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Personal Finances / Credit Cards and Consumer Debt


Subject:  Re: helping out family Date:  9/13/2000  4:29 PM
Author:  hunnypot1 Number:  44186 of 312293

I think loaning/giving them money is a mistake. I have had to learn hard financial lessons myself. Being rescued from the consequence of my destructive actions would have actually been harmful. When I woke up to the reality that my total credit card debt was a third of our (new) annual income, it forced me to make the lifestyle changes necessary to correct the situation. Had someone paid it off for me, I would have started charging again. (Why not, I can breathe soooo much easier now!?) Only bearing the heavy load can force change in some people. I have 2-3 more years to go until the cc debt will be paid. After bearing this load, I will never bury myself again.
They will resent your mandated "conditions". Until they are committed to a new lifestyle, they will not realize you are trying to be helpful - they will just think you are being controlling. Trust me, I tried that with my little sister and her husband once. (In the days when I had low debt and high income. Gosh, I miss those days.) I even let them move in with us for a while. Oh what a mistake that was. I began resenting them for being slothful and got ticked whenever BIL bought ANOTHER expensive item. We finally had to ask them to move out and our relationship has never been the same since. (Bstroh is right on about this one.)

Giving them advice, books, Quicken/MSMoney and cheering them on is the best thing you can do. When your sister is really feeling down, perhaps you can take her out for a special day (get her hair done, manicure and get her a new dress). Peek in their kitchen cabinets and refrigerator when you visit. If things are looking bleak, take her out grocery shopping. Just try to be an encouragement. Do not rob them of the sense of accomplishment that will come from pulling themselves out of the hole.

Good luck!
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