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Friends, Family and Money
My partner and I just bought a house, which was made
possible by my parents giving us the down payment. We are so
grateful and wondering the best way to show our
appreciation. I know my parents can afford to do this and
feel good about helping us, and I am sure they know how
grateful we are (obviously I have thanked them verbally many
times!), but we were trying to think of something special we
could do or make for them to express our gratitude in a
It would feel silly to ''buy them something nice'' because
they have quite a bit more money than we do and have all the
''stuff'' they need. We did consider making something special
with photos of our young child enjoying the house (since
they are doting grandparents too and live far away).
Has anyone ever been in this situation? Any ideas,
suggestions, etc. would be great. Thank you!
I completely understand where you're coming from. My sister told me at one point
in a similar situation ''sometimes you have to suck it up and just be
grateful''-meaning I could never say thanks enough and to just let go, and allow
the other person to enjoy the gift they were giving me. It's intense though!
How about a beautiful rose bush or fruit-bearing tree to plant in your garden (or
theirs)? As it grows through the years the joy and beauty it gives is enjoyed by
What a wonderful problem. Enjoy your home!
paying it forward
You are very fortunate indeed. I would suggest that you invite them for a home
cooked dinner at your new home, perhaps with other family or special friends, and
thank them with a toast, but no physical gifts. If you have time, take some
photos of your family in your new home and have a book made online, give to them
with a handwritten note about how much you appreciate their help. Otherwise, do
that over the next few months and give it to them at the holidays.
Enjoy your new home!
Are your parents local? If not, one important thing you can do is go to extra
trouble to make the house comfortable for them to visit. For example, get them a
real bed with a high-quality mattress, not a spine-busting pull-out, even if it
means sacrificing space for other things. Make sure there's dresser or closet
space that is left empty. Etc. Futons in the living room are harder to endure
in your sixties and seventies, and making space for them shows they are an
essential part of your lives, not an afterthought to be squeezed in around the
Otherwise, the photo-related gifts, such as hardbound Mac photo books, are
indeed nice. Also, kids' artwork made into gift items, like trivets or aprons,
can be good. Generally, try to show your gratitude by opening your lives to
include them as much as possible, and when an opportunity for doing something
special presents itself, take it!
I have made about 12 photo books through Shutterfly. They have many different
styles and tons of options. It's a bit tricky at first but grandparents don't
care if it does not look perfect. my first book had great pages but the two sides
of the pages did not always go well together colorwise or style wise. Now, having
done so many, my books are great.
I made a brag book for my mother, one picture per page with a few words and then
several 8x8 hard covers for all of the
6 grandparents. The more you make, the more discounts you get. My mother in law
displays hers on her entertainment center. it was for her 64th birthday with
lots of pictures of her and her grandson. Feel free to contact me if you have
I think an honest, sweet, thankful, handwritten letter would
be a great gift. They wouldn't want you to spend money on
something, seeing as you needed financial help on the house.
If they knew they really helped you and you truly
appreciated it, that would probably be gift enough. I'd bet
they'd even save the letter with other treasures.
I need some help getting perspective. In the midst of
financial struggles, I can't stop myself from feeling
resentful about the relative financial comfort of my
parents. I am much too old to expect them to help me
financially (and they have helped a great deal in the past),
and they are retired and thus managing their money while
facing the insecurities/fears of getting older. However, I
find myself annoyed when hearing the details of their nice
vacations etc while I am worrying about which bill I am not
going to pay this month. My partner and I both work, and we
have two young children, and we live very frugally. We have
no security (don't own a home, don't have savings, do have
lots of debt). Although I know this is my problem to solve,
and I tell myself that I am glad they are able to enjoy
their retirement, etc., I am still full of resentment! I
would love to get some advice about how to let go of that.
I think there is still something of the child in you,
feeling that your parents should see your situation and do
something about it. And then I think that your reaction is
very normal, very human. There are a couple of factors
here, which you probably already understand, but it might
not hurt to go over them. First, you are at a very
different stage of your life: the struggling stage. My
parents had it very tough economically when we were kids;
they had to work their tails off and account for every
penny. But as we grew up and gained independence and they
became more established financially, their worries slowly
peeled away. They are by no means well off (they are
working-class people), but they are comfortable enough, can
do the things they enjoy, have no major financial issues...
whew. Thank God. So part of this is the generational
difference, and we can hope for that light at the end of the
tunnel ourselves. Except for the second part, which is
harder to handle from my perspective: the economic crisis we
are experiencing, which definitely hits some people harder
than others. We are in the thick of it; your parents
managed to avoid the train wreck by having their money in
the right places, apparently. But I fear we are going to be
struggling with it for a long time to come, especially when
I look at the rising cost of education and diminishing
resources. I think I would speak with my parents about the
latter half of this, not with the expectation that they
should shell out cash, but just let them know about your
worries. My parents, who do not have any resources to share
with me, have fantastic advice. They help me make decisions
about money matters. So tap your parents for advice and
comfort. They must have done some things right, so see if
you can emulate them in any way. Good luck to you.
daughter of Depression babies
I couldn't read your post without at least commiserating! My
parents have both been retired with really fat pensions.
They never saved a dime in their lives, and just count on
these very generous pensions. I am glad that they have a
good life, don't get me wrong, but they are just so out of
touch. They complain about their health insurance and
having to go to the dentist. I would *love* to go to the
dentist, but haven't had health insurance for over 6 years.
