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Family Values

March 24th, 2014 at 04:34 pm

I think it's time I mentioned the biggest factor potentially holding me back in my debt journey - my family.

My mom grew up in a very traditional Filipino family where everyone does things for the family. It's simply expected that when someone is in trouble or needs help, you help them.

While I've gotten better with this lately, this past weekend was a little bit of a setback. My mom's terrible with money. Because of that, I've been vague about increases and finances, so she's not aware of what I make or what little I have in savings. You can bet if she knew, she'd come calling more often (she is, however, aware of my living situation).

She's been spending what little she has on a lawyer for her sister (told you, they all pay help each other...even at their own expense), and asked me for a loan. While I don't mind giving it, I usually have to put myself in the mindset that that is money I'll just never see again if I agree to give it to her. If it comes back, I just consider it a nice snowflake, but more often than not, it doesn't. Unfortunately, that was money I had intended to put my car well under the 9 grand mark. Now, I have to settle for just getting it to 8 grand and (LOTS OF) change.

Has anyone else experienced this sort of family culture? How do you escape it without losing those you hold dear?

7 Responses to “Family Values”

  1. snafu Says:

    Jasmine, you are banging against centuries of ingrained culture. In my opinion you will lose much more than dollars by declining to participate when there is a family shout-out for help. Riches extend way beyond money. I think it's wise to view the sums as spent - gone. Should there be any payback it is indeed a snowflake.'

    Remember, it's important to have an Emergency Fund. Whatever you give for the aunt's lawyer, keep at least one month's of your expenses set aside. One thought...if you buy short term CDs [Certificate of Deposit] it only cashes out on a specific, agreed date. With that system you just don't have cash to give on request.

    What were the terms and conditions of your car loan? Can you make extra payments directly to principal when you like? Is there a minimum required?

  2. Miz Pat Says:

    I don't know if you would consider it family culture of not, but I took in my two nephews. One is 26 and the other is 22.

    One has found a job and pays me some for rent and for gas for the car - i carpool to work because he has 2 part time jobs and it worked out that way.

    The other hasn't found a job, but he takes care of the house, and cooks (omg - pizza).

    This is all new expenses - for instance, I don't let the younger brother drive much because he's not on my insurance, I already am paying a lot more for the older brother, so he drives the rest.

    Their father was threatening to kick them both out, and that is why I had them come and live with me.

    I have been very upfront about finances, and they are both frugally raised, so they are good to have around, but at the same time, I worry about health care because I can't put them on mine. I am encouraging the one with work to get Obama care and hoping the his older brother can find work. They are both a joy.

    My biggest problem is it is very easy to squander money on fun day trips or restaurants with the boys. However, I am getting it under control, and I do have $1600 in the emergency fund and $23,000 in emergency unemployment.

    I don't know what to say, because it sounds like your family cares about each other, but that they are not good financial planners.

    I suggest making a separate savings account for family emergencies and only making that available to them. I would put 90% into your own emergency funding and 10% for family emergencies. Obviously you can change this percentage if you like, but if you really set it aside and know that its for family, it makes it easier to give up without feeling like you are being taken advantage of by a situation that is not under your control.

    I wish you well. Take care.

  3. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    The short term CDs are a great idea that I haven't thought of. At least then, I wouldn't have to outright lie.

    For the car, I can make extra payments of any amount to the principal alone or to future monthly payments. I had planned to put 500 to my car. Since agreeing to the family loan (300), I only put 215 to it, so I could bring it to 8995. At least seeing it go from a 9 to 8 is progress...

  4. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Miz Pat,

    It's wonderful of you to open your home to your nephews! I think the separate emergency savings accounts are a great idea. It's also really easy to have sub-accounts since I save with Capital One 360, so I think I will do that.

    I've been trying to draw some lines and make it clear that I want to make sure I'm taken care of before I overcommit to helping everyone else, and I think for the most part, it's working. This was the first loan in months.

  5. Miz Pat Says:

    Dear Debt-Free by Thir-ty - Sounds like you are doing a good job with drawing lines.

    I didn't know you could do that with capital One 360 - I'll have to think about that, because I want to start saving for either larger car repair bills or my next car. Although it is a Honda and they last a really long time.

  6. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    I haven't yet made full use of it. Right now, I just have two: one containing a month's worth of expenses and one for general savings. Eventually, I'd like to break it out into things like insurance/car taxes, car repairs/maintenance, etc.

  7. Shiela Says:

    Your situation sounds very familiar to me. Most of the time I don't mine helping but I'm very selective, it has to be for something very important. And the money I give I always expect that I will never see it again for peace of mind. In the last five years I haven't been giving to charities much because most of it goes to relatives now (I guess charity begins at home, whatever that saying is lol). Big family so there is always something. I spent thousands helping my aunt when she had cancer (she would have never survive without that treatment so I gladly paid for it) and last year had to help out another side of the family because of natural disaster emergency. Our emergency fund is good help for these stuff that way we don't have to suffer ourselves. I just have to replenish the EF every time it happens. Luckily, I have a very understanding husband that understand how different my family is to his. But at the same time I have to make sure that we (DH and I) are in good position to be able to help.

    Good luck with it all. You are heading the right direction. Smile

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