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Author: sprexumn Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308686  
Subject: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 6:12 AM
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Some of you may have read my previous post on my dilemna with gifting to my sister, who has amassed more than $100k in debt:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=23010600

After much consultation between my parents, and an attorney, we're considering the possibility of using some of the $17k in an ING savings account that I gifted to her for retirement or house downpayment to pay off her credit cards. After speaking with my mother and running the numbers, it's clear to me that my sister is just not going to be able to make real progress on her $15k credit card debt. She's making roughly $30k a year, and paying my parents $350 per month towards $100k that she owes them. The credit card companies are asking for combined minimum payments of $750 or so per month, which my sister just isn't able to come up with. Assuming the interest is 20%, that credit card debt is costing her about $250 per month in interest alone. If I were in her shoes I would buckle down and get it paid off, but I'm not, and frankly I know that she's just not capable of budgeting well enough to pay out over a thousand dollars a month in debt payments.

So it seems to be harm reduction time. The attorney spoke with her credit card companies and got them to agree to settling for a 70% cash payment. I'm considering giving my blessing for her to "borrow" from her ING retirement/downpayment account to pay those loans off in full to stop the interest clock ticking there. Then she would pay herself back into her retirement account in the distant future after paying my parents back.

The only reason I think this can be beneficial to her rather than harmful is that I am thinking this will kill what is left of her credit, to the point that she won't be able to get a credit card again and so won't be able to run up such debts again. That's what I would like feedback on from the board... will this really completely kill her credit, or will she still be able to get a credit card (or car loan or appliance loan or whatever)? Or are there enough bottom feeder credit companies out there that she'll just get steered into even more usorious loans?

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Author: dusty2004 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211502 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 7:21 AM
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sprexumn:

I can almost guarantee that within one year she will be knee deep in credit card debt. What I would suggest you do is have her check deposited into an account that only you control. Then, you pay all her bills and give her a specified amount to spend. She can not have any credit cards or debit cards. She uses cash only. All bills (current credit cards, gas, electric, etc) go to you. If she wants a new dress she has to ask. If not I would not give her the money. I have been down this road with a sister that is 18 years older than me. She was always in debt and could not pay it off.

If she does not want to do this then she is not ready to stop the credit run and will find a way.

Dusty

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Author: PineLevel Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211504 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 7:32 AM
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unfortunately there are businesses that give anyone credit,
and actually make their money on people defaulting or not being able to repay loans.
I've just finished weeks of work on something involving "payday loans" and they are awful.
another one is the side-street used car companies that extend credit on extremely-used cars, and plan on making the real money on the repo end.
Oh, and department stores with instant "get a store card today and save 10% on today's purchases" cards issued on the spot.
So, I guess I agree that, like most vices, credit is there if you want it.
Bless you for hanging in there with your sister.

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Author: impolite Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211506 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 7:50 AM
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I can almost guarantee that within one year she will be knee deep in credit card debt.

I concur. You really only have two choices: wash your hands of the deal, or take over. And taking over will be a crapshoot, as well.

As far as the ING account, my suggestion is that you hand it over, say "good luck", and then flee. No more handouts, no more listening to whining about money, and NO MORE allowing your sister and parents to drag you into this.

She won't get better until she has hit rock bottom and sees that it sucks. The longer you help her float, the worse things get. Cut bait.

impolite

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211507 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 8:15 AM
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So it seems to be harm reduction time.

MORE enabling???

When are you all going to let her grow up?

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Author: JBeauty Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211508 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 8:43 AM
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Did you read this post?

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=23040666

It is in my nature to help those I love. One of the hardest things for me to do is know when to step back and let my loved one handle things themselves.

JBeauty

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211517 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:01 AM
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After much consultation between my parents, and an attorney, we're considering - snipped - After speaking with my mother

I don't see any reference to your sister participating in this process in any way.

I had to be LEFT ALONE in order to stop drinking (and debting). I ask you to please LEAVE HER ALONE. It is demeaning and infantilizing for you and your family to "help" her. You are only alleviating your own anxiety.

She is tough and resilient, or by now she would be dead, homeless, or in jail. Let her find this out about herself; get out of her way.

BklynBorn

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Author: xtn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211519 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:18 AM
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One of the hardest things for me to do is know when to step back and let my loved one handle things themselves.

JBeauty


I am more than happy to help you make this hard determination. The answer is NOW!

xtn

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Author: bleplatt Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211520 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:20 AM
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you need to STOP!


STOP IT!

STOP
STOP
STOP
STOP


It doesn't matter what you do; she will do whatever she wants.


You need to love her enough to LET HER DEAL WITH HER OWN PROBLEMS.

LEAVE HER ALONE.

STOP

b

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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211522 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:33 AM
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Greetings, sprexumn, you are receiving some great advice here, and it's not about your sister. It's about you!

From all I've read, your sister has become your "project." It may not have been what you've intended, but there it is. You and your parents are acting as enablers and the real efforts ought to go into thinking about what is driving you all to do this. Yes, I know, it is supposed to be in the name of love - but that's what the entire enabling dynamic is cloaking: it's actually about control.

So now it is time for you to be asking YOURSELF the hard questions. Substitue "alcohol" for "money" here and then see just what you have all put yourselves up against. She has not yet decided to stop spending (drinking) and you are trying to find ways to save her from her addiction. If you were to attend an Al-Anon meeting, you might be startled to recognize the exact behaviors that those who love an alcoholic are at risk for engaging in. Your sister is a spendoholic and it is not actually loving to keep rescuing her - it is far more loving to let her feel the consequences of her choices and let her decide how to make new choices.

You have spent an inordinate amout of time and money on trying to fix her. Now it is time to OPEN YOUR EYES WIDE to where you have been going off-track. It's not about your sister; it's about YOU. What do you want to do to commence making your own life better and allow her to gain her own wisdom and control over her own life HER WAY?

xraymd

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211523 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:37 AM
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<<you need to STOP!


STOP IT!

STOP
STOP
STOP
STOP


It doesn't matter what you do; she will do whatever she wants.


You need to love her enough to LET HER DEAL WITH HER OWN PROBLEMS.

LEAVE HER ALONE.

STOP

b

>>


Yes. But perhaps it bears repeating:

STOP.


My aim would be to protect those retirement savings, if that is possible. Liquidating them to pay off creditors is just going to enable more spending.


Seattle Pioneer

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Author: ClimbingOut One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211524 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:39 AM
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70% settlement? You might as well put an ad in the NYTimes because all the sub prime marketing is heading her way. I agree with the others, one year at most before all those tempting offers come her way and she uses one. The only thing she seems to have learned is that if she is in trouble she can come to the family and they will take care of it.

This NEEDS to stop. I'm choosing to believe for the moment that your sister just does not understand finances, and not that she is an opportunist. If you are truly going to do this then she needs to learn how to fish. Make it part of the agreement with her that she will take a course in personal finances: budgeting, credit, savings. No credit, anywhere. Cash only. All the things that we have all had to learn the hard way, you are going to have to be her hard way.

If she balks, fine, bail her out if you want to make yourself feel better but don't complain or be shocked when she does it again (only 100% worse this time because hey, welcome to subprime) And don't bail her out again. You are not helping her do anything but drain you and your parents money and energy.

I'm all for familial love, but there comes a point when the only love you can give is tough.

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211526 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:47 AM
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After much consultation between my parents, and an attorney, we're considering the possibility of using some of the $17k in an ING savings account that I gifted to her for retirement or house downpayment to pay off her credit cards. After speaking with my mother and running the numbers, it's clear to me that my sister is just not going to be able to make real progress on her $15k credit card debt. She's making roughly $30k a year, and paying my parents $350 per month towards $100k that she owes them. The credit card companies are asking for combined minimum payments of $750 or so per month, which my sister just isn't able to come up with. Assuming the interest is 20%, that credit card debt is costing her about $250 per month in interest alone. If I were in her shoes I would buckle down and get it paid off, but I'm not, and frankly I know that she's just not capable of budgeting well enough to pay out over a thousand dollars a month in debt payments.

There's one teensy tinor minor little problem with this plan: It assumes your sister will act as you would act. You have plenty of evidence that this is a bad assumption.

True story: I found out about my wife's fourth or fifth (I lost count)credit card obtained behind my back when it was maxed out at $5500. Since paying off the first three or four (I lost count) hadn't seemed to teach her anything, I tried to require her to make regular payments out of her income. We had weekly budget meetings. She stayed on the wagon for about six months, then unilaterally reduced her contribution to household expense, and later unilaterally reduced her credit card payment.