My parents complain about not seeing their grandchildren
enough, but they don't realize the extreme stress that me
and my husband are under. My mom flipped out on me when I
stated she should enjoy her days, since my husband and I
will likely never retire--should thought I was being
critical, when all I was stating was the truth, we will
likely work until the day we die. Part of it must be
generational--and I don't have any great advice about how to
deal with these feels. I am not proud of the way I feel,
but also am not going to tiptoe around them. Young families
are really having it hard these days, and I don't think they
realize how hard it is.
Can you spell entitlement?
Not to be too hard but you are sounding spoiled. Your
parents took care of you when you were young, got you
educated (I presume) and have even helped you with your
finances recently. They've kept their end of the bargain.
To expect them to not enjoy their lives is plain selfish.
To put into perspective, I come from a third-world country
and my family (and those of most of my fellow-countrymen
who came here to study/work) spent money & resources to
help us get here & get educated. That took a lot of
sacrifices on their part. Now, I (and most of my friends)
send money back home to help them (and no, most of us are
also struggling in the expensive Bay Area). I think if
you're not helping your parents as they get older (as they
don't need it), the least you could do is let them enjoy
it. Live vicariously through them & enjoy their
experiences. Nothing is guaranteed in life, especially in
one's retirement years. What if they got terminally sick
soon or something horrible like that happened? It would be
nice to know they enjoyed a good part of their lives. One
day when you're in their shoes, you wouldn't want your
kids to begrudge you your hard-earned money?
I agree that it's hard in the Bay Area. Almost all couples
I know live pay-check to pay-check. But you're chosing to
live here and making other choices about your lifestyle,
line of work, etc. Maybe changing one (or all of) that
part of the equation will change your standard of living?
Not looking to support my kids when they are adults
Since you are an adult, your parents are not obligated to
help you out, but maybe they would if you asked. Do you have
siblings? Maybe they could give gifts to all of their kids.
Maybe if they knew that you are struggling, they would want
to help. When they get old and sick and unable to take care
of themselves, who is going to take care of them? Will it be
you? Maybe giving you money now would make sense if you are
going to be burdened by their needs later. It is nice if
offspring can provide the love and attention old folks need
without being paid, but they can't always do that. Giving
you money now could be a way for them to buy ''insurance.''
Anyway, it seems to me that you are doing your part to be
responsible. Why shouldn't they help?
My parents did not support me during my struggling years,
and I am very glad about it now. My father has dementia and
is in an assisted living facility. Every penny of his savings
will be needed for his care. Thank goodness he
was both responsible and fortunate.
I also recognize that although I consider myself to be
financially responsible and frugal, my parents NEVER had any
of the things I take for granted. We ate out twice a year.
Hamburger was a big feature of in-home dining. Clothes were
always discount and we shopped for new ones twice a year, total. For
the kids. There are lots more things to buy now, and you can sure
feel deprived not having them: cable TV, cell phones, internet
service. But try to consider them luxuries, not necessities!!
Besides not having those things, my parents didn't spend money on
water, either, and coffee was Maxwell House in a can. So even
though they had a nice home and my dad was able to retire with
a good pension, I don't think their lives were really easier than
I'm also a bit on the other side of the fence. My
husband has adult children who give us a little attitude every
time we take a trip or buy something ("Oooh, that's really nice,
I wish I could afford that!") Please don't do that. If you need
money for some emergency, ask for your parents for it -- don't go
I hope this helps and doesn't sound too preachy.
You sound like you are honest with yourself and trying to figure
out a way not to resent your parents. Maybe a little more time
spent with the truly disadvantaged? And try to enjoy your independence,
too. Would you really want to be Paris Hilton, who couldn't last for
five minutes if she didn't have her parents' wealth to consume?
I know a lot of people might say get over this. And it
really is something you can't act on or speak to your
parents about. I'm sure they had years of struggle too, even
if less intense than yours.
I just want to acknowledge that economic times have changed
so much and it really is harder for people to raise a family
and have any security nowadays. Your parents probably
overall did have it easier. And owning a home in the Bay
Area? I never could do it and I know I'm not alone but I am
alone among my friends who have a far higher level of
security than I do. (I was a single parent.) I do know that
feeling of envy bordering on despair when someone goes on
and on about replacing the gutters on the vacation house.
Or, one time, a woman was actually crying at school dropoff
becuase HER car died and she had to call her husband and
they had to SHARE a car while hers was in the shop. (Hello,
you have a partner and a second car.) I was and am happy for
my friends' good fortune and I know they wish me the best.
I think it's ok to feel that way privately. Then go back to
your own life. Take responsibility for any iffy decisions
you made that got you into this. In my case, married wrong
guy, wouldn't live with an abuser. Acknowledge the wisdom
and stupidity of your decisions.
And it's not over! List all the pluses and advantages you
have, maybe a husband, health, the ability to work, the fact
that childhood passes. You can create some level of security
still. I'm probably older than you and I believe that.
Unless you choose suicide, and you can't with kids (can you
tell I've ridden this train of thought?), you just can't
give up. It comes to some spiritual or philosophical
attitude of accepting the unique challenges you have and
remembering that everybody has something. It's hard but try
not to compare. I compared myself to one of my friends,
financially, then she got sick and died. Young!
Maybe it comes down to just not giving up, doing your best,
and appreciating all the small things.
