I created dependency, now what?

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BogleMelon
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I created dependency, now what?

Post by BogleMelon »

Hello!
Since I was in my 20's I used to sponsor a family in need, that I know personally, by giving them monthly donations. Now after more than a decade, I feel I have caused (without being aware) this family to be dependent on me.

A brief about the family:
- They live in a third world country
- It consists of 2 parents and 2 children.
- Parents age probably is 50 years (lower or higher a bit)
- The father works as a bus driver for a public service company, that pays peanuts and has health issues.
- The mother is staying home, she had tried to work before (decades ago) but for some unknown reasons to me she had stopped. That was before I start sponsoring anyways. Probably now she has some health issues too, but not sure how sever if any.
- Children: 1 boy about 21 years, finished education, not working yet, staying home with parents. 1 teen girl, still in (public) college
- Both the parents have a very low level of education.

About the country and its culture they are living in:
- Jobs are limited and employment rate is high
- They live in a crowded poor city.
- Children stay at their parent's till they marry. There is no such thing as getting out and become independent unless they are marrying no matter how old they are!
- Living with a boy/girl friend is not allowed (i.e The children will stay with their parents for a while, and one day they may be able to support them financially)
- Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
- Inflation rate is crazy high (over 10% annually), and food prices are getting more expensive every year
- Colleges in this country (public ones) are free, that is how the children got their education, but again it is not that superior education.

Now, I feel bad about this situation. I mean I like to help people, but now I have enabled this family (is enabled the right word? excuse my English). and sure what would be the best course of action.

I think that my options are:
- Just keep continue what I am doing. I can financially afford it
- Stop immediately my contributions (and diverting this money to a reputable charity instead), so that they may be start to find a way themselves (I don't think they can now). Probably they won't starve, but they will struggle.
- decrease my contribution slowly over time, and let them know that I am going to decrease it so that they start preparing.
- Any other suggestion you can think of...

What do you guys think? Please feel free to suggest or ask anything..
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CoAndy
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by CoAndy »

I always felt that giving up a "free" monthly check is as hard as giving up drugs. Maybe you could inform them that your assistance is only going to last until a certain point? This way, they can prepare themselves to function without your assistance.
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InvestorNewb
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by InvestorNewb »

How much are you donating for their needs?
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niceguy7376
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by niceguy7376 »

I would recommend that you write to them about how long you have been doing this and that you would like the 21 year old to start earning and taking over your role in their life.

------------
I have personally seen many families like these that converted their religion based on the inflow of money from western countries that promised household appliances and motor bikes for kids. Once those org move towards the next target, they are left to survive on their own and afford those new things.
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dm200
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by dm200 »

This hardly, in my opinion, seems to be a case of actually, in the bad sense, creating this dependency. It sounds as though you have improved their living standards. One apparent benefit is improved education of the two children.

Maybe communicate, based on the age and educational situation of the children, that your regular financial assistance will need to be reduced and phased out (however you choose to do it).

Look at the very positive things you have done for this family!
KlangFool
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) How much of their monthly living expense is dependent on your donation?

2) Charity start at home. There are plenty of poor starving homeless people in USA.

3) Read 'Eat Love Pray". The section about helping a poor family in Indonesia.

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jjface
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by jjface »

You probably want to give them some time to adjust. How about letting them know that the money will stop when the youngest graduates or a year or two after since then they will have two kids available to help support the family.
Trapper
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Trapper »

I am in the camp with CoAndy. You have gifted this family greatly.
Let them know that after a set certain date, (maybe 3-6 months) your assistance will stop
and you grateful to see that their children have developed into fine young adults.
Last edited by Trapper on Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
soboggled
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by soboggled »

Huh? What do you mean by "dependent"? Exactly why did you conclude this? If both parents do have serious health issues and no education in such a dysfunctional society, it is no wonder they are dependent. Do you mean that if you hadn't supported them they would be homeless but maybe alive? Sounds to me you have done a very good deed for at least the kids, who are of course going to be dependent on somebody else if they can't depend on their parents. Would they have gone to college without your help? Since they should be getting jobs, you can start to withdraw or diminish your aid.
LK2012
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by LK2012 »

If unemployment is high and jobs are limited, it appears that it is not likely that someone in the family will be employed any time soon. If you withdraw your support, it is likely that the family will suffer.

