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If your sister kept asking you for money what would you do ...?

(21 Posts)
Countingthegreyhairs Fri 03-Jul-09 18:15:31

I'm a bit agitated about this currently because she has just asked me for £200 for electricity repairs

We can afford it (not rich but not on bread line either) and I want to help her - so I don't really know why I am upset -

She's older than me but she's had tragedy in her life and is now single and working in a very low paid job

However, she does seem incapable of saving ...and spends money very freely

I guess I feel more upset with myself because this is the fourth or fifth time she has asked this year and I had resolved to say "no" if she asked again - because I'm not sure that continually getting her out of sticky situations will help her in the long run ... on the other hand she's over 50 and probably won't change now.

Dh and I run our own business so inevitably it comes out of the joint pot - and we already support his family financially - so he's not exactly enthusiastic about the situation but he's a very kind bloke so doesn't protest.

She regularly asks my mother and sister to help her also - which they do and neither of them are well off

Also, she is the only one of our siblings who doesn't have dc to support

Anyway, i couldn't bring myself to refuse her this time. She's my sister and I just couldn't do it...

Was I wrong?

Was I right?

If any of you are in the same circumstances, when push comes to shove, how do you actually refuse someone (I mean literally - what words do you us?) Or do you just grin and bear it?

Sorry for the essay. I just feel - I don't know what the right word is - "disturbed" I suppose comes close

JohnnyTwoHats Fri 03-Jul-09 18:17:18

Does she pay you back?

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 03-Jul-09 18:18:50

No but I've never asked her to

To be fair though, she did offer this time

Haribosmummy Fri 03-Jul-09 18:33:53

Hmm... difficult one....

Is there anything she could do / offer in a non financial sense?

I'm being really dense and can't think of anything else right now but there must be millions of things she could offer which don't cost money but shows gratitude, IYSWIM...

cat64 Fri 03-Jul-09 18:38:27

Message withdrawn

malfoy Fri 03-Jul-09 18:42:44

I am in a similar situation but with my parents. It feels so wrong and I know that I am not doing them any favours by helping them but I can't say no either.

It is hard.

malfoy Fri 03-Jul-09 18:45:40

PS: I don't know whether you are wrong or right. I feel I should do more to help my parents figure out their finances but they get defensive.

Ronaldinhio Fri 03-Jul-09 18:47:16

just give her the money if you have it and want to.
Don't expect it back and don't judge her on how she spends it to her.

If you are unable to do that don't part with it as it'll all end in tears

expatinscotland Fri 03-Jul-09 18:47:21

Wish I were in a position to give people money when they needed it.


It wouldn't bother me in the least to help her out, especially as you are already helping support your DH's family.

plimple Fri 03-Jul-09 18:48:37

Why don't you suggest that you sit down with her to give her some budgeting help. She probably doesn't enjoy asking, but then if she never pays you back maybe she's not bothered.
She really ought to pay you back no matter what the difference between your incomes are.
Oh, cat64 said same thing about budget. Ah well!

crokky Fri 03-Jul-09 18:53:28

I think you were right to give her the £200. You say she has no DC to support - are they grown up or did she never have any - because if she didn't she might be in terrible pain about it. Don't know if her tragedy is related to DC? Anyway presuming that she is grateful for the money, I think you did the right thing giving it to her.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 03-Jul-09 18:54:14

Never a lender nor a borrower be as the saying goes.

You are being used here and you are allowing this to happen.

How do you actually know this money will be spent on such repairs?.

You are enabling her spending behaviour and enabling actually helps no-one long term particularly your sister. She is being shielded from the consequences of her actions by her family members.

How is this lady ever going to learn to budget properly if well meaning and kind people like yourself and your family bail her out all the time?. Short answer is that she will not.

Would also stop supporting his family too; you are not the Bank of Countingthegreyhairs.

malfoy Fri 03-Jul-09 18:57:45

but Attila do you think she is going to learn to budget in her fifties?

I have given on my parents who are in their sixties.

I could not live with myself if people I loved were suffering financially when I could spare the cash.

malfoy Fri 03-Jul-09 18:58:25

I meant given up on my parents.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 03-Jul-09 19:08:47

If the positions were reversed would she help you?.