- i hear you
Wow. I have the opposite problem! My mom is so incredibly
unskilled at life that she can't keep a job, she can barely
keep a roof over her head, and often doesn't have enough
money for food. We don't make nearly enough money to support
her too, but we often do end up bailing her out (paying her
rent, buying her gift cards to Trader Joe's, etc.) and then
I feel so resentful. So we have that in common- the
I'm not sure how you can heal/deal with your resentment;
it's such a foreign thing to me to have highly functional
parents (at least where their finances are concerned). I'm
actually jealous of you! I had to raise myself as a kid
because my mom is so inept at ''life'' -it felt like I was
raising the both of us, frankly. I always wished someone
would lend a hand. But it was just the two of us. Now I
(once again) wish I had a sibling or someone to help me...
It feels like so much. My mom is only 60, but has to work at
minimum-wage jobs because she can't handle much more than
that. I should shut-up now, I'm depressing myself.
But good luck to you. And when you feel the resentment creep
up, think of me. At least you aren't having to take care of
them AND yourself and your family. Something small to be
After reading some of the responses, I had to write in.
Obviously the writers' own experiences are driving their
perspectives. Those who are better off than their parents
seem to think you are being a spoiled brat. I disagree. The
reality in America is that, overall, we've passed the peak.
For many, especially the young, but even many in middle age,
they are simply never going to achieve the level of
prosperity that their parents had, no matter what economic
circumstances they grew up in. In addition, the communal
benefits that their parents currently enjoy (Soc. Sec. and
Medicare)will not be there for us. Acknowledging that is not
spoiled; it's realistic. It may not be true yet for some
individuals whose parents had no education who themselves
got an education and have a completely different kind of
job, but for many of us it is the case. Real incomes in many
(most?) fields have declined since I was a kid (the 60s and
70s). I have the same education level and quality and am in
a similar field as my father, but our lifestyles have no
relation to each other. My mother stayed home, and we lived
a really privileged life on his one scientist's income. I am
a scientist AND my husband works full time, and there is no
way in hell we could buy the house I grew up in, go on the
vacations we went on, pay the tuition for the private school
I attended, have the new cars or anything that my parents
were able to do on one professor's income. That's just a
fact. It's NOT because I pay for cable and they didn't (I
don't have cable, since we can't afford it). The fact that
you don't have the nice life your parents had or even now
are enjoying in their retirement and the fact that you will
likely not have anywhere near as comfortable a retirement
yourself (if you even get to retire), probably has NOTHING
to do with you buying more luxuries than they did. It's just
the ugly reality of 21st century America in which wealth is
increasingly concentrated in the hands of very few and
almost ALL the rest of us are losing ground. It's only going
to get worse, by all indications. (continued below)
Part of the dying middle class
(continued from above) So, your reality is mine and many
others' as well. I don't resent my mother having her
comforts, but I do get extremely irritated when she
complains about the expenses of her second home in Tahoe,
the single supplement she has to pay to have a private room
on her guided luxury trips to Africa/India/Morocco/France,
the cost of the bathroom remodel, etc. Or when she complains
about how little her Social Security increase is, or how
annoying it is that Medicare won't pay for something or
other. Or when she mentions, somewhat petulantly, that my
sister's and my families don't come travel to her enough
(seven people traveling vs. one - what makes financial
sense?). Or when she comments that we should have bought a
nicer house like the one next door (which we couldn't afford
in a million years) or should replace our furniture or I
should buy a new outfit for some event. She has no concept
of the reality in which her children live and how even in
our prime earning years we have nothing like what she had in
my childhood or has now in retirement. No, I don't begrudge
her her good fortune - she was lucky enough to hit the peak
of prosperity combined with high public support in America -
but I do NOT want to hear her complain. So, I can relate to
you frustration, and you are not being unreasonable. That
being said, you should probably keep it to yourself; saying
something won't change the reality, and might just put an
unnecessary damper on their happiness. Just try not compare,
and think of what you DO have. It's hard, but it helps. Of
course, some day I might just scream at my mother if she
complains again about some luxury I could never EVER
Part of the dying middle class
I read your post with bemusement - I wish I had such a problem! My parents
have always handled their money badly. Decades ago they expected their own
parents to give them a down payment on a house - and it never happened, and
they are still renting. My father has been in and out of more jobs than I can
count. He is now 65 and unemployed - laid off two years ago, and unlikely to
ever work again. My mother works two jobs and will never be able to retire. I
literally lie awake at night worrying about how I will manage to put my own
children through college and simultaneously help my own parents as their health
continues to decline. And I do own a house - my husband and I scraped and
saved for many years. No one helped us. The catch is that I can never, ever
discuss my finances with my parents because my situation is the exact opposite
of yours: my parents are envious of me. And not a day goes by that I don't feel
guilty for what I have.
I know very well what the original posting is all about. I
also have to agree with the two-part response a couple of
You are not alone in this. I unfortunately have to tell my
parents that some comments they make around my spouse and I,
or our friends are based on assumptions they make that are
completely wrong, and as a result they might hurt people.
Thankfully, they can take a hint and have been very
measured, but I think in large part it helps that they live
on very little and are far from comfortable at retirement.
This is not true of a few of our friends though who are
comfortably retired. Their comments and assumptions have
been rather unfortunate in the past, and we have to manage
our contact time with them. We know they like to come visit
the kids, or to generally hand around with our friends but
it is too much stress. Their own kids have to publicly
admonish them for making remarks that are misplaced, or
whining to people who they don't realize have far more
economic uncertainty and challenges galore to deal with (to
say nothing of the strong ideological views they so
willingly share with everyone regardless of context or venue).
