, water, electric, gas, her mobile, her clothes and hair cuts, children's clothes and hair cuts. Am sure this is where the debt is coming from as what she has coming in doesn't cover the out goings so she has used overdraft/credit cards/ store cards.

-Her husband runs different races nearly every week at the moment, he is apparently incapable of getting himself to his races on public transport or a lift with one of his many running buddies and needs to be driven by my sister with the children in tow, the wait where ever he is running and drive him home. this could mean driving average of an hour there and back (sometimes a bit more or less) and she is expected to put petrol in the car as it is hers. She cannot afford to do this.

-Next weekend they are going to Brighton so he can run the go Friday and won't return until sunday eve, spending 2 nights in a hotel/ going out on the sat for the day/ eating out. Same for London marathon whole weekend, hotels, eating out and a theatre trip. This will be paid for by him (apart from petrol) but in my opinion if you insist on running finances as they do if one partner doesn't have money and in debt then that money would be better spent clearing the debt.

-The wedding holiday that she asked to use my mums credit card for (which totalled 5K) has been partly paid for (3k) by her husbands brother about a year ago under the understanding that it was to be paid back monthly starting Jan this year. They are now not speaking as the money isn't being paid back but clearly with all the weekends away with the running they have money, it is not as if the literally can't afford it.
I don't want to fall out with my sister if she didn't pay me back.

I want to explain that these reasons are why I can't lend her money. And discuss with her what is going on with her finances to help her see that they are a family and should really run the finances accordingly. I am also sure that her husbands uses credit cards a fair bit as even though he does a lot of overtime I can't see how it would be enough to totally cover 'his' bills, personal expenditure and all these trips now the inheritance is gone and I am worried the at some point maybe not to far down the line they will bother be in financial shit and maybe loose their house.

If it was not for my 2 DNs I wouldn't be as concerned as I am. I can just see my 2 lovely DNs loosing the home they love, maybe have to change school if unable to stay in area, be forced to re home their 3 cats should the house be lost. So I really need to say something constructive/helpful to help her make her situation better rather than bailing her out, risk her not paying me back, and running up more debts because the issues which caused them in the first place are still there.

Sorry it is so long, thanks for reading and I hope you lovely ladies can give me some good advice to help my sister out

Poppy67 Mon 31-Mar-14 16:39:19

Do not lend her any money. You will never see it again and she'll keep asking.

Can you say you are thinking about moving so no free money? Or it tied up in accounts which need significant notice? Or spare money has been put in long term isas for kids?

hellsbellsmelons Mon 31-Mar-14 16:45:00

I was going to suggest you put it in ISA's.
It's 1st April tomorrow so you could start new ones from then.

But.... her relationship sounds awful.
She would be so much better off financially away from this man.
How does he expect her to pay for all of the things you have listed?
It seems like madness that they work finances like this.

She could leave, get housing benefit, child allowance, disability allowance, CSA amongst others I'm sure.

I think you need to have a proper talk to her about her relationship and the financial abuse she is suffering.
You could give her Womens Aid number.
She is old enough now and she needs to find her own way out of this mess.

You can offer to help her to help herself and that would be the best thing for her as well.

WhoNickedMyName Mon 31-Mar-14 16:51:50

"I'm afraid I can't loan you any money. By loaning you money I'm effectively financing your husband's hobbies"... and leave it at that.

If she asks for a further explanation, or asks what exactly you mean, then you can tentatively start to discuss what you've written above.

If she isn't ready to hear it, or knows exactly what you mean but doesn't want to hear it, she won't ask you to elaborate.

foodie92 Mon 31-Mar-14 16:57:41

I did read your entire post.

3 thoughts:

1) Your sister will not be interested in hearing why, she will just hear the NO. Even if you get her to listen during the conversation, I predict that (at best) the moment she leaves the room it'll be translated into a brief summary which goes something like this: "rockingdino can help me but she won't because she's selfish/being a know it all" (or some such thing).

There is no better example of this than when you said: "[you want to] to help her see that they are a family and should really run the finances accordingly" - whilst I agree with you, the only thing she's going to hear is you telling her how she should be running her life.

Do not waste your breath with justifications.

2) Your sister is clearly in a large amount of financial trouble. Not on speaking terms with family because of money promised but not returned? A large inheritance wasted? She thinks it's reasonable to expect others to pay frivolous costs? She needs her own lightbulb moment, and if you try and highlight the slow car crash that appears to be her finances, you'll become the latest enemy. You won't help her in the short/medium term. She'll turn on you, but it won't be as worse as if you lend her money and end up resentful when she goes back on any promises of repayment, because you'll have just enabled her a bit longer.