My stance seems harsh but how is this person ever going to learn about finance if she is being enabled all the time?. She will not and has come to rely on you to help her when she's in a jam which is probably happening more and more frequently. You are very kind but you're also being taken advantage of. It cannot be allowed to continue for all your sakes; your circumstances may change and you may not have the money to give in future.

I have myself lent funds to my parents but it has always been with the proviso agreed between both of us that it will be paid back.

Stop being one of the Family Bankers and instead encourage her to budget properly; someone needs to go over all her expenses properly. She cannot keep living beyond her means.

sparkybabe Fri 03-Jul-09 19:20:13

£200??? That's a lot of money (to me anyway) - I would say I'd love to help, but I can only afford half of that (this is in dreamland, right) and want it back

Boys2mam Fri 03-Jul-09 20:12:36

It seems awfully patronising to say you will lend her the money but will then monitor her spending/budgeting in the future.

If it were me, I would lend her the money with a clear expectation of it being repaid and when. That in itself should ensure, she a. does not ask in future unless it is absolutely necessary and b. she doesn't feel like an idiot having to ask.

Family is there to support each other and if you have never asked her to repay in the past, does that not speak more of you than of her?

Also, DH is happy to lend his family but 'not enthusiastic' about yours?

expatinscotland Fri 03-Jul-09 20:45:32

Family really give money to each other as a loan?!

Sorry, but I think if you can't afford to give it to them then you need to say no.

random Fri 03-Jul-09 20:47:33

If I could afford it I would always help family out and know they would me

AnonAway Fri 03-Jul-09 21:03:09

namechanged because of details

DH sister has SN and is in assisted living and is always asking for money because she wants to go down the pub

We always give it to her and never grudge it but it makes me so sad for some reason.

When she comes to visit she always brings some little sweet presents for our dc.

Don't have any advice for you except to say that if she's had a hard time of it, the feeling that someone (you) is looking out for her might be even more important to her than the money.

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 03-Jul-09 21:46:38

Gosh - sorry - went away for dinner/bath/bed routine (an hour ahead here and late because on hols) and have come back to all these v. useful replies.

THANK YOU everyone.

The diversity of responses mirrors almost perfectly my conflicting feelings about this situation.

On the one hand I agree with Xpat that if you have it to give, you should give it willingly and with no strings attached ...

On the other hand ...I AM starting to feel slightly resentful about it and (as much as I would like to) I can't really ignore that feeling and I don't want it to alter my relationship with my sister.

She's had five jobs in four years and was dismissed from one because of some financial anomaly (nothing was proven and my mother paid for a solicitor to sort that out)

However - to be strictly fair to her - she has bounced back and has got another job and seems to be sticking with it.

She never seems to put money aside for a rainy day however.

*Cat 64's* suggestion about offering ongoing budgeting advice - although a good idea in general - would not work in the context of our particular relationship. She is older than me, with a strong personality, and I'm the youngest - more subservient I suppose in the family ranking! She definitely would not take kindly to it. We also live in different countries.

Crokky - very very sadly, her dh took his own life when she was in her twenties, and she has never remarried or recovered fully (who would or could?) Hence no dc. And I think you make a good point AnonAway about perhaps the money being symbolic of something else too - ie that someone is out there who cares.

Atila what you say really makes sense and I veer from feeling as if we are all being taken advantage of - to the other extreme that she is family and family looks after one another full stop. Again, to try to be as fair as possible, if the positions were reversed she would help us out I am certain.

I guess what is upsetting me (this thread is really helping me to sort out how I really feel) is the dishonesty involved. She borrows from all of us and isn't open about it and deludes herself that we don't know. She borrows money from her friends too - one of them recently fell out with her about it - but she doesn't seem to have a clue why and is terribly hurt. And I suppose I am thinking that if we all continue to collude with the deceit then she will never know or face reality, if that makes any sort of sense.

On reflection, I think I am going to go in the direction of Boys2mam and SparkyBabe. As she did volunteer to pay it back this time then I will take treat this like a transaction between responsible adults and take her at her word.

Thanks again including anyone I have missed out.

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