It's particularly hard that my peers (in mid-30s to mid-40s)
despite their advanced education, capabilities and most of
them being new parents, they are having enormous
difficulties and fairly uncertain economic prospects at what
should be the prime of their working lives. No-one wants to
''brag'' about how tough things are for them, so it's probably
really tricky for someone to appreciate that the ''problems''
they have are nothing compared to many younger families.
This is not entirely generational though. We have some
friends who regardless of how they are doing at retirement
(and some are struggling) they are great to be with,
insightful, lively, wise, and calm, regardless of what goes
on in their lives.
That said, it is really weird to see some of our friends
having to take their parents aside for ''a chat''. My uncle
sometimes jokes that some in his generation are acting as if
their kids are the adults in the room.
I think you need to at least communicate to your parents
about how their words have an impact. I think you have the
acumen necessary to convey to them that you both love them
and appreciate them for how much they have done for you, and
that their complaints are sometimes distracting to you, or
that it is hard to relate to them about all that. You know
that it won't make things instantly better, but you are
their child, and you ought to give them a heads-up about
what this impacts your relationship with them.
I'm having a very difficult time with my father and would like
to seek some advice from those with wisdom/experience.
My father was a good father to me; he did everything he could to
bring my mom and his three children to the US; support us during
our early days in the US. On the down side, he was very self
righteous; authoritative; and was not open to open communication
with his children. I basically entered my first marriage out of
the desire to escape the traditional family dynamics. Since
then, I went through a divorce; went to law school on my own;
remarried and now practice law in the city.
Now my father's retired from a great position. He lives in a
condo which I helped buy; drives a SUV Lexus; occasionally
travels to the old country or out of town; basically leads a
very decent life for a retiree on a fixed budget. However,
having the old Asian values of expecting children to support the
parents financially in the parents' old age, he has driven me
completely crazy. He expects me to provide him with money.
Honestly, I have failed to do so simply because I have my
family obligations myself: mortgage; my kid's education; other
expenses, no luxury by all means: I'm still driving a 6 year old
car, and frankly after all bills are paid, I survive on a $50
the last five days prior to the next paycheck!
And my father has turned completely hostile, bitter, & angry at
me. He would either confront me directly about money issue: ''Why
don't you pay for it, etc?'' Or everyday he would tell my mother
that one of his deepest regrets is to bring his family to the
US; he should have left us in Vietnam under the communists! That
kind of statement hurt and angered me tremendously. First,as a
mother myself, I cannot even imagine saying such cruel things
about my kids.Secondly, I think if I could afford it, I would
help him financially. But I can't. I tried to explain to him but
he never listened and he has maintained a very cold, bitter
interaction with me.
I appreciate any advice you might give.
We (my siblings and I) also went through a similar situation with
our dad. In our case, what eventually helped was setting a budget
for dad's expenses. Our dad knows that he will get a certain
amount each month to cover his personal expenses while we
siblings will cover other fixed expenses (home, utilities, food,
medical). We've explained to him that we also have our own
personal bills to pay and that he can't expect us to pay for
And yes, I know of the emotional blackmail (''I raised you - why
aren't you being grateful, etc etc'') which sadly, has caused our
relationship to deteriorate. I've decided to ignore it now (hard
to do yes) and I've told myself that I won't let him get the
better of me. I know this isn't very helpful but I hope you find
your own way of dealing with his comments.
Hi. I am also Asian (Chinese from Hong Kong) and know what you mean
about parents and money. I didn't get from your posting whether you
are a man or a woman. That matters, in my opinion. I think Asian
fathers expect male children to perform but not female children. I
have a feeling you are a man, and that is why your father is so hard
on you. I think you have to consider also that your values have
changed since coming to the U.S. (I know mine have). All the things
you mentioned about communication and expectations between you and
your father are caught up in the cultural differences. I don't think
you can ever change him, so you just have to do your best in YOUR part
of the communication. I would definitely explain to him that you don't
have the money to support him, and that you are having a hard
time. Apologize because you feel really bad, considering all the
things he has done for you in the past. Help out in other ways other
than financial, and give him the love that he is looking for. Don't
get caught up with the money. It's not worth it. Hope this
helps. Feel free to email me if you want more communication about
this. I have more to say, but it's hard to say it all here.
In reading your post, I recognize that there are two issues here:
cultural expectations and relationship problems.
You should hightail it into therapy with someone who understands
cultural issues surrounding Asian daughters (an Asian woman
therapist if possible). She could help you get perspective on
what is culturally appropriate - you are straddling two cultures
and should have some support in your navigation towards a
relationship with your parents which is comfortable for you.
It is possible that your father may not ever be able to accept
that his paradigm is not going to work here. If he continues to
be abusive, stop talking to him.
I know lots of Asian women who have successfully maintained a
relationship with their old country parents within an American
attitude (ie: no, you cannot come and live with me, I will not
support you as long as you have the means to support yourself,
yes I will be helpful to you - but not a servant). It takes
strength not to fall into the ''good Chinese daughter'' trap (or
Japanese, or Vietnamese), but find a therapist who understands
these issues and you will be able to find a balance between the
old world and the new.