Before the divorce was final, that card was well over the limit of $12,900. Yes, you read right. The credit limit more than doubled. Because I "helped" her to treat it responsibly, MBNA gradually increased her credit limit to more than double what it was the first time she got in trouble. The resulting interest and late fees gave her a $15K debt that didn't get retired until she received her property settlement. I neither know nor care whether she is in debt now; if I had to put money on that proposistion, I'd choose the "in debt" side of the bet.

The point I'd like to make is that my coercive action to make then-wife treat money responsibly only enabled her to dig a deeper hole.

You have less leverage over a sister, and your parents have less leverage over a daughter, than I had over a wife. You cannot force someone else to behave responsibly. Any financial help received before she finds her own motivation to behave responsibly will simply enable her to dig a deeper hole.

Back off. Stop trying to fix your sister's problems. The money you have already gifted to her is a total loss, and has done what damage it will. Stop doing more damage. Sit on your hands, and watch. Turn your back and close your eyes if watching is too painful.

If you really want your sister to get better, do nothing for her and convince your parents to also do nothing.

In the words of King Arthur from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

Patzer
hoping someone else finds whatever cliches I missed to help get this point across

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Author: buckmizer Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211527 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:50 AM
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Or are there enough bottom feeder credit companies out there that she'll just get steered into even more usorious loans?

From the movie "Raising Arizona":

"Does the pope wear a funny hat?"

Do you ever watch a car chase on "Cops"? Have you ever noticed how the perp always finds a way out no matter how badly the car gets damaged? That's your sister with credit.

You and your family are being played the way the perp plays the backyard off the alley that leads to a different road.

Her debt problems are not her main issues. Her problem is with character flaws and the debt is merely a symptom. Until she addresses the flaws any help you give her is enabling her. Even when you put rules on her, it's still negotiating. She has no room to negotiate.

Fred





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Author: DeltaOne81 Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211531 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:08 AM
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Her problem is with character flaws and the debt is merely a symptom. Until she addresses the flaws any help you give her is enabling her.

Excellent phrasing. Tough love, as this board is known for, but true.

I'll repeat it... STOP. She'll be even deeper in debt again before you blink.

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Author: calcgodjon One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211536 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:25 AM
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sprexumn - I'm sorry this situation hasn't resolved itself yet.

Many of my favorite Fools have already given sound advice, and I can only second it (or third, or...).

Certainly there is quite a bit of risk in paying off her current debt, and then leaving her to her own devices. Likely, with a credit score than is even further in ruin than before, she will receive only the worst credit offers. Given her apparent lack of understanding how credit works, this will only end up costing even more than the current debt (higher rates, yearly fees, etc).

So, I say if you are gung-ho about paying off the debt, she has to agree that you custodian her spending - every penny. If you are comfortable taking on this added stress, then perhaps this is the best solution for you. Keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or $117k worth in her case). She still needs to be taught how money works. If my musician wife can learn the concepts, anyone can - they just need to have the desire to.

However, if you aren't comfortable handling her every day finances, nor is she willing to hand them over, I'd say forget about helping her out any more. It's going to be extremely difficult to let go, and you may have a few sleepless nights, but at the end of the day it isn't, and can no longer be your problem. You've done all you can and then some already...

And for what it's worth, I was once in your sister's shoes. I got a loan from my parents to pay off debt, only to rack it up again. It took me until I had nobody to turn to but myself to realize just how dumb a game I was playing. Lucky for me I've never missed a payment, have good income and credit score, was able to change my focus and spending habits, and will be debt-free March 2007.

Best of luck,

Jon


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Author: Jeri5 One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211537 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:38 AM
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Oh my gosh! I have the same sister – only we are closer to the beginning (of the end). My parents have already bailed her out once ($30,000 that I know of – probably more) and I too was leaning toward the idea of “forcing” her to turn over paychecks, pay her bills, and give her a cash allowance.

After reading all of this – I am having a change of heart. I lost the father of my child, my 1st husband, my best friend and soul mate to alcohol addiction. So I did learn a lot of lessons the hard way (sometimes – in order to sleep at night – we have to learn the hard way). I just *never* looked at these situations in the same light! I doubt I have any control over my parents (at this time anyway) – but now that I see things *very* differently, I'm in a better position to discuss this with them.

Thank-you for sharing this with the board. I think it has helped me and perhaps, in time, my sister. My God – it is the same isn't it? On worries that their love one will end up dead. And one wants to protect against that at all cost. It is a *very* tough lesson…


Jeri

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Author: mew5280 Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211539 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:44 AM
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I SO agree with everyone who is telling you to STOP "helping." The key to the question "can't I help a family member" is YES, you can help by not doing what she needs to do for herself.

Unfortunately, I've been in a similar situation with my own sister. I don't know any of your details so I won't assume but let me say that I gave my sister every benefit of the doubt. My sister has some severe addiction type problems (spending, debt, men) but she is very smart and very strong and that combination is so lethal. She finds man after man to sob in their arms about her broken life, and money woes, then when she sucks them in, she spits them out, calls the police on them, paints them out to be the bottom of all humanity, etc. etc.

I helped her for years by listening and giving rational advice, but never did I tell her that she needed to buck up, I just listened, over and over. I found out that many many times she lied to me to get me to sympathize with her.

Finally, I told her what I thought she needed to do, in a loving but firm way. She went ballistic and we are no longer speaking, my choice and decision. This had already happened with every single other family member (another sister, a brother and our parents) so that she no longer has any relationship with any other family member.

We are praying for her as that is all that is left to do. It hurts us all so much but we just got to the point where we could not help in any way. I have never given her money but my father did a few times after she told him she couldn't pay her rent, car payment, whatever (she bought new clothes with the money). Her ex-husband pays her $3000/month in child support and she is in debt, cannot pay her children's "private school" tuition, can't keep a job...etc. As you can see, some complex issues.

So, I only tell you this because I believe you may have to make that tough choice of letting her learn to help herself but you will risk a rift in the relationship.

The hard part is how tough to be while still being caring and loving. That's the problem I had. I do love my sister but I hate what she is doing with her life. She lied and manipulated me so many times that she permanently ruined the relationship we had.

Good luck!! Sorry if this was a bit melodramatic, just trying to cite and example.

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211541 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:52 AM
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I can almost guarantee that within one year she will be knee deep in credit card debt.



I concur. You really only have two choices: wash your hands of the deal, or take over. And taking over will be a crapshoot, as well.

As far as the ING account, my suggestion is that you hand it over, say "good luck", and then flee. No more handouts, no more listening to whining about money, and NO MORE allowing your sister and parents to drag you into this.

She won't get better until she has hit rock bottom and sees that it sucks. The longer you help her float, the worse things get. Cut bait.


If your sister continues with the present spending level , then she will never be able to afford a house and she will simply not add any money for retirement. I would either keep this in a fund that she can never touch or you keep control over it. If you give this to her she will simply spend all the money.

Catleen


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Author: impolite Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211542 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:57 AM
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I would either keep this in a fund that she can never touch or you keep control over it. If you give this to her she will simply spend all the money.

I think that "keeping control" over it just keeps the sister thinking that help is on the way. The only way for this person to truly dig herself out and STAY out is to do it alone, without someone attempting to babysit her along the way.

I would say retract the gift; take it back and never LOOK back, but I don't think the OP would find that an acceptable solution.

The money has already been "given", at least as far as the OP is concerned. To truly help the sister, the OP must just let it all go, tell her good luck, and move on. I wouldn't even talk to her about money...if she calls and starts to moan, say "That sucks. I have to go, have a good week." *click*

impolite



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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211543 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:59 AM
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I agree with all the other posters, stop trying to help your adult sister.

Just stop.

Catleen

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211545 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 12:14 PM
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Okay. At what point do WE (the board) become enablers of the OP's own drama and cogitation? This thread along is already 22 posts long. Add in the previous threads and I think we can all say 'nuff said.

Good luck, sprexumn. You have plenty of great advice, feedback, and support here. You can go back over it whenever you need to review something, as I've done many times.

And please continue to post updates. This is not about you, it's now about US: perhaps WE need to move on in order to help YOU move on... just as YOU need to move on in order to help your sister move on. Modeling is very important here. Just as you might take on your sister's drama and anxiety (relieving the pressure on her), we might do the same for you.

Just saying "might", of course.