It depends on how you feel, and what you can do. You can always start talking to them about the possibility that you may need to decrease your financial contribution to the family and ask them what options they will have to provide for themselves. You can see how it goes. But realistically, it sounds like these folks could be in dire condition without your help.
KlangFool
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

<< But Felipe isn't a colonialist; he's a Brazilian. He explains, "Listen, I grew up poor in South America. You think I don't understand the culture of this kind of poverty? You've given Wayan more money than she's ever seen in her life and now she's thinking crazy. As far as she's concerned, you're her miracle benefactor and this might be her last chance to ever get a break. So she wants to get all she can before you go. For God's sake — four months ago the poor woman didn't have enough money to buy lunch for her child and now she wants a hotel?" >>

From 'Eat Pray Love"

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Rob5TCP
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Rob5TCP »

This is very much a personal decision. How much satisfaction do you derive by helping a family meet at least a minimal standard of living? How attached are you to the family?

Though no where on your scale, in my 20's/30's I supported through Save the children Foundation a family in a third world nation (though I did later learn only part went to the family; the balance to a general fund for the village).

Do you feel that continuing would in any way, jeopardize your financial or your kids ultimate financial well being?

Possibly a very gradual reduction as the kids, hopefully become productive. (Maybe over a period of years rather than months). The shock will not be nearly as severe.
Dottie57
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Dottie57 »

To the OP,
I think you are generous. Do not feel bad for helping a family in need. It is nice to know there is good in the world.
KlangFool
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

Instead of helping someone to learn to fish, you give them fish. And, you wonder after a decade why they still want fish from you. Take this as a lesson in life and move on. Just stop donating. They either adapt or do not survive. Since most of them do survive in that country, they should be able to survive too.

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Taylor Larimore
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Lagflag:

Helping a family survive and put one child through college, and another on the way, is a tremendous gift. I doubt if it made them dependent on you.

Whether it did or not, there is a special place in heaven for you.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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RyeWhiskey
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by RyeWhiskey »

I think it's simpler than you think. If you cannot afford to, or do not wish to, keep funding them, then simply write and state the facts. What you have done so far is very generous.

What you ought not do, as I don't think you are entitled to, is to ask them to change/alter their behavior in order to keep providing funds. So I disagree with and would not do the following:
I would recommend that you write to them about how long you have been doing this and that you would like the 21 year old to start earning and taking over your role in their life.
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Ninnie
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Ninnie »

Why stop at all if you can afford it- they obviously need it. I would think long and hard before you impact this family's lives so fundamentally. This is not to guilt you, but simply that you've done a great thing and maybe it doesn't need to end just yet.

If you want to stop though, and maybe sponsor another family with young children, I think that you should wait until the youngest finishes school and is ready to find work, and then let them know.
metalworking
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by metalworking »

When you say dependent I assume you mean it in a negative way such as they have become lazy and are no longer trying to care for themselves. In your post I don't feel there is enough information to support that statement. If it is true then I don't think you had any part in that. In fact I don't think "you" can make them dependent. Why some people take assistance and use it to improve their lot and some people take advantage is not something that "you" control. What "you" did was help a family and that is awesome. If you don't feel helping them anymore is to their or your benefit then stop. Do they ever communicate with you and tell you what they are doing with the money?
Estate_Esq
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Estate_Esq »

Alas, pathological altruism is one of the defining bugs of the modern secularized European mind. Much, much more could be said about this. At any rate, I believe that justice demands that you don't cut them off immediately. Rather, incrementally decrease your contributions and let them know you'll be doing so. This way, they'll be gradually weaned from your teat and thus given time to adjust accordingly.
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Fat-Tailed Contagion
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Fat-Tailed Contagion »

This is a tough one as you have enabled the family to become dependent on your welfare, like any welfare situation will do due to the way our brains are wired.

