Everyone wants your money.
Businesses, family members.. and some of us get guilt-tripped into giving it because we are related by blood, to the detriment of our own financial situation.
In essence, we get dragged down because we are being too nice and not pragmatic about it.
If you have the money and the means – BE GENEROUS.
If you do not, then you can’t be generous – you’re giving money away that isn’t yours. It is the bank’s. It is your landlords’. It is your child’s food.
Fix your money situation first and be financially stable so you can help other people guilt-free and without any issues.
A lot of these situations below are related to parents and in-laws because that is what I hear 90% of the time.
SITUATION #1: Your parents want you to invite 500 people to your wedding
Look, we all love our parents.
Even if we say we don’t, at some deep down level, we do.
But if they are not able to pay for these extra 400 people they want who are probably mostly their friends who have invited them to their children’s’ weddings, or far flung distant relatives.. or worse, people you literally cannot stand but since you’re related by blood you have to grit your teeth, there comes a point where you have to put your foot down.
If they don’t put up the money, they can’t decide for your money.
She who has the money, is the one who decides.
This is why having your own money and making it is so crucial — IT IS SO YOU HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE.
What you could do as a compromise (as I have heard from other friends who have had this exact situation happen), is to give them 10 personal guests to invite as they wish.
Anyone else? Forget it. Time to make some hard decisions. Ultimately, your wedding is for you and the person you are wedding, and you should be allowed to choose who you have there to celebrate it or not.
SITUATION #2: Your in-laws are asking you for money
Parents are tricky aren’t they?
They’re trickier when they aren’t YOUR parents and are in fact, parents related by marriage.
When your in-laws start asking you for things like fancy vacations because they think you’re flush with cash and don’t have any obligations to pay for (LOL), and feel entitled TO YOUR MONEY, that’s when you have to start calling a “Time out”.
If they start texting you at the start of the month asking for their “monthly dole”, time to cut them off and teach them how to swim on their own money.
No one but you, has a right to your money.
It is out of fairness, thoughtfulness and generosity that you give money to your family, treat your friends, and do all of these things that money can wonderfully buy for us.
Every situation is personal and different, but my take on this whole thing is very simple — Your parents, you pay for it.
If my partner let’s say, wanted to pay for some extravagant item that isn’t a necessity that I don’t think his mother needs to live, I wouldn’t pony up a single penny.
Let’s pretend she wants a designer bag (she doesn’t ever, but let’s pretend), and he wants to buy it for her — I’d say: Sure, go ahead… WITH YOUR MONEY…. and I can say that because our money is separated.
I would and have happily paid for half of a washing machine for his mother. I did it as a gift because it was a modern necessity that would immensely improve her life.
If she had asked for a designer bag, it would have been 100% on him to buy it.
Side note: Separating money in relationships is not a red flag for me
I am even a fan of the prenup because it isn’t just for rich people, it is for anyone who wants to get on the same page about money. This article – I’m protecting my money – says it better than I ever could.
I’ve talked about this a ton of times, but my partner and I have separate accounts 100% and we pay the household bills 50/50. The rest is as we wish to do with it personally.
In fact, in other couples I have seen not a 50/50 split but 75/25 when one spouse makes more for the joint bills, and then the rest is for them to spend as they wish.
Having money that is separated achieves 3 key things for us:
1. Zero resentment, guilt or stress in our relationship
Want to buy your mother that expensive designer bag? GO FOR IT.
Want to pay for your parents’ retirement even though they’ve barely worked and have mooched off your insecurity and guilt for years? GO FOR IT.
2. Focusing in on your own money goals without feeling like you’re being dragged along or dragging someone along
Want to retire on rice and beans? GO FOR IT.
Want to work towards NOT retiring early and spending money a little more fluidly? GO FOR IT.
Don’t forget to bring your half to our budget.
3. Independence so that we are interdependent and CHOOSE to be together
Women especially, get caught up in the cycle of financial abuse — they stay with their husbands or partners because they cannot go anywhere else.
I have heard this so many times, seen it firsthand, do not and will not allow this to happen to me.
- Independent means making your own money and means
- Why women should be able to depend on themselves financially
- Nothing bothers me more than a financially ignorant woman
- ….and more posts here under Money > Women
I am financially independent.
See that Chanel double flap bag above? I bought it. He didn’t finance that. I bought it because I wanted it and we don’t need to agree on whether it is a practical or a useless purchase.