Eurasian and proud
Hi - Your dad's a narcissist, surf the web for definitiions of that. It
comforting to have the labels. He's open and honest about how little he
you. You are still hooked and feeling responsible and guilty. Get
therapy to help you
distance yourself from him - you owe him no justification for how you
money and have the right to have a jewelry fund, a retirement fund, a
budget, candy fund - whatever the heck you want. You've been more than a
daughter. I guess I'm assuming you're a woman because we women are more
to get hooked into guilt for not serving the needs jerks who don't care
about us and
I can't imagine a man writing that post. Good luck.
Easier said than done, but DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Parents
know your weak spots, and your dad is obviously struggling with
the fact that things aren't working out the way they were
''supposed to.'' And how could they? He moved from his home
country, which was in turmoil. He's probably experiencing a bit
of mid-life crisis, and discovering that belligerence and anger
doesn't work anymore (as maybe it would have if the war hadn't
come along). But that doesn't mean he won't stop trying! But
it's not about you; it's just dissatisfaction that doesn't have a
home. And, unfortunately, for immigrants in this country, things
are not like home, and you don't know that till you've left and
made a commitment to live here. And once you've lived here,
''home'' isn't really the old country anymore either. Both you and
your parents may always feel a little lost from that perspective.
(Heck, I even had that sense of disillusionment and
disorientation moving from one part of the Bay Are to another
after a divorce, so it's much worse changing cultures and
countries completely!) Here's what I suggest (again, easier said
than done): Do your best with your dad, be firm on your limits,
don't join him in his anger (that's just what he's doing to try
to get you to do things the ''old way.''), be as loving and
compassionate as possible, and mourn the loss of the loving,
family-oriented dad you'd love to have (but try to get over it).
And walk away when you can't take any more, to take care of
yourself. I have similar issues w/ a couple of family members
(minus the cultural clash). I will never have the mother I want
and imagine, so there are limitations, but she has her strengths
as well (and difficulties from her past that I try to empathize
with). When necessary, if she lashes out at me--doesn't happen
much anymore b/c I am an now expert at avoiding the unnecessary
battle--I simply say I have to go, making up an excuse if needed.
Also try not to feel guilty about not meeting all of your
father's demands. You do what you can, you take care of yourself
& family & dad as best as possible, set your limits, and move on.
Try not to say things you'll regret when he dies. You wouldn't be
anguished if you didn't love him too.
I have friends who belong to organizations, lead organizations,
and run marathons. Quite frequently, friends personally ask me
for monetary donations to support their causes. When I was
younger and starting out, even when money was an issue, I
certainly didn't mind offering a small donation of perhaps $50
to support lymphoma or breast cancer for example for a friend
running in a marathon. Now that I am older and financially
established, friends hope and somewhat expect that I have the
means to offer thousands of dollars to support their causes. I
have been even placed on permanent mailing lists which I think
is a bit rude. Annually I do donate to organizations of my
choosing but I wish my friends would not persist in this arena.
It has come to the point that one friend remarked, ''Why don't
you just donate what you donated to .... to my organizaion?!''
or, (comparing qualities in friends, never good) ''Suzy Q donated
$2000 to our organization this year, you really should, don't
you think?'' How would you handle this situation? Why can't
friends keep money out of the equation?
How about sending an e-mail to all of these fund-raising
friends (blind cc list), saying something like, ''Dear friends,
as you all know, I have donated to many causes over the years,
and have rarely if ever, turned down a peronal request for a
donation. What you may not know, is that I also donate to
causes that I am personally, if more privately, committed to.
While I wish I could continue to support all the different
causes that all of us support, and I applaud everyone's efforts
for doing this important work, I have decided to select a
finite number of causes and support those as fully as I am
able. So from now on, I will not be making donations to other
organizations. I wrote this letter to everyone because I feel
badly about saying no to anyone. But I'm sure you all
understand we all have our limits, and I have now found mine.
Thanks for understanding!'' That should nip it in the bud, no?
This is a very good issue to raise. Giving money to causes you
support can be a wonderful thing, as you get the good feeling
that you are helping make the world a better place. However,
getting browbeaten because you haven't given enough to someone
else's pet cause (in their estimation) is not such a wonderful
My husband and I make a careful plan for our giving at the end of
every calendar year. We favor making fewer, larger gifts rather
than scattering smaller gifts between many organizations. When
people hit me up, I explain our strategy to them. Not everyone
is happy. Some people are so passionate about their causes that
they can't understand how you could fail to share their passion.
Explain to them that, while you admire their commitment to X,
you have made other commitments.
One of the problems of being a donor is that you sometimes feel
as though your reward for making gifts is more mail, more
requests and higher expectations. But it's still worth it to
support the causes you believe in, and they really do need your
money. Stick to your guns, don't feel apologetic and keep on
I know exactly how you feel. I've been responding this way: ''How
great that you're running/walking/bicycling. I want my charity dollars
to go to one or two places so I can follow the impact my donations
have. This year I'm donating to Heifer International and Habitat for
Humanity because those causes are really important to me. (During
Katrina it was to the Red Cross.) So many people have asked me to
sponsor them, it felt like my giving was too scattered.'' Still feels
awkward but it's the truth.
I have this problem and it bugs me a little too. I even get them from
people who are my business clients. I remind myself that their
intentions are good and my response is usually ''thanks for this
wonderful opportunity but I will be sticking to my own list of
donations for the year. I hope your bowl-a-thon is very successful.''