3) More constructively, you've already noted that NO is a complete sentence. If you don't think you're strong enough to stick with that when she raises the topic, I'd suggest you practice what your response will be (even saying it out loud if need be). Just stick to the line you've rehearsed, whatever you want it to be. "I am not in a position to help you. Oh, look, the kettle's boiled" (avoidance). "I don't want to enable you. I refuse to discuss it further (if you want to be honest, but draw the line). Or a mix of it all. But practice whatever you are going to say, and if you feel yourself feeling bullied/getting weak, extract yourself from the situation. Do NOT engage further on that topic.

foodie92 Mon 31-Mar-14 17:01:15

I think you need to have a proper talk to her about her relationship and the financial abuse she is suffering.

I'm sure you meant this too, but I want to stress here - I really think that needs to be done delicately (because of the risk of her simply not listening, the OP coming across as a know-it-all, or even turning on the OP, as I mentioned a minute ago).

Offering to help if the OP's sister seems receptive = good. Being an unwelcome messenger of negative news, esp. since the sister may not have anyone else to turn to = not so much.

Let us know how you get on, OP.

Beastofburden Mon 31-Mar-14 17:09:46

I might ask some questions:

"what has it been spent on"
"why can't your DH pay for it?"

and then let the answers to that guide you.

I think there is more going on here than you know about, or at least feel able to say online. Spending that kind of money that fast, and the general subordination thats going on, is just weird. But perhaps you cant expect to deal with all that in one conversation. Just keep saying, "I dont understand why I have to pay for it rather than him" and "I need to save this money for my DC."

Cabrinha Mon 31-Mar-14 17:09:55

There's no point in lending it to her, because it won't help her. It'll disappear into her debt pit then she'll run up more. So you're not even going to get the benefit of helping her.

Worth noting that her own mother has just managed to successfully say no.

If she were a profligate disaster is advise just a "no, sorry, I don't lend". However, it does look like the issue is her husband perhaps not her. It sounds like financial abuse, and I couldn't ignore that, even if it did upset her.

I'd try some open ended stuff to see if she wants to talk, or at least knows she can in future. So a flat no to the money, but ask what's going on. She needs to post on here!!

But please don't feel bad - you simply wouldn't be helping, but giving her money.

rockingdino Mon 31-Mar-14 17:11:34

Thanks ladies. I think i will tell her I have put some away for kids and in an ISA I think it may be easier for her to know that the money is not easily accessible as part of the reason I can't give it to her rather than it is just me saying NO.

hellsbells Her relationship is awful in my opinion I cannot understand how she can accept things being the way they are.

We grew up in the same environment, even though my mother didn't work until i was about 11 and her 8 I always saw my mother with money as it was shared family money. Even in divorce several years later my mother and farther war very fair with money, my father even offered to give my mum £150 a month just for her self for the first year, halving in the second year in addition to maintenance higher than the CSA rate. We witnessed that things were fair so I can't understand how we have turned out different in this respect.

I suppose it is financial abuse as to everyone it looks like they both enjoy all these trips to hotels, concerts and the like but in reality my sister doesn't have access to money of her marriage and need to rely on credit cards to pay for things. I will have a look later tonight when my kids are in bet at womens aid website.

WhoNicked Last year my mum did try to talk about the situation with my sister following a period of hospitalisation due to an MS flare up as he did a shit job of looking after the DNs and the home for those 10 days and me and mum had to clean her house and do washing on her return as it was a mess and she couldn't and he wouldn't do it (we left his washing though, i suspect she did it for him but oh well).

If you say a bad word against him she gets upset and goes silent/cries. Not sure if this is because she knows its not really acceptable and thats why she gets upset or for another reason??

Beastofburden Mon 31-Mar-14 17:13:29

Do you think that because she has MS she thinks "nobody else will want me and I am so much work that I ought to be grateful he is prepared to have me"?

Because many ppl with disabilities do get this kind of shit aimed at them by abusive partners.

VeryStressedMum Mon 31-Mar-14 17:18:40

You're in a really awkward position. If you lend her the money you'll have to accept it's not a loan but a gift, I honestly don't think she'll pay you back. She can't afford to, if she needs to borrow money to meet her expenses then she won't be able to still meet those expenses and pay you back too. Can you afford to give away thousands? But even if you could I don't blame you for not wanting to.
Tbh, I would be tempted to say that the money gone, it's been invested or something that way it avoids the potential fall out of saying no. Then you can try and have a conversation with her about her husband and their money.

rockingdino Mon 31-Mar-14 17:24:12

WOW I missed a lot of replies typing that last post.