Just my humble but correct opinion, of course. None of my business if the thread goes on to 122 posts. I did notice that the OP hasn't posted since the first post in this thread.

BklynBorn
...not the board cop...

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Author: OtherVoices Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211546 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 12:17 PM
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If I were in her shoes I would buckle down and get it paid off, but I'm not, and frankly I know that she's just not capable of budgeting well enough to pay out over a thousand dollars a month in debt payments.


Don't bail her out. Don't make it easy for her. It's time you give her tough love. She needs to dig herself out of this hole that she's put herself in.

Don't make financial decisions for her, it teaches her nothing. If you want to be a loving sister, you've got to let her do this herself. It doesn't seem like your blessing is going to do her any good. If she really wants that money, she can get to it, blessing or not. You can't stop her.

Buy her a subscription to The Fool. Offer to help her set up a budget, but do not take control. Give her the tools she needs and let her get the results (good or bad) on her own. If you try to manage this for her, she's just going to be right back in the same hole a year from now.


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Author: JBeauty Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211548 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 12:54 PM
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BB -

Some times a poster needs to get a huge response, to hear the same thing many ways, to have it really sink in. True for me.

xtn -

With my financially challenged friend, we have dinner together, email, have marathon phone calls occassionally for the really big news in life that MUST be shared with someone you love, but I haven't meddled in his finances since February when he asked me and we sat down together and got him out of his frozen-in-fear state. I come to the Fool whenever I am tempted to "help" and everyone here gives me a dose of "don't!" and I get my feet firmly planted again.

I think the best thing I gave him was hope, when he was bottomed out. He found a method for assuring his essentials get paid for. He arranged for a used car purchase with a payment he could afford. He managed to get caught up on his back rent so he wasn't evicted.

Is he a shining example of fiscal responsibility now? No. But slowly he is finding his own way. Maybe that is all any of us can do.

Thanks for reminding me, xtn. Keep reminding me if I ever appear to be slipping.

JBeauty

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211550 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 12:56 PM
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So, I say if you are gung-ho about paying off the debt, she has to agree that you custodian her spending - every penny. If you are comfortable taking on this added stress, then perhaps this is the best solution for you.

No, no, no!

You know what will happen - sprexumn will manage her money so well that her credit score will start to go up again. He will NOT be able to prevent her opening more credit cards behind his back, and she will get the offers with a good or even middling score. She does not legally have to get his permission to open any cards even if he is managing her money.

So she'll phone up, get a couple shiny new CCs, and max them out.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

I think they all need to back off and leave her alone and let her grow up, like I said before. I also think that if they do anything for her now, she'll end up in a worse mess and THAT will be on their heads. So I think it is better to leave her to clean up a medium mess than enable her to make a huge, stinking fish-pile mess.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211554 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 2:11 PM
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I understand from your previous posts that your parents are feeling very guilty and can not break off from "helping" her.

Since the credit card companies are agreeing to 70%, I am assuming that all of the accounts will be closed. Rebuilding credit will require effort on her part and, therefore, probably won't happen for awhile.

Unlike the rest I agree that you could allow her to pay off her credit cards. Let her use funds from the ING account to pay off the credit cards and pay the rest to your parents then walk away. "Borrowing" has no meaning to her and only keeps you tied to her financially/emotionally.

She will no longer have the cushion of this account to keep her safe. She has no immediate access to credit. Hopefully, you can convince your parents to not extend any more credit to her.

Most of us have similar relative(s) and do understand your frustration and concern.

Debra

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Author: sprexumn Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211555 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 2:24 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I have been reconsidering my role in this based on the clear consensus here to back out.

The part that is really hitting home is that I've got to either completely get out of her affairs or take over completely. And I'm not going to take over completely, so that really only leaves the option of backing out.

In some sense, backing out is why I'm considering allowing her to use her retirement funds from me to pay off CCs. That puts an end to my ongoing drama of worrying whether her retirement funds will get spent frivolously and coming up with schemes to prevent that. At least I know where the money is going and I generally agree with the principle of paying off high interest debt with money that's earning low interest. And then I am out.

My parents on the other hand really can't get out.

I'm never going to be able to prevent her from getting credit cards, but I do have one idea: I noticed that when I put my name on the DMA no-junk-mail list I stopped receiving credit card offers completely in the mail. Maybe that would be a good thing for her.

In her defense, she has been quite reliable in paying my parents back $350 every month for about a year and a half now, apparently only missing one payment. She does seem to be trying to make a turn in her financial life, but I recognize that it's impossible to turn 180 degrees over night.





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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211556 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 2:44 PM
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In some sense, backing out is why I'm considering allowing her to use her retirement funds from me to pay off CCs. That puts an end to my ongoing drama of worrying whether her retirement funds will get spent frivolously and coming up with schemes to prevent that. At least I know where the money is going and I generally agree with the principle of paying off high interest debt with money that's earning low interest. And then I am out.

If this is what you need to do to make the emotional break, do it.

While I was on my walk at lunch, I thought of a way to use $20 to really help your sister: Put a $20 bill in a fireproof container. Burn it. Use the ashes to make a dollar sign ("$") on your forehead. Whenever anyone asks why you have a dirty forehead, tell them this:

"Today is Ash Tuesday [or Monday, etc.]. The smudge is a dollar sign drawn using the ashes of burnt currency. This represents my past sins of giving money to someone who has been harmed by the gift. The sign reminds me of my penitence for my sins, for I am weak. It reminds me that burning money does less harm than giving money to a spendthrift."

I don't expect you to actually do this, but it might be good to think about it when you are tempted to "help" your sister. You would do as much good, and possibly less harm, simply burning a stack of currency.

My parents on the other hand really can't get out.

They can, but they may not be ready to emotionally. In any case, you have no control over whether your parents get out. The best you can do is explain to them why you're getting out, and stand firm on a decision to stay out.

I'm never going to be able to prevent her from getting credit cards, but I do have one idea: I noticed that when I put my name on the DMA no-junk-mail list I stopped receiving credit card offers completely in the mail. Maybe that would be a good thing for her.

Like all other good things, it will only work if it's her idea. I got then-wife to sign two (2) letters to the credit rating agencies to remove her name (with and without middle intial) from getting pre-approved credit offers. This did not stop her from getting credit cards when she felt like it.

Your sister has a problem. You didn't cause it. You can't cure it. You can't control it. The best you can do is refrain from enabling her to make it worse.

Patzer

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211557 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 2:46 PM
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My parents on the other hand really can't get out.

Then save your money for the day when your parents turn up on your doorstep bankrupt and homeless due to her leeching, and too old to work any more.

And don't finance your sister when that day comes, either! Not even if your parents ask. Oh, and make sure your help to you indigent parents is in the form of e.g. bags of groceries rather than cash that your sister can wring out of them somehow.

In her defense, she has been quite reliable in paying my parents back $350 every month for about a year and a half now, apparently only missing one payment.


Yes, I think she knows that as yet, your parents have more money that she can use, so it is in her interests to pay the monthly tab to keep open her access to the rest in the form of larger, future loans.

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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211562 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 4:57 PM
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You CANNOT save your sister from herself.

You can't make her change.

Giving her money or helping her pay off debt is not going to help at all.

You need to let go of her, of your need to help her, to rescue her, to control her, all those things. It hurts, but everyone has to work out their own damnation. Everyone is responsible for themselves, and no one else can change that.

You cannot save her.

You cannot change her.

You cannot control her.

As bleplatt said, and SP reiterated, you just have to stop it. Get out of that situation. You cannot help it, and can only hurt her. Leaving her alone is the best thing you can do for her. It's the only thing you can do for her. Encourage your parents to do the same, and to not give her any more money. Ever. She already owes them $100,000, and is paying it back at least a little, but honestly, just leave her alone, and your parents have to, too. Let her fall. It is in her hands, it's her choice, and you cannot stop it.

Let her go. Let her be a grown up. It is the only thing you can do to help. It is the only thing you can do to help. It is the only thing.


--Booa

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211565 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 6:22 PM
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So it seems to be harm reduction time. The attorney spoke with her credit card companies and got them to agree to settling for a 70% cash payment. I'm considering giving my blessing for her to "borrow" from her ING retirement/downpayment account to pay those loans off in full to stop the interest clock ticking there. Then she would pay herself back into her retirement account in the distant future after paying my parents back.


Who is currently the legal owner of that ING account?

If it's you - tell your sister "No".