Or something like that. Nice - to the point.
Pick your own good will!
Friends no longer ask me to donate to their organization unless
they are willing to donate the same amount to my organization,
''Huntington's Disease Society of America'' at www.hdsa.org.
Committed to Preventing Huntington's Disease
When friends ask me money for their causes I give what I can. If
you don't feel like giving, then my advice would be to say I
don't feel like it, maybe some other time.
It's that simple
Hope the BPN community can help w/this one.
We co-signed student loans for my now 26 year old SIL back in
2002 & 2003. Her mother couldn't really help her and we stepped
up. She is now married and has an excellent job tho is sometimes
late w/a payment (and the loan co calls us every time).
As part of our general financial housecleaning this year
(property trusts, paying down debt, etc)as we expect our second
child, we have asked her to take us off her loans as co-signers,
and thus far she has not, as she's been complaining that the
interest on consolidation loans are too high (from 5% to 12%
seems to be the range).
Do we have any recourse or are we dependent on her to get this done?
Thanks so much,
My mother co-signed a student loan for my daughter. We asked
about taking her off and it's very simple: we had to make on-
time loans for one year and then you can apply to remove the co-
signer. The terms of the loan don't change, it's still the dept.
Since you are a co-signer, you have a right to see the loan, I
would suggest that YOU find out how to log in to look at the
loans you co-signed, find out exactly how to remove yourself as
a co-signer and if, in fact, the one year rule still applies,
then monitor it and then just DO IT.
You can do all of this online and you'll know for sure what the
real story is.
if you cosigned a loan, you are going to be unable to break
that contract. it is a legal document and that's pretty much
that. however, i consolidated my loans 2 years ago through
sallymae and have a rate a little over 3%. the rates are
higher now, but i'd advise her to contact them. this is a
fixed rate on the majority of my student loans, with about a
third being revolving (a HEAL education loan). i have the
option of paying this one off first. i'd approach her less
from the standpoint that you want to be released of your legal
obligation and more that you are trying to help her- catch
flies with honey and all that. good luck!
Back in May, my *good* friend, a colleague of mine, who is a
single male, who works full time and makes 4K a month, asked me,
a part time worker and married mother of 3, for a small loan. He
stated he was in dire need of the money as he was getting
evicted from his apartment for ''lack of payment''. He also was
having problems with the IRS and the phone company for not
paying his bills. I hesitated for a sec (with my instincts
telling me no because I figured he will not repay me) but
reluctantly decided to go ahead and lend him the money because
he cried and seemed so desperate as he begged and begged. I
knew he was manipulating me but oh, well, I hated to see him so
upset. Well, it's now September and of course he hasn't paid
me. I am just figuring I should just ''eat it'' and chalk it up
as experience. I'm actually embarrassed for him that he hasn't
paid me as I'm the type of person who immediately pays my bills.
Unfortunatley, it's awkward now when we see each other at work
as the air is tense but I don't bring up the subject waiting to
see what he'll do. Anytime he sees me, he always brings it up
but doesn't pay up. Don't really know what to do...it's
Mark Twain once noted how sacred the bonds of friendship are --
until money comes up. Your friend has a problem with money and
he took advantage of you. Friends don't do that. At the same
time, you say that you didn't think he would pay you back, so
you apparently told yourself at that time that your friendship
was worth losing that amount of money. Did you establish a
time at which he should have paid you back? It doesn't sound
like it. I would approach him at a moment when you can be
alone and ask to talk to him. Tell him that your friendship
with him means a lot to you and that's why you need to have him
help you out by returning the money he borrowed. Give him a
time limit -- a short one, as it was a ''small loan.'' Make it
clear that it's really important to you that he make this
effort for you. If he doesn't -- make it clear you're no
longer friends. And don't lend money unless you really want to.
also a soft touch
You are generous to call this person a friend! I wouldn't ever
take advantage of a friend in that way. If I wasn't able to
pay you back immediately, I would explain in DETAIL why, and
give you an idea of when I thought I would have the cash. This
may be a losing battle, but I wouldn't just let him get away
with this. If it's already awkward talking with him at work,
then I would just get my courage up and straight out ask him
for the money back and give him a deadline when to pay me. If
he brings it up every time he sees you, then follow up his
comment with something like this: ''You know, Joe, it's been
six months. Xmas (or whatever) is coming soon. I would like
to have the money back in the next two weeks. What can I do to
help make that possible? Would you like a phone call at home? a
note?'' If he says he doesn't have the money now, then tell him
that you will accept installments. ''I understand that money is
tight. How about you just pay me 20 bucks (50 bucks/100 bucks)
every week/every pay day?'' If he says he can't, tell
him: ''well Joe, as a matter of good faith and friendship, it is
important that you take your debt to me seriously. what CAN
you afford to pay me each week?'' Even after all that, he may
never pay you back without being forced to. But at least you
have stood up for yourself. Did you and he sign anything when
you made the loan? Do you have a cancelled check or anything?
I would like a friend like you!
I think you've got a few choices. If he's really a good friend,
then you tell him, look, I'm uncomfortable with this debt. Let's
make a plan for how you'll pay it back. How about $20 a month (or
whatever seems reasonable?) If you can't do that, then you can
either write it off in your head, and tell him that you've
written it off, and therefore it's a gift, and truly think of it
that way, or write him off as a friend. It sounds like you're
going that way anyway, since you're not really ''awkward'' with a
true friend, and a real friend doesn't ''borrow'' money with no
apparent intention of paying it back. (Actually I don't have any
friends who would ask me for money...) You knew you shouldn't
have lent him the money in the first place, you were just hoping
you were wrong. You're an optimist, nothing wrong with that. But
I wouldn't loan anybody any more money unless you're a money tree.
