How much help to offer?

Avatar for deenow17
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Registered: 10-12-2004
How much help to offer?
6
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 11:47am

Trying to decide what to do to help DD now that SIL has been out of work for almost 4 mths. I know she had a buffer saved up but I suspect it is running low. When DGS was born, we brought most of the baby supplies for the first 2 yrs. This was not asked of us but we chose to do it due to the difficulties of his birth, his disability & the fact that DD could not go back to work until he was 18 mths old. We then chose to provide daycare until he was 4 to save them money so they could buy a house. DD has always appreciated what we did & thanked us at the time but we don't talk about it. However, we have never received a thank you from SIL.

My best friend does everything for her kids. She lends them money. She calls it an advance on their inheritance. She spends a approx $500s on birthdays for each kid/grandkids & then approx 2000 each for Xmas. She is at their beck & call constantly. It is one of the reasons she was laid off as it was discovered that she was babysitting while working from home. She did get her work done so they couldn't fire her but chose to select her when they had layoff targets because of it. Her house is falling down around her as she can't afford improvement while giving her kids money. They both own huge, beautiful homes. She used to be house proud when the kids were growing up but now all of her income goes to support them. Her DS is married with 2 kids but doesn't work. He plays at being an artist which is his dream. His wife works part time. Guess who supplies the mortgage payments. He has talent & does get 4000 or 5000 for his work when he sells which is about 4 or 5 piece a yr.

So that is one extreme & I have another friend who says, her kids are on their own. She paid for their educations (all university grads) & it's their responsibility to live their own lives. We had no help financially or personally from our families. We ended up providing assistance to DH's parents when his Dad quit working at 70 & they were too old to help with kids. My Mom had not interest in being a grandmother & never offered any financial assistance even though she could have afforded it then. Their investments have taken a significant loss & so now we are helping them financially.

So I'm back to my original concern.  What do we do to help DD? Our income is only 30% of what it was when I was working but I have money set aside. I know if I lend her money then she will work to pay it back asap. Any ideas or suggestions?

Dee

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Wed, 10-17-2012 - 6:45pm
A couple of updates. SIL starts a new job next Mon. Yeah!!!! The industry he works within is very small & most people know each other or at least can contact with only 1 or 2 names. He has had a headhunter looking for a new job for him for over a yr (yes before he got fired) but there have only been 4 jobs come up & they were all people he knew through his Dad. He didn't want to get into another situation where it was going to cause stress from his Dad for him to quit. This new company called him. They got his name from one of his customers & the 1st interview went so well that the company owner didn't feel he needed to conduct his own interview. The new company then called several of his previous customers to get their feedback as SIL was honest & said he didn't know what kind of reference his previous boss would give him. He is not ambitious but that isn't a serious issue in my opinion. Not everyone is & there is nothing wrong with excelling at what you do without having to move up the ladder. DD is ambitious enough for the 2 of them. She has been moving up very quickly in her company & has been told she will go places. Not sure how it is in the US but DD's mortgage payments are less than the average rent here. Thankfully, she had enough saved to carry them for 3 more mths without any real issues. She had to dip into the baby savings. As I said, she is a saver. Our gov't will retain if they feel that you are interested in a program that will result in long term employment which is what SIL was also looking at but they will look at your finances to decide how much you are expected to contribute. He wanted to get into a trade. I don't have a problem with him having a "fun" allowance of his own cause it's how our DH & I have worked for 37 yrs & it's how my Mom has done it in almost 60 yrs of marriage. We find that this works as there is one person in the family who does the bills. I'm hoping that SIL will be like me & become thankful for the "money Nazi" in his relationship. It has worked very successfully for me. I made the higher income but DH has ensured that we will be comfortable in our retirement. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced this marriage will last but not because of the money issues or the fact I don't get along with SIL. I think that in spite of their love for each other, they aren't well matched. They have very little in common. They seem too opposite. It's this which puts a strain on their marriage. Dee
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 7:37pm

No, your SIL doesn't sound lazy, but he doesn't sound ambitious either.  Both his "adult" jobs were handed to him.  His own FATHER fired him, and that did not inspire him to find a job on his own merit.  And even tho he apparently has never gotten along with his superior in this job, that did not inspire him to get out and find a job of his own. 