They are addicted to the money and you are their dealer at this point. They have no incentive to make any changes.

You could attend some Codependent Anonymous meetings and get a sponsor and take their direction.

Good luck.
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sdsailing
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by sdsailing »

Have you created a dependency or just something that will have consequences if you stop?

Have the family stated what the effects would be, or are you just projecting?

What do you think the consequences are?


Maybe there are some creative ways to get them aid if that's what you want to do. For example, you could find a couple friends or family to chip in. Or start a facebook or kickstarter campaign?
ikowik
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by ikowik »

This is a tough one. But the one post that resonates for me is by Taylor Larimore. Agreed without reservation.
I have wondered about this during my much smaller charitable efforts, but that post refreshed my mind.
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celia
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by celia »

I once heard a statement that went something like this:

When a major "disaster" happens somewhere, donations rush in to help the needy until a disaster happens somewhere else. Then donations start to go to that place. This rush of donations always follows the current biggest need, but in doing so, those who are no longer getting help manage to survive somehow, just as they did before the event occurred.

This reminds me of a family that was in a disastrous situation (out-of-state relatives of my neighbor whom they called frequently). They relayed to my neighbor that the news people were still camped outside their house. My neighbor asked me how long they usually stay at the scene and I answered until another newsworthy event happens--then they'll all rush to that location. Sure enough, it did!

OP, I think you should let them know that you will be sponsoring another family next year.
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spectec
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by spectec »

Read "When Helping Hurts" (Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . . and Yourself) by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert". It might affect your perspective. You would probably create considerable hardship if you simply stopped, but you might consider a phaseout with good advance notification.

What you have done is noble and commendable. Now you have an opportunity to complete the task, especially with the adult children. Giving to the needy is always appropriate, especially if they have immediate basic needs in order to survive in the short term. Helping them restore dignity can last for generations.
Last edited by spectec on Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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BolderBoy
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by BolderBoy »

lagflag wrote:- Just keep continue what I am doing. I can financially afford it
Do this. I could care less how you spend YOUR money and you can be commended for spending it this way. My objection would come if you try to tell me how to spend MY money.
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William4u
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by William4u »

dm200 wrote:This hardly, in my opinion, seems to be a case of actually, in the bad sense, creating this dependency. It sounds as though you have improved their living standards. One apparent benefit is improved education of the two children...
Look at the very positive things you have done for this family!
We do the exact same thing: give regular money to a poor family in a developing country. Yes they rely on the money, since they are on the edge and any family emergency (a sudden illness) would put them over the edge without our regular donations. With the modest donations we give, their lives go from "desperate" to "much less so."

It sounds like your family isn't just throwing the money down the toilet. Research suggests that the most efficient charity is just giving money directly to the desperately poor in developing countries. They use it relatively wisely because they have no choice. Women in general spend the money more efficiently on their families than men. And a $100/month donation to them helps them as much as a $1000/month donation to a family in the U.S.

http://www.givewell.org/international/t ... e-directly
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/0 ... 39040.html
http://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/
finite_difference
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by finite_difference »

dm200 wrote:This hardly, in my opinion, seems to be a case of actually, in the bad sense, creating this dependency. It sounds as though you have improved their living standards. One apparent benefit is improved education of the two children.

Maybe communicate, based on the age and educational situation of the children, that your regular financial assistance will need to be reduced and phased out (however you choose to do it).

Look at the very positive things you have done for this family!
Well written. I agree. I think it makes sense to phase out now that the kids have grown up with your help.
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Watty
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Watty »

lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:

Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.

You could have likely found someone working as a maid, and being "humiliated", with kids who was widowed or had a disabled husband that needed help to survive with few other alternatives.

If need be the unemployed son can likely find some "humiliating" job too.