You're right, he probably won't pay it back. Think I would
simply tell him it's ok that he borrowed the money (next time he
brings it up) and you know he'll pay it back when he's able, but
that you don't wish to talk about it until then. Then change the
subject and if he ever brings it up after that just smile and
talk about something else. He'll get the message.
Yes, I've been there. After not getting paid back, and feeling so
uncomfortable, I decided to heed my Grandpa's words, ''Don't loan
money, just gift it.'' So I told my coworker not to worry about
paying me back. It was still awkward for a long time. After a
decade, we are still coworkers, and I will never have the same level
of trust in this person, but we are amiable. Much later, I found out
that she ''borrowed'' money from many coworkers. One of them did set
up a payment plan with her, and she paid the money little by little.
hope I never have to go thru that again
I'll bet you are not the only one that your friend has borrowed
money from. I had a friend like this too, and I finally figured
out two things: everyone he knew was, to him, a potential source
for free money and 2) he was never going to pay it back. Nice
guy, but really irresponsible. Just be aware. So, I also have
siblings who borrow money, and who can also be irresponsible.
This has worked for me over the years: I tell them I will lend
them money when they need it, but they have to pay me back before I will lend
to them again. And then I stick to it. This has worked really,
really well. A couple of them need to borrow money pretty
often, and they know I'm there for them, but they have
to pay me back. They do pay me back, sometimes it takes a year
or two. One of my sisters is paying me a little bit every month
- she asked me to keep track, so I have a little Excel
spreadsheet and when she sends me a check, I add it and send her
a copy. It sounds a little unfamilial, but keeping things very
business-like has helped. You might try that with your friend.
Soft touch, with restrictions
To document the loan, just file a claim in Small Claims court.
You might not get your money back, but at least there will be
an official record of an amount due to you. And, you will have
a documented loss to write off on your taxes.
There's an old saying that if you want to see less of someone,
lend them money. It sounds as if there's something else going
on that your ''friend'' hasn't told you. Is he a compulsive
shopper or gambler? Has a credit-card company increased his
interest rate to usurius levels? Does he need credit
counseling? Is he trying to impress another woman with
I am conflicted about my friendship with my childhood best
friend. We have known each other for over 20 years which
accounts for 2/3 of my life! We were true best friends, did
everything together from elem thru high school. I moved away
for college and have just moved back to town. We'd see each
other at least around the holidays and talk every month or so.
Since moving back, there have been some ''transition'' issues,
mostly seeing each other more often and realizing how different
we are, but mostly non-issues that we both can handle.
More recently, however, she has become involved with a
financial company - World Financial Group (WFG), thru her
cousin (who I also know from childhood, not the most honest
fellow). After asking a few basic questions about the types of
life insurance he was hyping up to her (variable universal
life), I realized he was blowing smoke. I did a little
research and found out the company doesn't have the best
reputation, they use multi-level marketing to gain clients
(friend abuse i would say) and their associates basically get
kickbacks for the referrals (like Amway).
I shared all my research with her and she read it, but still
believed her cousin's pitch. I think she just saw dollar signs
and that because he was so ''knowledgable'' about financial
matters that he would share his ''secrets'' with her and her
friends and family. I sat w/ him for a half hour and he
backpeddled every time I asked a tough question, no secrets, he
was just a fast talking salesman.
Anyhow, I hoped it would pass, I pleaded with her to do more
outside resarch, but she has only become more involved. She
even has her mother in law in the ''group'' and she is actually
going to put real money into one of these lame life insurance
plans. She was just wasting her time, but her mother in law can
potentially lose lots of money. (my dad has sold life insurance
for over 25 years and explained how these work in detail)
I feel very upset by the situation. I have tried to ignore it
and have a rule (to myself) to not say anything about it
anymore, but she keeps bringing it up because it's such a part
of her life now. I have tried to recategorize her in my mind
as a sister, since you don't choose family but you do choose
friends, and it helps but i'm so annoyed (aside from the
ethcial problems i have w/ the situation). I don't have a lot
of friends in the area yet so I am also low on options there.
What do I do?
lonely and concerned
I can completely relate to your situation. My friend of 14 years has
been duped into thinking he can make tons of money on the foreign
currency exchange market. To humor him, I went to a hotel for the sales
pitch. (Gag) My friend was convinced as were 100+ other people they
were going to make millions in just a few days trading currencies. They
bought the story hook, line, sinker fishing pole and fishing boat and
washed it down with cool aid,
I was appalled, people plunked down $5,000 for software. It was hard to
stomach; people maxed out credit cards just to pay for the crapy
software. Think! 100 people spending $5,000... It's a huge amount of
money these people are making.
Now I'm no savvy investor, but when we I returned home I did a Google
search for the software/company and found web site after web site with
the words complete rip off - stay away - invents if only you want to
loose money. Several sites gave details on
how the company makes money and you don't. On the "how risky
is the foreign exchange market"? It's right around winning at Keno or
hitting the big jackpot on a slot machine.