If it's her - tell her "it's legally yours, do whatever you want". (If it's a tax-sheltered account, point out to her the tax consequences of dipping into it - but make it clear that it's still her choice.)

Then get the book "The Millionaire Next Door" (not the romance novel, the other one) and read chapter 5. And have your parents and sister read it.

And then walk away. And never again offer any financial assistance to your sister for any reason. Nor sympathize with her about how horrible her debts - or creditors - are.

If someday she says to you "I've really scrimped and saved, and made all my payments on time for six months and reduced my debt by $X000, but I really miss the splurges - can you do something to help?" then congratulate her and take her out for a nice dinner.


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Author: SuesieG Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211569 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 6:51 PM
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Sprexumn:

I have read your original posts and I have some questions for you:

1. What is it exactly that you want out of this for yourself? You've posted about your parents and sister want, but what is it that you want?

2. So far, I have read that you and your parents are helping your sister, you are helping your sister and you are helping your parents. Who is helping you?

3. It also seems that there is a lot of guilt involved where your sister is concerned. Why is that?

4. As evidenced by the responses on the board here, it's pretty safe to say that many people wouldn't stand for your sister's irresponsible behaviour. Why do you?

One last thing for you to think about in all of this, one of my good friends recounted some fatherly advice he was given when he was a lad. After a fairly ruckous event, his dad called him aside and said: "Son, I'll tell you now, should you ever get in trouble, the first time, I'll bail you out. If you're stupid enough to do it again, you're on your own."

SG.







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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211570 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 7:18 PM
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I understand from your previous posts that your parents are feeling very guilty and can not break off from "helping" her.

Since the credit card companies are agreeing to 70%, I am assuming that all of the accounts will be closed. Rebuilding credit will require effort on her part and, therefore, probably won't happen for awhile.


Sister needs to know that forgiven debt - that would be 30% of her outstanding balance if this goes through - is taxable income.

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Author: sprexumn Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211576 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 9:04 PM
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Well, it looks like I am going to take y'alls advice and not intercede here. The input I got on this board helped reinforce my natural inclinations. According to my mom, my sister doesn't even remember the ING savings account with $17k in her name, even though I gave her all the account details in writing a year ago, it looks like it's flitted off her radar screen, and all she remembers is the Roth IRA (currently $3k) which she thinks cannot be accessed except for certain edge cases. Given that my parents seem determined not to let my sister fall too hard, I don't think there's much danger of that account being seized by creditors for now. So the primary issue that brought me into this fray, protecting the account, seems to be moot.

I spoke with mom and stepfather and they are now talking about cosigning for loan consolidation for the credit cards. My sister's car is on it's last legs and if it breaks down that may cause the loan repayment to the parents to stop if she can't get to work (she lives in a rural area with a long commute). I just sent the following letter to them...


--------------------------------------------------------------------

Loans are a two way street. In order to get a mortgage, most people
have to agree to an impound account where expected taxes and such are
collected regularly and paid out of the account. The mortgage
companies know that by keeping people from getting thrown by
(relatively large) tax payments, they increase the likelihood that they
get their loans paid back and avoid default, even with very responsible
people. I've reactivated my mortgage impound account because it's just
easier for me to deal with the fixed monthly payment than play games
with the tax collector trying to make me miss my tax payments to collect late charges.

It seems to me that it's reasonable to expect the same level of care
from [sister], in exchange for the loans you have given and may give in
the future. If [sister] needs an impound account managed by you in order
to have her transportation needs met (car funding when car breaks) to
keep paying back her loan, then that should be a condition of her
getting a loan from you.

I am concerned that giving her financial benefits (like access to loan
principal) without the corresponding responsibilities and constraints
that normally accompany those benefits, unnecessarily gets [sister] used
to money being more free and available than it is in the real world.
And sets her up for failure to repay it. What [sister] needs more than
anything (more than loans) is to get used to living with real world
constraints.

Some suggested constraints:

- No credit cards until loans paid off, and name off the mailing lists.

- Impound account for basic needs that aren't being taken care of
otherwise, i.e. car. This could mean having her pay an extra $100
towards the mortgage while you save the $100 you would otherwise be
paying towards the mortgage in an account for her car.

- Payroll deductions wherever possible to automate the payback/impound.

- Eyes up on the radar for anything that could get in the way of paying
off the loan, and proactively attending to it before it knocks her out.

- Consultation, maybe required approval, before taking on any new
financial responsibilities or major expenditures.

I know some of these things are a bit parental and annoying for both
parties, but heck, you're her parents and they're probably what she
needs more than money from her parents.

Aside:
It also occurs to me that some recognition of how much interest she is
saving could be very useful, as that is easy to loose track of.
Perhaps every month when she writes a check she could write "$500 in
interest saved this month thanks to my parents" (or whatever the amount
is) in the comments section as a reminder. Or maybe she sends you a
thank you card every month :-)


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Author: TransUnity Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211577 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 9:19 PM
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Been there an done that.

I have bailed out my family members too many times to count.

I watched my father give my dead beat sister thousands of dollars over the years. I watched my father and mother give my dead beat brother thousands of dollars over the years. My parents and I both enabled my sister and brother.

Where did this get me? Well, I have much less now to put toward retirement and less savings than I would have.

I have a lot of resentment toward my parents for squandering money on my siblings, when they never gave a dime to me.

I don't give any family member help or money anymore. And as far as free advice? They ask for it, don't appreciate it, and probably resent the hell out of it.

My two cent?:

1. Get the money out of Ing, close the account, and invest in yourself.

2. Turn your back on your sister, the enabling parents, and the attorney. Consider changing your phone number.

3. Join a co-dependent self help group and deal with your issues.

4.

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Author: sprexumn Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211579 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 9:38 PM
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Susie, thanks for your questions.

I have read your original posts and I have some questions for you:

1. What is it exactly that you want out of this for yourself? You've posted about your parents and sister want, but what is it that you want?


The easy answer is I want what's best for them because I love them. Dig a little deeper and there's a fear that they will fall so hard that I'll feel inclined to save them at great cost, and I want to avoid that happenning.

2. So far, I have read that you and your parents are helping your sister, you are helping your sister and you are helping your parents. Who is helping you?

Financially my employer is helping me :-) I can say that with a smile on my face because the tech company where I work that hasn't given raises since the tech bubble burst just yesterday gave a raise. Emotionally my mother and sister are very generous with their energies and help me. They're both healer types and I benefit from that.

3. It also seems that there is a lot of guilt involved where your sister is concerned. Why is that?

One of my most closely held beliefs is "first, do no harm". I do feel some guilt at the possibility that my gift could be harmful to her. She clearly feels guilt at having gotten into her financial situation. Guilt is generally considered a counterproductive emotion, but sometimes it motivates people to take needed action and that can be good.

4. As evidenced by the responses on the board here, it's pretty safe to say that many people wouldn't stand for your sister's irresponsible behaviour. Why do you?

You haven't met my sister :-) Plenty of people stand by her irresponsible behavior :-)

I do kind of enjoy this interaction on these boards because it is refreshing to be seen as the bleeding heart when my mother and sister hold the bleeding heart thrones in my family, and I end up sitting in the "responsible and careful" chair.

One last thing for you to think about in all of this, one of my good friends recounted some fatherly advice he was given when he was a lad. After a fairly ruckous event, his dad called him aside and said: "Son, I'll tell you now, should you ever get in trouble, the first time, I'll bail you out. If you're stupid enough to do it again, you're on your own."

My mother is fond of recounting the story of how I fell off the top bars of the jungle gym and decided not to climb that high again. My sister kept climbing up and falling down over and over. There's something to be said for both approaches, and I welcome the way that my sister rounds out my life.


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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211580 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 10:46 PM
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My parents on the other hand really can't get out.

Greetings, sprexumn, indeed they can, just as you can and just as your SISTER can when she chooses to. The issue at hand is assumption examination. It's time to examine your assumptions of why you consider your sister a "free spirit" when you hear time and time again that she is more than likely being just plain IRRESPONSIBLE. Nothing is preventing her from learning about how money works and it does not take a fancy education - nothing, that is, but the continued bail-out from her brother and her parents.

WHY???

How loving is it to infantilize her?

And, now, let me ask you what you would be doing with your own energy directed towards your own life if you did not have to spend time on such intricacies of how to clean up her messes? Somehow your entire family has gotten suckered into the thought that your sister needs to be protected and coddled.

Again, why?