Nor does he sound concerned with the future, KNOWING he has a disabled child, who will ALWAYS need care. Even tho his parents weren't good role models, surely he is old enough to have learned on his own-- bills come first, saving comes second, fun comes IF there is anything left.  

Dh has approximatly 15 first cousins on his mother's side.  Only dh & one other stayed married to their first spouses.  Since dh is 15 -25 years YOUNGER than all his first cousins, he saw & heard of a LOT of divorces, growing up.  Both his brother and sister were divorced twice.  He swore he wouldn't be that guy, and he wasn't.  Nothing is pre-destined.

Dh and I have been married for 35 years, and neither of us EVER had a "fun allowance".  That's not to say we never went out with our friends, but we always considered whether or not we could afford to go out.  And frankly, once we had kids, we rarely "partied".  We went places as a family, if we could afford it.  We hung out with other families.  Dh & I went out to dinner a couple times a month, while the kids visited with Grandma.

Your dd has a job, so they are not destitute.  They can always let the house go, and rent something cheaper.  Our government, poor as it is, will pay for retraining if you have lost your job and want to change to a field with a better chance of employment.  Perhaps you should mention to your dd that her husband should consider something similiar.  If you are helping them out, you have a right to comment on how they are handling the financial difficulty.  

And consider the possibility that your dd and SIL will not remain married.  From my experience, if one spouse has to be the "money Nazi", the other spouse gets resentful.  Things deteriorate.  Ask your dd if she has made provisions for that instance, think yourself about what you can do for your dd and dgs ALONE.  

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Wed, 10-10-2012 - 1:12pm
Thanks! When DD & SIL moved in together the first time, she discovered that he owed a lot of money for huge screen tv & 5 wk trip to Europe. His parents paid off the tv & DD moved out. When they moved back together when DGS was born, he still owned money for trip. She insisted on getting his pay cheque & she paid all the bills. She gave him an allowance that was for his "fun" but there were times that this did not cover all of his "fun" & he would charge things resulting in battles between them. They separated at one point when she discovered that he had received a salary increase but didn't tell her. He kept the extra money for his fun. I do understand how hard saving is for him. His parents are retired but they have always enjoyed their fun. Their house was paid off before they retired but they have a line of credit outstanding for over $70,000 run up in the last 5 yrs. They are just realizing that they need to cut back a bit but while they are talking about it, it doesn't seem to be happening yet.

So to balance the relationship, there is give & take. DD gives SIL a fun allowance but she doesn't take one for herself. My understanding is that the fun allowance is on hold these days. He is picking up small renovating jobs wherever he can. He apparently has a second interview tomorrow for another job but market is tough right now. I would like to see him go back to school to do something he enjoys.

I know why he was fired as I handled the HR side on his behalf. He had grounds to sue them but I advised against it as it would have resulted in the lawyer getting most of the settlement as SIL had less than 5 yrs with the company. In the 8 yrs since he left university, he has been fired twice. First time was after 3 yrs of working for his father who decided he needed more cash himself & since the older 2 boys had worked there longer, he told SIL that he had no job. Then he found SIL a job with a friend of his who owned a similar type company that was much larger. This job lasted almost 5 yrs but SIL never got along with his boss who felt he was forced to have SIL work for him. SIL is a hard worker. He was on call 7/24 with the except of the week of his honeymoon for his last 2 yrs. His work load had built up & he had been requesting assistance from his mgr for 6 mths. Mgr kept refusing & so he wrote a professional email to owner requesting assistance. He was fired 2 days later with the reason being given that he was missing too much time from work. In our province, you have 10 days per calendar year that you are allowed to take for family illness/medical reasons. He had taken 4 days in the previous 2 mths due to DGS's illness & a couple of serious medical appts for DGS. This is wrongful dismissal here but we know the real reason was that his mgr wanted to get rid of him. He was replaced by 2 new people. His main 3 clients reached out to him to ask where he was working as they were told he quit. They wanted to go with him. Unfortunately, this wasn't true.