I hate it, but I have lost my friendship with my friend over this. No
amount of evidence I produce for him will convince him otherwise. He
think's I'm a fool for not investing. As I'm sure you've learned, you
have a better chance at making money gambling then with the scheme you
friend is offering you. I'm sure you know you will lose ALL your money
with your friend's scheme.
Thanks for sharing your story with me, I needed a reality check.
My advice.... Is your friendship more important to you then money,
invest. If money is hard to come by, more important to you and your
family then lost a friend.
I think you would be happier giving the money to a charity then knowing
some SOB is partying with your money.
Avoiding the topic doesn't work with this friend. He believes and I
don't. I've tried to educate him and that's about all I can do. (You
can lead a horse to water....) It's frustrating.
What's tragic is he is working harder then ever before and not getting
ahead financially. As for the mother-in-law - If what you think what
these guys are doing is illegal, contact law enforcement. You could try
to educate the woman, but now you are butting in on family - You'll be
the "bad guy" In a few years they will say, "You know you were right, I
should have listed to you." Maybe then your friendship will bloom
My friend hasn't made millions. The software these clowns are hawking
is now on TV - Christian channels. They use lines like "You have to
believe you can become rich". And "You have to believe this system will
work for you". Oh my god Anon
It looks to me like your best move is this: the next time she brings it
up, look her in the eye and tell her, firmly, gently, & lovingly, that
you realize she's committed to this program, but that it is absolutely
not right for you, and you'd appreciate it if she'd agree to drop it &
not bring it up again. And make a concerted effort to find more friends.
I'm sorry your friend has fallen prey to a pyramid scheme.
However, the issue here is your friendship with her, not her choice to
be taken. There is no point in you spending any more time or energy
trying to change her mind as she's made up hers.
However, you can gently tell her you've made up yours and you're not
interested in joining her venture. If the two of you can continue on as
friends, then by all means do so, just be sure not to bring up the issue
anymore. If, however, she refuses to drop it, then it may be time to
cool the friendship. Also, regardless of the outcome, do look for new
friends. That way you won't be dependent on her if you decide to break
it off Anon
Be careful. This could end a friendship, and has ended many before.
World Financial Group is most definitely a multi-level marketing
(MLM)scheme. They pretend to have a ''support'' network. They must,
because they mostly make money on new recruits.
Say no once firmly. If your friend persists, tell her that you need to
take a break from her if she will only talk about WFG.
Good luck with this. MLM's don't make friends. MLM make money for
those on the top Anon
I would be very clear with your friend that you are NOT interested and
want nothing to do with it. If she can't grant that wish, I would start
taking my distance.
An acquaintance of mine became involved with this group and tried to get
me involved. Some basic research revealed immediately that this was
something that I was not interested in. First of all, this person
wouldn't tell me much about it.
He just pushed for me to come to a meeting at his home. Then he kept
calling me. He even asked another friend to ask me to come. At that
point I called him and told him that I was just not interested. I also
have a problem with the semi-legal status of these types of businesses
and want nothing to do with them.
But about your friend; realize that people change. You did and she did
too. (Why do you think so many marriages fail? And these couples LIVED
together!) Being apart and having your own lives will change you. Though
your lives alligned when you were younger, they obviously don't any
longer. You already came up with a solution yourself. Find other
friends! Join a sports club of some sort or anything else that will put
you in contact with other people. Before you know it this will just be a
somewhat bad memory JOJ
I think you have two different problems here. 1) How to keep a
life-long friendship with someone who has turned out to have very
different values than yours and 2) What to do when people you love do
stupid things (and try to get you to do them too).
For problem #1: I really believe in ''make new friends but keep the
old''. It's probably selfishness on my part: those old friends are a
pretty big slice of my past, and my past is part of who I am, so I want
to keep connected to it if I can. For me it's like hanging on to old
photos and mementos. You don't look at them every day but it's a great
pleasure when you do. So I grew up in Alabama and some of my old friends
are way, way more conservative in *every* way than I am. When they come
to visit me, honestly they look like they came from another planet. And
you wouldn't believe some of the email they send me around election
time. But I either ignore it, or joke about it, and they do the same
with me and my liberal notions. We all know which topics not to bring
up, and where the shut-up-now line is. When we get together, not often
but we do, we have fun. There is nothing more relaxing and comforting
than spending time with someone you have known for a long time, who
knows about all the events in your life that got you to where you are
now. The more years I've accumulated, the more important this has
gotten. So I just hit the delete key when the Hate Hillary chain-mail
comes in, and look forward to the next get-together.
Now #2: a good 2/3 of my immediate family believe very fervently in
get-rich-quick schemes. None of them are rich and never will be, but
they are all very happy and optimistic, so that is why they keep making
the same mistakes over and over in the belief that one day they will
actually hit the jackpot. There are few multi-level marketing type
schemes that have not been proposed to me by a sister or a cousin or a
nephew. My mother regularly invites me to attend this ''free'' seminar
or take advantage of that ''free'' hotel offer. I learned a while back
that they do not listen to reason. Also, that they never, ever stop
It's part of their DNA. So why beat my head against the wall? I just say
''that sounds like fun but I have so much work to do I just can't make
it.'' Or, ''Gosh we just don't have the money'' or ''I just really need
to stick with the cosmetics and bath products I use now'' They are all
*always* surprised that I do not want to take advantage of all these
wonderful opportunities. They just want to help. So they keep coming
back with more. I try to view is as just another one of those
irritating things that you have to put up with when you are part of a
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