Let HER be the one to make her own decisions and even her own mistakes. Let HER be the one to seek information. Let HER be the one to set her own priorities. What in heaven's name has led all of you to forgetting that this is how someone becomes an adult? None of you are now helping her. You are only shielding her and when the blinders come off, you may find yourself wondering what you are colluding in doing TO her, not FOR her. You are going to be no more powerful to change what your parents decide to do with respect to her than you have been in affecting what she decides to do. If you wish to salvage a relationship with her, you'll need to realign your approach to her as one of respectful HANDS-OFF and realize that her missteps are her own but that you are available should she wish to ask you for suggestions which she may OR MAY NOT take.

xraymd



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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211581 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/27/2005 11:10 PM
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Yikes!

My eyes glazed over before I finished reading the first line!! [ see below ] Seems like you are now trying to bail out your parents from bailing out your sister, and/or bailing out your sister *through* your parents. Leave *them* alone, too, please.

Could it be that there is something in your own life that you are avoiding looking at? That is so often the case with me when I'm obsessed with "helping" other people. And, like you, I keep transferring that obsession from one place/thing/person to another -- until I actually look at MY issue/feeling/etc.

STOP means STOP. STOP means don't coast to a stop, don't gradually taper off, don't reduce by 10% each week over time, don't send directions to your parents, no suggestions, no asides, no secret codes, no playing telephone -- it means step off the train NOW, wherever it is. The train has plenty of momentum and YOU can't stop it. I know it's hard to imagine... but all these people (parents, sister) will continue their lives without you. We're talking cold turkey, withdrawal - dead stop. Suppose something happened to you, G-d forbid, or you eloped or suddenly disappeared into a witness protection program. What would happen? Well, that's what would happen now if you you just STOP. They will figure out some way to go on without you.

Please consider some professional help or other outside support to get you through this difficult time.

So much for detachment on my end... my heart goes out to you.

BklynBorn

Loans are a two way street. In order to get a mortgage, most people
have to agree to an impound account where expected taxes and such are
collected regularly and paid out of the account. The mortgage
companies know that by keeping people from getting thrown by
(relatively large) tax payments, they increase the likelihood that they
get their loans paid back and avoid default, even with very responsible
people. I've reactivated my mortgage impound account because it's just
easier for me to deal with the fixed monthly payment than play games
with the tax collector trying to make me miss my tax payments to collect late charges.

It seems to me that it's reasonable to expect the same level of care
from [sister], in exchange for the loans you have given and may give in
the future. If [sister] needs an impound account managed by you in order
to have her transportation needs met (car funding when car breaks) to
keep paying back her loan, then that should be a condition of her
getting a loan from you.

I am concerned that giving her financial benefits (like access to loan
principal) without the corresponding responsibilities and constraints
that normally accompany those benefits, unnecessarily gets [sister] used
to money being more free and available than it is in the real world.
And sets her up for failure to repay it. What [sister] needs more than
anything (more than loans) is to get used to living with real world
constraints.

Some suggested constraints:

- No credit cards until loans paid off, and name off the mailing lists.

- Impound account for basic needs that aren't being taken care of
otherwise, i.e. car. This could mean having her pay an extra $100
towards the mortgage while you save the $100 you would otherwise be
paying towards the mortgage in an account for her car.

- Payroll deductions wherever possible to automate the payback/impound.

- Eyes up on the radar for anything that could get in the way of paying
off the loan, and proactively attending to it before it knocks her out.

- Consultation, maybe required approval, before taking on any new
financial responsibilities or major expenditures.

I know some of these things are a bit parental and annoying for both
parties, but heck, you're her parents and they're probably what she
needs more than money from her parents.

Aside:
It also occurs to me that some recognition of how much interest she is
saving could be very useful, as that is easy to loose track of.
Perhaps every month when she writes a check she could write "$500 in
interest saved this month thanks to my parents" (or whatever the amount
is) in the comments section as a reminder. Or maybe she sends you a
thank you card every month :-)

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211584 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 12:18 AM
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I spoke with mom and stepfather and they are now talking about cosigning for loan consolidation for the credit cards.

Ah me - and I just today posted about her being careful to make those repayments to your folks so as to keep the parental money that she knows is there, available to her!

You're doing the right thing by stepping back. Honestly, I think you should focus on saving up as much as you can on your own account at this point. I know I sounded snarky before when I said your parents would end up on your doorstep. But I meant it - one day, when they're too old to work, she may well have bled them dry. Then you'll need to have the cash to be able to save them from indigence.

I mean, she's "borrowed" 100K from them already!! Unless you happen to be Bill Gates Junior, your family probably can't stand that sort of cash outflow time and again. And if you want to know why I put "borrowed" in quotes, well, I hope I am wrong, but I would bet that once she knows she has bled them dry, she will stop repayments. Nothing in it for her at that point.

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211585 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 12:23 AM
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Emotionally my mother and sister are very generous with their energies and help me. They're both healer types and I benefit from that.

Permit me the luxury of an eye-roll here. Your sister is NOT a healer type, not with all that negative anxiety she generates in her relatives!

It's nice that you love her anyway. Hopefully she'll find her way if you close the Bank of Sprexumn, and in 10 years time will be in a better position than now.

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211586 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 12:31 AM
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Suppose something happened to you, G-d forbid, or you eloped or suddenly disappeared into a witness protection program. What would happen?

My guess is, the parents would likely inherit Sprexumn's estate, as his next of kin. Then they'll spend it all on the sister's debt over the next few years, along with the rest of their own money.

Then they'll not have Sprexumn's doorstep to go to, when they are old, homeless and broke.

OK, nasty, I know. But you asked. :) And that is the most likely scenario unless Sprexumn has a will leaving his money elsewhere. Ot to a trust of some sort, that will only pay a monthly income to the parents once they hit 65. I hope he does!

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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211587 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 2:25 AM
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Greetings, BB, your post reminds me of a tenet of transactional analysis, when you said that when you find yourself obsessed with helping other people it is in substitution for looking at aspects of your own life you may have been avoiding.

When I was first trained as a volunteer counselor on a rape crisis phone line, we were instructed in the Karpman Triangle. It was a flabbergastingly eye-opening series of lessons in how people can enter into dangerous, futile and totally frustrating personal interactions, and was aimed at us would-be helpers for us to try to reveal our own motivations to ourselves towards what we hoped to "get" out of helping others. The Karpman Triangle describes 3 roles that people can rigidly fall into unconsciously when positioning themselves with respect to what they perceive they are receiving:

The Victim
The Rescuer
The Persecuter

The Victim is the one we all recognize right away: helpless, weak, needy.
The Persecuter is someone we say we will never behave like but actually become easily when the buttons are pushed: hostile, vengeful, dictatorial.
The Rescuer is the most outwardly "noble" of the roles because it is a delusion of offering help, but that help has strings attached: savior, generous, magnanimous BUT can only seem to be directed towards the weak aspects of the Victim.

So the Victim communicates a neediness or a weakness. The the Rescuer swoops in to try to shield the Victim from his or her own missteps - though the Victim has little intention of rising to the occasion and taking responsibility for that weakness. And the Rescuer, trying ever harder to be the savior of the now-ungrateful Victim, turns quickly into the Persecuter who becomes angry with the Victim for not capitulating, who then turns rapidly into the Rescuer trying to soothe the wounds of the Rescuer-turned-Persecuter who rapidly becomes the Victim while the original Victim-turned-Rescuer then becomes frustrated at the new Victim's attitude and thus becomes angry in turn, metamorphosing into the Persecuter and so on and so on and so on.

Totally unstable, rapidly shifting, totally futile unproductive interactions - and enough to give anyone a serious headache.

What breaks the Karpman Triangle cycle? Stepping out of it - a healthy detachment. I learned that once someone takes more than 50% of the responsibility for the outcome of a mutual interaction, then the Triangle begins to revolve. But if both parties to an interaction do not attempt to manipulate nor maneuver one another, NO MATTER HOW WELL INTENDED (see Rescuer), then the interaction does not turn into a series of endless spins around the Karpman cycle. Perhaps someone you are in an exchange with may say or do something you don't especially like or agree with but if you keep your cool and do not rise to take the bait, there is no way that you can be baited into reacting and each of you retains your DIGNITY and FREEDOM OF CHOICE. And there is thus no obsessing going on since there is no deflecting one's own life energies away from where they are really intended to go versus directly onto a futile attempt to "mold" someone else.