I doubt we will ever get a thank you from SIL as he just doesn't like me. However, to be fair he did thank me for the threatening letter I drafted for him to send his boss to get his final pay released & his benefit coverage extended to the end of his notice period. His money was delivered the day after the courier delivered the letter which impressed SIL because his boss was holding the money until SIL signed a release letter from the company which I won't let him sign.

Bottom line, he isn't lazy. He is a hard worker but he also likes to party. Right now, I'm still not sure if I will give them a loan if I'm asked to do so. I will take food when I go to visit next week. I will check out DGS's snow suit to see if it needs to be replaced. I'm currently making him 2 pairs of pjs & will see what else he needs. I'm taking my DD out for lunch before the babyshower to try to see if she needs anything herself. I love my kids but I will not bankrupt myself for them. I don't want them to end up like us supporting their parents in their old age.

Dee
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 9:15pm

My first thought would be, do what you can AFFORD, without dipping into savings, and feel comfortable with.  However, when you say, <<<DD is so careful with money & does without so much but SIL doesn't save. He likes to spend>>>  Well, this would be the fly in the ointment for me.  How can they function as a "family", if they are not on the same page--especially about finances?  And if they are not on the same page, how can you be sure money you give them, will be used correctly?

We help our kids.  We are not as insane as your one friend--we would NEVER bankrupt ourselves to help them--but if they are struggling thru NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, we will pitch in to pay for car payments and repairs--as long as they are using the car to look for or get to jobs, home repairs if they are at least making the mortgage, & education--for a sensible education, and NOT advanced basket-weaving.  I did pay for YDD's income taxes--ONCE--because her then husband cheated her, claimed 15 deductions on his paycheck, and then took half before he deposited the rest, telling her that WAS the check.  We also paid for her divorce. 

We will NOT pay for mortgage or utilities.  Our feeling is that our house is beyond large enough for them to move back home.  That would enable them to save the money they would have spent on rent/mortgage and utilities, and they could pitch in around the house to make up for laundry, hot water and food. 

When YDD's baby-daddy bf was out of work, I also sent them various ads and job ideas.  Dd wanted me to stop, saying it offended him, because he has the Latin/macho need to do things himself.  I told her, kick him out of YOUR house, where YOU are supporting him, and I will stop.  They both shut up.

We spent money arraigning the baby shower, and furnishing the "hard" supplies for the baby--car seat, stroller, baby carrier, swing, pack-n-play, crib, mattress, closet organizer... on the theory that we were doing it for dgd.  Baby-daddy was/is already spending child support on 2 kids he never gets to see, as they live 1000 miles away, and is supporting his ailing out-of-work parents, so it's not like he's a slug laying on dd's couch, swilling beer.  UNlike her ex.

Ydd was head hunted for a legal job back downtown.  The employer knew one of her former bosses, and was keen to have her, offering 10K more than she was making, and paid benefits.  In return, she was to understand that it was a boutique law firm, and they expected the job to come first.  She turned them down, because her current employer puts family first--it's why he started his OWN business.  He lets her make her own hours--within reason--so if she wants to take the baby to the dr,  she can come in late, and just stay later.  He also lets her bank paid time off  in return for overtime.  These are big pluses for her.  BUT, when she asked for a short-term loan, we said NO.  We said, if the warm and fuzzies are more important than money, that's fine, but she needed to live with the effects of her choices.  She and baby-daddy worked it out. 

Then, when I was offered a one-day-a-week job, dd said, "baby-daddy is supporting his parents.  The LEAST they can do is baby sit so you can WORK."  And they do.