I can take care of myself without my partner. I can take care of my son 100% without my partner.
If the day ever comes, I am prepared and I will do it with zero stress about having been a stay-at-home partner, or not having earned enough, or whatever else comes with being dependent on someone for their money.
I make my own choices because I have my own money. I can CHOOSE not to support his endeavours if I don’t agree for whatever reason.
I am not a monster, but I am also not a pushover.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t love my partner. I am with him because I love him. In fact, it is without a doubt that this is true because I don’t need him for anything but his love and companionship.
I don’t need his money. I am not forced to be with him out of necessity.
I know people are on the fence about this — but we are married! It is a red flag to NOT combine finances to show how committed and in love we are to each other FOREVER UNTIL DEATH DO US PART!
This is great, and a very noble sentiment, but I am a little too cynical and pragmatic to assume that love conquers all (it doesn’t, and I’ve seen it firsthand).
Just read the posts above about women getting trapped into relationships without knowing what it means, and only seeing love as the end goal.
I don’t like fighting over something as silly as money because the fact of the matter is that for us, we can both make it and it is just MONEY.
As an example – my parents are in a marriage that is serviceable.
They love each other out of obligation, in the sense that it is comfortable to say so, but they don’t really. I can tell. My mother and father stay in this marriage because they are old school and can never imagine divorcing each other – better the Devil you know than the one you don’t, and all that.
As a result, are they happy in their marriage? No.
Were they once happy and in love at the start of their marriage for about 20 years? Yes.
Have they been happy in the past two decades? No.
Would they be better off divorced? Yes.
But I cannot and will not prod them to split up (even though my father is WAY MORE ON BOARD with divorce than my mother), and I respect their relationship and dynamics, I cannot help but think that if I were in that position, I’d be out in a heartbeat.
Why stay together with someone who antagonizes you and no longer makes you happy? Sure he only annoys you 75% of the time but that’s enough for me to pull the plug especially if he is making ZERO EFFORT to change.
So because their finances are fully combined, leaving for either of them is not an option or very expensive anyway.
SITUATION #3: Your in-laws want you to buy a home close to them in an expensive area you can’t afford
But they happen to live in an expensive area and all you can afford is 30-40 minutes away from them by car.
Unless they have the money to give to you for your downpayment in their neck of the woods, they best stay quiet and not start any drama.
You can afford what YOU CAN AFFORD not what someone says you can afford, or wants you to afford.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. Homes are expensive. If you can’t afford it — pony up the money then if you want to have any control in the decision-making process.
This is also partly how rich parents control their children — they pay for things and you’re beholden to them. I’ve seen it in my uncle who uses it to control his children.
If you don’t want to be at the beck and call of your parents – make your own damn money and decision then.
Or, if you have awesome parents (which I plan on being by the way), they give as much as they want to, with no strings attached and respect/accept your choices.
SITUATION #4: Your financial advisor is taking 3% on your portfolio
Ouch. And returning what exactly? After inflation of 3%, your investments better be making 7% to gain even 1% growth over time.
Don’t let other people decide what to do with your money.
Get educated. Become smart about saving your money, making it, and handling it on your own with full control.
If you just let other people decide for you, they’ll do what is in THEIR best interests, even if they are married or related to you.
As an example, I had a friend whose husband wanted to give a $2000 gift to his parents.
She wasn’t on board, but when she finally said – listen, I was willing to put down $100 for this Christmas gift, and that’s what I’ll give you, and you cover the rest as $1900, he balked.
Oh. Suddenly when the price tag was $1900 instead of $1000 (he assumed she’d pay half), he wasn’t as willing to pay?
What does this tell you? He saw your money as serving part of his interests in delighting his parents.
Now if you were cool with this because you’d also shell out another $2000 for YOUR parents that you were willing to delight them with a similar surprise — why not? It all evens out in the end to $2000 each, but this was not the case.
So imagine now, an external financial advisor!! They are IN IT FOR YOUR MONEY.
It is literally their job to take your money for the bank they work for, for their bonuses, and to return a service.
If they are not delivering that 3% value in their service to you, what you are expecting for a 3% management fee, it is time to learn about your money, DIY and educate yourself with the hundreds of money posts I have on this blog – scroll down to MONEY.
I am sure there are many other situations out there — but either people have to put up the money to decide what should be done, or shut up.