I have to say that all I learned of the Karpman Triangle, back in 1983, AND HOW TO GET OFF OF IT, has probably been the single best life lesson I ever received. It keeps my interactions with those I love very respectful and "clean" since I am not out to try to control or change anybody. And if I wish to influence someone I love, I will declare my intentions and not resort to the subterfuge of adopting any of the Victim, Persecuter or Rescuer roles. I grant that the object of my hoped-for influence may not choose to take the actions I would take, and that is the cost of granting respect. But I do not live bound up by, nor reacting to, what somebody else may decide to do, since I do not wish to participate in the merry-go-round of the Karpman Triangle whose interactions are ultimately painful, futile and ANYTHING but merry.

xraymd

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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211588 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 2:46 AM
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OCD: Persecutor

Grr. I HATE it when I misspell a word so that's what I get for not
ANAL: double-checking it first
if I wasn't totally sure

:-)

xraymd

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Author: JustSilly Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211590 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 6:43 AM
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Sprexumn -

Hi! I've been following along with your posts and I'm going to join the chorus of folks on this board.

The easy answer is I want what's best for them because I love them. Dig a little deeper and there's a fear that they will fall so hard that I'll feel inclined to save them at great cost, and I want to avoid that happenning.

If you truely love your sister and yourself, stop meddling. Stop giving advice. Stop trying to fix her life.

Spend some time accepting that your sister may fall into the abyss and all you will be able to do is watch.

My mother has had a financial "protector" all of her life - until her divorce. She ended up at rock bottom - no money in checking account, credit card debt, and mental health problems at age 65. My sister and I did not step in. She ended up commiting herself to mental institution.

Since then, she has: taken her medicine, gotten a job, and is working her way out of debt. She is far stabler and happier today.

It was difficult, but in order to love my Mother I had to let her go. Give you sister the chance to prove herself.

Financially my employer is helping me :-) I can say that with a smile on my face because the tech company where I work that hasn't given raises since the tech bubble burst just yesterday gave a raise. Emotionally my mother and sister are very generous with their energies and help me. They're both healer types and I benefit from that.

Your employer is not "helping you". You work, they give you money. If you decided not show up tomorrow, would they still be "helping you?".

One of my most closely held beliefs is "first, do no harm". I do feel some guilt at the possibility that my gift could be harmful to her. She clearly feels guilt at having gotten into her financial situation. Guilt is generally considered a counterproductive emotion, but sometimes it motivates people to take needed action and that can be good.

I'm one of those who has no use for guilt. *grin* But since you're in the other camp, I'd say offhand that you're not feeling guilty enough.

The gifts of money to your sister are doing her material damage. You are making her weaker, not stronger. Take your own guilt and forge some action - have the courage to stop helping her.

It's great that she's feeling guilty, but it needs to translate into action. Her actions have not been forthcoming.

My mother is fond of recounting the story of how I fell off the top bars of the jungle gym and decided not to climb that high again. My sister kept climbing up and falling down over and over. There's something to be said for both approaches, and I welcome the way that my sister rounds out my life.

I suppose - *sigh*. Look, you love your sister. And she has a different approach to life. You're seeing your sister's actions as a sort of "dust off my rump and get back on the horse" approach to life.

There's a fine line between that and not learning from your mistakes. You clearly have learned the limits of the jungle gym of life. It's not clear that your sister has. Stop rushing her off to the hospital and kissing the boo-boos everytime she falls. Do the difficult thing - let her cry it out. She (and you) will be better in the end.

JustSilly

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Author: JustSilly Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211591 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 7:19 AM
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Dooh! Darn submit button.

I meant to change my response to your response about your employer "helping you". I realized that you weren't serious about it. *grin*

Also, good luck with whatever you decide to do.

JustSilly

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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211595 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 9:28 AM
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I meant to change my response to your response about your employer "helping you". I realized that you weren't serious about it. *grin*

Greetings, JustSilly, I am actually glad you did not change your response because I thought it was cogent. Working for money is an equal and even-handed exchange. Acting like a charity and giving (or getting) handouts is NOT such an exchange and the parallel was well-drawn by you. Are you old enough to remember Susan Powter from the 1980s? The spiky-white-haired diet maven whose famous tagline was : STOP THE INSANITY!!!

Well, here it could be similarly shouted STOP THE CHARITY!!! and the message would definitely apply.

xraymd



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Author: foolazis Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211624 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/28/2005 4:36 PM
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sprexumn,

If your parents are even considering some type of fund for your sister's long term needs - car, retirement, house, whatever - and don't want to give her control of the money so she can fritter it away, they may want to consider setting up a trust with them as trustees and sister as beneficiary. They could specify that she can not compell a distribution from the trust, so parents could make sure that the funds are used exactly in the way that they want, not her. You could be a successor trustee so that if anything happens to your parents, she could not fritter away the rest of the money.

Just a thought. Trusts are good for stipulating the terms by which money is distributed to people - especially people who would waste it.

foolazis

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Author: sprexumn Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211638 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 8:15 AM
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xraymd, thanks for your post on the Victim/Rescuer/Persecutor roles. It has bubbled into my consciousness several times and each time I have gone back and reread your post. The dynamic of the Rescuer turning into the role of Victim when meeting with a needy but unwilling Victim is something that I immediately recognized in my mother... she's been aware of the dynamic too and I remember even in my childhood when she would often talk about having to avoid falling into her martyr role. It is interesting that I haven't heard her awareness of that recently.

It took me some time but I eventually recognized it in myself as well :-) As a male I find that in my relationships with women (both family and otherwise) I sometimes adopt the Man from Mars "trying to fix" Rescuer role, and then find that things go sour when the Victim doesn't change and I get frustrated with them.

Having that dynamic put into words is helpful in understanding a sort of intuitive reluctance I have to meddle in such things. And especially having the dynamic of "Rescuer turns into Persecutor" put into words helps me stay away from doing any Rescuing that will make me angry if it doesn't work out the way I intend.

It's very clear that the easiest way of avoiding these cycles is to just not enter in the first place. But with loved ones it's unrealistic to pretend that we can completely divorce ourselves from influencing them. Every interaction we have with them influences them. I know there can be extreme cases where stopping all interaction is appropriate, but that's not the case with me and my family. The most we can hope for is to be skillful.

That word skillful is one of my favorite words when it comes to emotional matters. I learned it from Buddhism, where basically the main goal of Buddhism is to become skillful at life. It's a realization that there's no one way that's always right, but some choices are more wise than others. Making skillful choices comes from experience, education, seeing the big picture, and gaining clarity through meditation or other means. It's about making choices from a higher place rather than having your monkey mind choose your path. Understanding dynamics such as xraymd posted helps to catch the monkey mind from doing unskillful things.

I keep wanting to find simple rules that I can always apply, like "never try to influence anyone", or "don't try to be a parent to your sister". "Either control or let go completely". But in the real world it's never quite that simple. The serenity prayer says it best:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


I suppose all that is a longwinded way of saying that although I accept that I can't fix my sister, I still think it's loving to do some things to help (one might even say control) her. One of those things is that I think I'm going to ask her permission to make the ING account that is now in her name be in both of our names, so that we both have to approve any withdrawls.

I accept that this will put me back into the Rescuer drama of controlling her access to the account. There are two reasons I think that engagement is skillful: First, I think it's in her best interests to be prevented from frittering the account away. Second, if she were to fritter it away, I would feel Victimized. No need to go there.

The alternative, letting go of the account and control, is also a reasonable option, and I do tend to be better than average I think at letting go. But in this case I don't think it's the most skillful thing to do.

Thanks wise and skillful fools for your comments past and future.




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Author: Bweaver Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211639 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 8:48 AM
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Every interaction we have with them influences them.

sprexumn,

What a great post exploring the gray areas of the intersection of family, money, and behavior! "Every interaction we have with them influences them" struck me as undeniably true, and hardly limited to family.

To the extent we try to send messages through interaction, we can hardly control the interpretation of what's sent. We may intend to convey "I love you and will help you out this one last time to the extent I'm able" while demonstrating "I love you and will always do what I can to mitigate the results of your choices."

The sun came up today, as it always has. I'm counting on it tomorrow, too, even if someone warns me that's not in my best interest.

Good luck,

Bruce

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211640 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 9:00 AM
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Hi sprexumn,

Thank you so much for your honesty and candor. Your insights help me a lot.

I have another picture of the "main goal" of Buddhism. To me, it is to recognize and let go of attachments, in order to relieve the suffering of *everyone*.