If I was in your position, I'd want to know WHY SIL lost the job, and what he's doing to get back to work.  I'd also demand that he and dd get on the same page over finances, and get counseling if needed.  I'll give you my money, but you don't get it for "free".

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 6:48pm
Thanks for the quick reply. It is so hard as DD is so careful with money & does without so much but SIL doesn't save. He likes to spend but to be fair to him, that is the role model he has from his parents.

We have been very careful not to give money outright unless for some gifts at birthday or Xmas. We paid towards our kids education but they had an equal accountability for payments which meant working part times & in the summer. I had cut down in buying for DGS at my DD's request last yr. She felt I gave him too much & that was true. She just sent me a text & asked if she could go in with me on a shower gift this week. I will add to my gift but not charge my DD for this. I will just "forget" how much I spent which is what I used to do when DGS was a baby & we were buying diapers, clothes & formula.

I suspect that they are struggling with paying the mortgage & the rest of the bills on DD's salary. AFter I posted today, I went online & found out information for a course that SIL could take that might help him get a job. I sent the information to DD & said that SIL could live with us for the 22 wks to take the course. I will also wait to see if he is interested & if his parents don't offer to pay/lend the money for school then I will.

We are proud that we did everything ourselves & even when we had the financial ability to pay for things without our kids working, we made them get part time jobs. DH's is very focused on saving money/doing without until you have the cash & we have tried to teach the kids this. DD earned a lot of money modeling & partied/spent a lot but also paid for her education. She regrets spending so much & always ensures that she saves part of her income now.

Guess we never stop worrying about them, Dee.
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 3:51pm

Its really hard sometimes to know if, when, or how much to help our kids. 

I was very proud as a young adult and wouldn't accept cash from my parents when they saw me struggling. So instead they would offer to pay for occasional big ticket items, which eventually I did let them do like replacing the bald tires on my car or paying the airfare for me to bring the kids to visit them. And they were very generous at Christmas and birthdays. The only time I asked for financial help was a loan towards the down payment on our first house, and we started repaying it immediately--but that Christmas they forgave us the balance as our gift.

I've kind of used that as my guide in helping our kids. We paid most of the cost of ds' university years including living expenses (he worked part time and summers to supplement what we gave him) so I do feel that we've kind of "done our job" with him. I know that he is stuggling financially right now but I think that he needs to--- in the years between university and grad school he was making a good salary and living a little high we thought, not saving much even though he knew that leaner days were coming etc---so we don't give him cash, but if we're visiting we take them to nice restaurants etc. and we are generous at birthday and Christmas---but not in the $500/2000 range, that's crazy!

Dd didn't go the university route after HS but she's taking courses now and hopes to get accepted as a matriculated student. We pay her tuition and books/supplies but not her living expenses. In earlier years when she was struggling I would take her grocery shopping sometimes, or slip her a $20, or pay for her to get her teeth cleaned. We actually still pay her health insurance premium because we know that she cannot afford it and would go without insurance otherwise. I always have mixed feelings about giving my dd cash because I don't really like the way she manages her money. She will choose to get a tattoo over paying for something that IMO is more pressing, so I try to stay out of it.

In terms of your dd, I'd probably suggest helping her in ways that don't involve her seeing cash---like bringing a load of groceries, or buying clothes for dgs, or arranging to pay for a delivery of heating oil, or whatever is in your budget.

The part about SIL never thanking you would have me steamed, but what can you do...its just one more thing to add to the list of reasons why you don't care for him. My sister in law has a similar SIL---trouble getting/keeping a good paying job so she ended up giving them money most every month to make rent etc, her dd thanked her repeatedly but never a word of thanks from the SIL. I guess the SIL was embarassed, but then IMO the wife should have convinced him to swallow his pride and be a real man that can say thank you. Oh well, that didn't happen, whatever. Finally they seem to have things stable and my SIL (who is widowed and on a fixed income) hasn't had to help them in a while---but she does still buy a lot of basic stuff for her grandkids year round, not just at gift occasions.

You probably have a lot of company in this dilemma Dee.