I do think she feels that if she leaves she will forever be alone and she has MS. I also know that her mental health has been adversely affected since her diagnosis which would affect her ability to find the strength to leave and believe in herself she has the ability to do things alone.

I think I will start by asking her why she needs to pay for xyz and why can't her husband or it be paid jointly. going to have a read on womens aid about financial abuse as I don't know a lot. Hopefully this will help me. I think as has been said above that it is a good idea to use some open questions.

The thing that makes me feel crap is if she either left him or the both were taking drastic steps to sort out the debt I would probably lend her some money, not all but a portion of it.

Cabrinha Mon 31-Mar-14 17:30:24

Just a note on the ISA excuse... don't forget that at this time of year, people who don't have an ISA at all often load up 2013 just ending and 2014 just starting. Two ISAs which is about £23K. Children's ones are an even better excuse - less money, but once accessed can't to withdrawn, unlike an adult one. There are also children's pensions - again, it's locked away completely then - as it passes to their ownership. Same with a trust for efficient taxation.

Rebecca2014 Mon 31-Mar-14 17:36:59

I feel really sorry for her. She's in an financially abusive relationship but without leaving your money will be no use.

I think from reading your replies your reasons for not giving her the money are fair. Who knows maybe this will be the push she needs?

ghostwritten Mon 31-Mar-14 17:46:15

Think you are right to say the money is tied up, think its 60 to 90 days to access an ISA.

If you feel really bad about saying no then say its locked for 3 years, with a penalty clause should you want to withdraw earlier than the terms.

Hope your are able to talk with your sister concerning her problems, as it seems that lending the money would be of no long term help to her.
moneysavingexpert maybe helpful to her ref budgeting and advice.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Mon 31-Mar-14 17:47:35

I feel really bad for her.

The phrase that popped into my head was "I am going to help you, but I am not going to give you any money" - the idea being that the help you are offering is moral support and advice for getting out of this financial pickle and, yes, out of a financially abusive relationship if needed.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Mon 31-Mar-14 17:51:52

I really don't think you should lie about the money being tied up.....

Logg1e Mon 31-Mar-14 17:54:53

Get in there first, tell her you are in dire financial straits and can she lend you £2000.

Anniecarrieson Mon 31-Mar-14 18:06:10

"I'm really sorry but I am just not in a position to lend"
Personally, I wouldn't go into reasons or discussion about it, but would be more than happy to talk to her about the wider issue of her debt and agancies which can advise. Offer to go with her to CAB, for example.

kyotokate Mon 31-Mar-14 18:12:44

OP just for information you can get ISA's where the money is tied up for three years. Triodos.

crescentmoon Mon 31-Mar-14 18:16:54

id put money away somewhere so that you can truthfully tell her you dont have it to lend. iv done the same and had my husband do similar to avoid similar situations.

nilbyname Mon 31-Mar-14 18:22:49

I think you ought to say, I can't lend you anyone's but I do want to help you and go from there.

She is in a horrible situation and I would be inclined to try and gently question her about that.

Would you be in a position take on something for te dns? For example pay for an activity they do, some holiday spends, news shoes? Rather than hay handing over money?

maggiemight Mon 31-Mar-14 18:24:45

When she asks for the money you say 'No, I don't lend money' - complex, I know but take your time to memorise the whole thing as it is the best answer. grin

Don't give her advice. She is an adult and making her own decisions so won't want to hear it.

Her DH is the problem, they should have a combined bank account whilst the DCs are young imo, but don't tell her that as it isn't your business.

Don't assume that your response to your parents' friendly divorce should be the same as your DSis's, 11 years old is very different from 8 years and she prob has a quite different temperament, she might have been devastated by it all, you don't know. Plus her illness must make life harder for her so she deserves sympathy, but still don't lend her money.

Viviennemary Mon 31-Mar-14 18:31:31

Your sister is in a difficult situation and I can understand that you want to help her. Her husband should be confronted about this but I don't expect anybody would like to do that. But it is grim that he has money and yet she must go begging to relatives for loans.

It's a difficult one. But I'd say that in giving her money you are just facilitating in a way the husband's selfishness. I agree with buying something for the DC's like shoes or clothes or for her. And not expecting that to be repaid. But don't hand over a large sum of money.

ivykaty44 Mon 31-Mar-14 18:36:02

I would answer that

you don't think it would be a good idea as you have watched her fall out with her BIL over money and you don't want this to happen between you.

but in any case you would in any case need to ask your husbands as your finances are joint

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