I have wrangled with the serenity prayer for 25 years. I finally noticed that it's addressed to God. I don't have a direct pipeline to God, so I've learned to listen for the voice of God (whatever I think God is that day!) in the voices of others. I know I'm not listening when my answer is "yes but." YMMV.

I may have missed it, but I don't think anyone said "have nothing to do with your family." Rather, the suggestions amounted to: Back away *from this issue* with your family. Again, from experience it is possible to have strong relationships with my family while refusing to "go" certain places in those relationships. I can be detached in one "issue" and Rescuing over my head in others. After a while of this, the family gets that I'm not going there and they stop trying to drag me there. Now *that's* a skill I plan to work on for a lifetime!

I hope you see this in the spirit it is intended: with compassion from a fellow "grower and changer"- and to remind myself!

BklynBorn
...trying to remember Rule #62 of the Twelve Step programs: Don't take myself too durn seriously...

And I am off to ...scramble for income and bankruptcy!


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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211650 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 10:26 AM
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Greetings, sprexunm, I am glad to know that what I posted about the Karpman Triangle was helpful to you. One other important thing I learned during my medical training: when I was taught to run codes to get someone's heart restarted when it stopped was to "first, check your OWN pulse!" By that, it means if you are in a situation that is, in a sense, escalating into frenzy, be sure you know where you are at - physically, mentally and emotionally - before making any further, major moves.

If you find that taking any given action or making any particular approach towards your sister or your mother (or ...) starts to raise your hackles or make you anxious or raises your emotional temperature, then STOP! HALT! RECONSIDER! That's your internal signal you are about to enter the whirligig which is what you've already discovered is not a fruitful dual exchange.

The Serenity prayer you quoted truly does refer to your serenity. If you are able to retain serenity NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY ELSE AROUND YOU SAYS OR DOES, then you have let them take their own responsibility for what they do even if it is not what you would do. This is what disengagement or detachment is about, since you really cannot control or fix anyone apart from your own self.

So, I wish you serenity. In my own family, when my brother went through hard financial times (and ended up declaring bankruptcy), there was plenty of worry and heartache all around but we did ultimately recognize that he could not be rescued and had to learn to make his own way back into sounder financial management. Ten years later, he has more than done so (yay, him!) and it deepened all of our joint and mutual respect for one another that he did so not with any kind of a bail out but with empathy and constructive suggestions offered when he requested them. Sure, it hurt like hell to watch him in difficulty, but he developed the resources to better things for himself in his own way and on the far side, he is the stronger for it. Everyone in the family sleeps better at night this way. You'll come to realize what it will take for you to similarly sleep better at night - and you are much more likely to achieve the result of forging an adult relationship with your sister when you accept that she is going to have to write her own life story, complete with mistakes and emerging triumphs, all her own.

xraymd

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Author: cjhuitt Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211653 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 11:13 AM
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sprexumn wrote:

One of those things is that I think I'm going to ask her permission to make the ING account that is now in her name be in both of our names, so that we both have to approve any withdrawls.

Other people have addressed other aspects of your post with encouragement, but I wanted to catch this part in particular. Unless I'm mistaken, putting both of your names on the ING account merely means that either one of you can withdraw money, not that both of you need to approve any withdrawals.

Indeed, if it is through ING Direct as a joint account, I know for sure this is the case, as I regularly manage the deposits and withdrawals for the accounts my wife and I jointly hold.

Caleb

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211657 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 11:34 AM
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First, I think it's in her best interests to be prevented from frittering the account away.

More enabling, more control of your sister, more infantilizing her. You are hell-bent on setting her up for an even worse fall in the future, by refusing to let her fall now, aren't you?

Second, if she were to fritter it away, I would feel Victimized. No need to go there.

Are you really going to go ahead and set your sister up for a harder fall just to save yourself from feeling bad?


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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211658 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 11:37 AM
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Greetings, Aranknitter, I would have to agree - there is always the option to take back his own money if he could not stand to see it be wasted.

xraymd

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211660 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 12:34 PM
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Greetings, Aranknitter, I would have to agree - there is always the option to take back his own money if he could not stand to see it be wasted.

xraymd

And I agree also.

Catleen


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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211669 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 1:47 PM
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sprexumn wrote:

One of those things is that I think I'm going to ask her permission to make the ING account that is now in her name be in both of our names, so that we both have to approve any withdrawls.

----------------------------------------------------------

Other people have addressed other aspects of your post with encouragement, but I wanted to catch this part in particular. Unless I'm mistaken, putting both of your names on the ING account merely means that either one of you can withdraw money, not that both of you need to approve any withdrawals.

Indeed, if it is through ING Direct as a joint account, I know for sure this is the case, as I regularly manage the deposits and withdrawals for the accounts my wife and I jointly hold.

Caleb


Very good point. Of course, it does open the door towards sprexumn being able to take the money out of the account, and put it somewhere she can't get to it...(which is prolly what I would evilly do...).

Of course, that smacks of getting involved. :-( Still, it's the option that instantly lept to my mind when I read Caleb's post...get the money out, pay it to your parent's second mortgage or something, preferably with no one the wiser, other than sprexumn...


--Booa (bad at disengaging, obviously)

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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211670 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 1:51 PM
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Greetings, Aranknitter, I would have to agree - there is always the option to take back his own money if he could not stand to see it be wasted.

xraymd

And I agree also.

Catleen


Ah, well now I feel better about suggesting he take the money back. :-)


--Booa

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211673 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 1:56 PM
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Ah, well now I feel better about suggesting he take the money back. :-)

I have a flinty heart, we all know that. :)

Peel away the flint - and get pure ice.



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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211675 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 2:06 PM
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Ah, well now I feel better about suggesting he take the money back. :-)

I have a flinty heart, we all know that. :)

Peel away the flint - and get pure ice.


LOL! You reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite books. "How do you like your coffee?" "Black. Like my heart." :-) Later on, the same character answers the same question with "Lukewarm, like my heart." Too funny.

I was happy to be in such august company as xraymd, Catleen, and Aranknitter. :-)


--Booa

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211682 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 2:42 PM
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Hi all,

AAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Everybody in the family leave everybody else's money alone! My head is about to explode!


Sincerely,

BklynBorn

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Author: Smurfette823 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211684 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 2:59 PM
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AAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Everybody in the family leave everybody else's money alone! My head is about to explode!

BB,

I appreciate your sentiment, however it seems to me that you're trying to control those who want to meddle in their family's finances. Just like they can't control their sisters (or whomever), we cannot control them.

It's not worth letting your head explode over.

Live and let live darlin!

You know this,
Smurfette

PS - The ignore thread button is rather helpful when you being sucked into the void of TMF codependency. ;-)

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211688 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/29/2005 4:34 PM
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Ah, well now I feel better about suggesting he take the money back. :-)

I have a flinty heart, we all know that. :)

Peel away the flint - and get pure ice.

LOL! You reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite books. "How do you like your coffee?" "Black. Like my heart." :-) Later on, the same character answers the same question with "Lukewarm, like my heart." Too funny.

I was happy to be in such august company as xraymd, Catleen, and Aranknitter. :-)


--Booa


I would snatch that money away so fast it would make your head spin. Especially if the sister has forgotten all about it.

Where money is concerned I can be kinda hard...

Catleen


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Author: sprexumn Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211758 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 3:47 PM
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Mom's now talking about borrowing from her retirement account to pay off Sister's credit cards. I must admit that has me a bit miffed... it seems like a recipe for disaster. I am working to divest myself of the situation, but I still think it's reasonable to give my mom and sis advice about this, along the lines of the letter I posted earlier saying "If you give her a loan, she should be required to do certain things in exchange". After all, no matter how much I try to stay out, I am involved in that if it blows up they are very likely to seek out my assistance in repairs.

For the ING account with 17k, my plan is to put 4k into her Roth IRA for this year, transfer 11k into a new ING account in my name only (the max that can be done w/o the possibility of gift tax being a problem), and leave 2k in the account for next year's roth IRA contribution. Actually I may be able to transfer the 2k out as well now, since that could be considered a reversal of the 9k gift I gave to the account this year, actually lowering my net gift for IRS purposes.

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Author: mlk58 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211759 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 4:04 PM
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Dude, you are so over-thinking this!

The way you stay out of it is to stay out of it. Period. Don't discuss it, don't give advice, don't give anybody any money. Get on with your life and let them get on with theirs. Just say "no" to further involvement.

As for the $17K in the ING account, you've been an account-holder all along, right? Dude -- it's your money. It's always been your money. No gift tax consequences that I can think of. (But if you don't believe me, ask the Fools at the Tax Strategies board: http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=22823851&bid=100155 ) Take the $17,000 out of the joint account and put it where it will do some good -- like in your own retirement fund!

And have you read "The Millionaire Next Door?" Get hold of a copy and take a look at the chapter called "Economic Outpatient Care," which convincely explains why doing what you're doing harms, rather than helps, the recipient.

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Author: impolite Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211762 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 4:14 PM
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After all, no matter how much I try to stay out, I am involved in that if it blows up they are very likely to seek out my assistance in repairs.

I think, perhaps, what you are missing is that they are more than welcome to seek your assistance. However, you DO NOT have to give it. In fact, I would recommend that you don't. Strongly recommend that you don't.

Why? Because, as of right now, your sister is ruining her finances, and starting to drag your parents down with her. If at some point both parties blow of financially, why in the world would you then join the fray and let them start in on yours when they have proven they can't handle their own?

impolite

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Author: Smurfette823 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211763 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 4:15 PM
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After all, no matter how much I try to stay out, I am involved in that if it blows up they are very likely to seek out my assistance in repairs.

What's the first thing you're supposed to do when you find yourself in a hole??

Stop Digging.

If you don't stop digging, you're only setting yourself up for craziness later. You're going to go from worrying about your sister to worrying about your Mom! Doing the same thing over again expecting different results is the defenition of insanity. If it has to do with someone besides yourself, you don't really have control over it. Period. So stop thinking about them. That probably sounds selfish to you. So be it. Be selfish. "Mom, I love you, but I'm staying out of this." *click* "Sis, I love you, but I'm staying out of this." *click* Do you get it?

You can endlessly go in circles posting updates about minor changes in the situation. And we could endlessly go in circles telling you to let it go, detatch, move on, stop the insanity, or whatever new catchy phrase we pull out of the sky (or from a Melody Beattie book). Speaking of which, have you read her books? Cuz you need to. Seriously. Get it here: http://tinyurl.com/dry9s

There is a difference between compassionately caring and compulsively helping. We're talking about loving detatchment. It's not easy but it can be done.

Another thought I had... the letter to your parents, while well thought out, was entirely too long. Simple statments work best, especially when communicating with family. Can you tell your Mom in one sentence that sacrificing her retirement savings for your sister's debt is a bad idea, and if she chooses to do it, she's on her own?

One sentence.

"Bad idea, Mom."

Smurfette

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211765 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 4:42 PM
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Mom's now talking about borrowing from her retirement account to pay off Sister's credit cards. I must admit that has me a bit miffed... it seems like a recipe for disaster. I am working to divest myself of the situation, but I still think it's reasonable to give my mom and sis advice about this, along the lines of the letter I posted earlier saying "If you give her a loan, she should be required to do certain things in exchange". After all, no matter how much I try to stay out, I am involved in that if it blows up they are very likely to seek out my assistance in repairs.

If you feel you must give advice to your Mom, I'd favor advice like this: "Mom, you shouldn't give her one red cent. She's already into you for $100K, with nothing to show for it. You aren't going to get that money back, it's just going down a rathole. Sis won't even benefit from it, she'll just waste that much money on something else."

Making this point won't change your mother's mind about trying to help. It might not get your mother to leave the money in her retirement account. It might make your mother and/or sister angry. But the good point is, it prepares a foundation for you to say NO when things blow up and they want you to pay for repairs to your sister's car or whatever else sis can't pay for.

Staying out is about setting boundaries and enforcing them. This isn't easy; but it's less difficult if you're clear, firm, and consistent.

Patzer

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Author: Smurfette823 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211766 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 4:47 PM
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Staying out is about setting boundaries and enforcing them. This isn't easy; but it's less difficult if you're clear, firm, and consistent.

Nice point Patzer! Bears repeating. :)

Smurfette

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211767 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 4:57 PM
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Dude, you are so over-thinking this!

Stop Digging.

you DO NOT have to give it

"Bad idea, Mom."

This isn't easy

Bears repeating. :)



That's exactly what I was trying to say when I said,

AAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Thanks for saying it more articulately.

Back to Yap.

BklynBorn

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Author: Booa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211768 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 5:21 PM
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Hon, take your $17K back. You will need it to support your parents when your sister runs through all *their* money. If they didn't learn after $100K being lost, well, just prepare to help support them when they run out of money, and otherwise stay out of it.

To my mind, the $17K is the last tangible thing tying you to this situation. Get it, get out, and stay out. You cannot save your parents from screwing themselves over. You can say, "Bad idea, mom," to the retirement thing, as Smurfette said, but you have to be prepared to be ignored.

I'm really sorry for you. I am going to stop posting on this now, 'cause I don't think I'm helping anymore. Good luck to you.


--Booa

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211770 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 5:53 PM
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Hon, take your $17K back. You will need it to support your parents when your sister runs through all *their* money. If they didn't learn after $100K being lost, well, just prepare to help support them when they run out of money, and otherwise stay out of it.

To my mind, the $17K is the last tangible thing tying you to this situation. Get it, get out, and stay out. You cannot save your parents from screwing themselves over. You can say, "Bad idea, mom," to the retirement thing, as Smurfette said, but you have to be prepared to be ignored.

I'm really sorry for you. I am going to stop posting on this now, 'cause I don't think I'm helping anymore. Good luck to you.


Booa, you're so right. I said the exact same thing only a few days ago.

And I think you are right that this thread is going nowhere. In fact, I am driven to the conclusion that (a) this guy is going to ignore everyone and continue to make bad worse and (b) we are now in some sort of weird co-dependant thing where he continually comes here and suggests things, we say "no", he does them anyway and comes back when it blows up, suggests more things, we say "no", he does them anyway and comes back when it blows up, ad infinitum.

What was it xraymd said about some triangle? Xraymd, I think what you said now applies here... to us "helping" this guy. Am I right?

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211771 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 5:58 PM
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What was it xraymd said about some triangle? Xraymd, I think what you said now applies here... to us "helping" this guy. Am I right?


Hello?!

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=23085988

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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211772 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 6:01 PM
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Hello?!

Yes?!

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211775 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 7:08 PM
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And have you read "The Millionaire Next Door?" Get hold of a copy and take a look at the chapter called "Economic Outpatient Care," which convincely explains why doing what you're doing harms, rather than helps, the recipient.


It's chapter 5, I believe.

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211776 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 9/30/2005 9:13 PM
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<< I am working to divest myself of the situation, but I still think it's reasonable to give my mom and sis advice about this, along the lines of the letter I posted earlier saying "If you give her a loan, she should be required to do certain things in exchange". After all, no matter how much I try to stay out, I am involved in that if it blows up they are very likely to seek out my assistance in repairs.

>>


The only thing to say to your mother is:

Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.
Don't do it.

And so on.


Seattle Pioneer

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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211784 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 10/1/2005 1:13 AM
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What was it xraymd said about some triangle? Xraymd, I think what you said now applies here... to us "helping" this guy. Am I right?

Greetings, Aranknitter, the silence you hear is the vacuum that remains from where my participation once had been.

I have reached the point where anything else I would offer or comment on would overreach that 50% of the effort. It's time for sprexumn to reach his own conclusions and make his own decisions about what he will do next.

What did TamarianG always say?

Onward...

xraymd


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Author: jrsmith13 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211869 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 10/3/2005 4:17 PM
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Sprexumn - I hope you advise your mother NOT to do this, making sure she knows the risks and penalties involved. But after that, let her make the decision.

With regards to the ING account - you might want to check with a bankruptcy lawyer about how it would be viewed, you putting money into her account, then you taking money out of the account when the ship is starting to sink. If she does declare bankruptcy, it might look like you are trying to hide her assets.

Are both of your names on the $17K ING account? If so, then keep your paper trail that shows it was YOUR money in the account and it was YOUR money that you took back out. I would certainly not put more money into your sister's retirement account if your mom is taking HER retirement money out to pay your sister's debt - that's INSANE!!!

Julie

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Author: CristyneS Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 211905 of 308686
Subject: Re: Sister finally running out of credit? Date: 10/4/2005 12:41 PM
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So it seems to be harm reduction time.

MORE enabling???

When are you all going to let her grow up?
*************************************************************

Couldn't agree with you more, why oh why is the OP involved with the sister on this level. My suggestion would be for the whole family to read the chapter on enabling in "The millionaire next door".

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