That said phasing it out over a period of time or waiting until the younger teen is through college might make sense.
sbaywriter
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by sbaywriter »

Sounds like you sense that continuing to donate living expenses may not be in the best interests of the family you are donating to. I think by “dependency” you are saying that they are not trying to improve their lives but just relying on you, and maybe this is not good for them, that it is no longer a kindness after all these years. And I think you are right. Sometimes catastrophes and bad conditions happen and people need help. But long term, people need to be encouraged to find ways to support themselves, or they will become degraded by the dependence.

Wouldn’t it be expected that now the educated children would step up to supporting themselves and helping their parents? Particularly the son who has graduated - What did the education accomplish for the son? Was he trained in any skills he can use for a career? Is he looking for work? Is the daughter learning any skills that she can use for work?

Maybe you can say that you are happy that you were able to help while the children were attending school, but this will come to an end soon as you trust that the children will now be able to contribute to the family income. I agree that ending the support gradually would be helpful because it would give them some time to face up to the situation and come up with their own solutions for their own support.
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BogleMelon
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by BogleMelon »

Thanks to everyone for the valuable advise. I appreciate all of your comments. It made a difference.
I decided I will just continue to do what I do. May God help me helping others!
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Taylor Larimore
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Let them know.

Post by Taylor Larimore »

legflag:

If they speak English, consider sending them a copy of this conversation. They will learn your concerns and probably take steps to change their behavior (if it needs changing), or reassure you that they are doing the best they can.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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TxAg
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by TxAg »

Watty wrote:
lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:

Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.

You could have likely found someone working as a maid, and being "humiliated", with kids who was widowed or had a disabled husband that needed help to survive with few other alternatives.

If need be the unemployed son can likely find some "humiliating" job too.

That said phasing it out over a period of time or waiting until the younger teen is through college might make sense.

+1
J295
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by J295 »

lagflag ... I'm late to this and see you have decided to continue .... i perceive you did this for input and not for accolades .... but, le me say to you well done! .... and, thanks for the inspiration ....
david99
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by david99 »

I haven't read this entire thread but you should consider the possibility that if something happened to you financially or physically then you might not be able to provide for this family. Maybe it would be better if they were self sufficient? On the other hand it's great that you have been able to help them for many years.
NMJack
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by NMJack »

Watty wrote:
lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:

Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.
+1 (unless we're missing something here) Every job I've ever held has been "humiliating" at one point or another (or almost all points). That's why they had to pay me! :annoyed
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Pajamas
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Pajamas »

A good solution as suggested by others would be to let them know now that when the youngest daughter finishes school that the contributions will be finished as the children will be fully-educated adults.

You might want to specify a certain date if you are worried that the daughter might not finish school in order to continue the contributions, say, a few months after the daughter is supposed to graduate.

Your relationship to the family may make a difference in how you handle it, especially if they are related to you somehow.
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JamesSFO
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by JamesSFO »

Can you clarify the rough amount of contribution each month and what percentage of the family's income you believe that contribution to be?
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BogleMelon
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by BogleMelon »

JamesSFO wrote:Can you clarify the rough amount of contribution each month and what percentage of the family's income you believe that contribution to be?
$60, but when converted to their country's currency it is a very decent amount.
I don't know the answer to the second question.
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LarryAllen
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by LarryAllen »

It's nice of you but I would tell them you have financial obligations and you are going to send reduced amounts for the next 6 months. Each month a little less. You have already done more than most people. Great job!
Traveler
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Traveler »

Watty wrote:
lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:

Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.

You could have likely found someone working as a maid, and being "humiliated", with kids who was widowed or had a disabled husband that needed help to survive with few other alternatives.

If need be the unemployed son can likely find some "humiliating" job too.

That said phasing it out over a period of time or waiting until the younger teen is through college might make sense.

Same here. If doing maid type of work is beneath them, then receiving donations from me would be beneath them too and I would have cut them off a long time ago. It's one thing to help people get on their feet, but a completely different story for them to rely on your generosity and do little to improve themselves.
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JamesSFO
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by JamesSFO »

lagflag wrote:
JamesSFO wrote:Can you clarify the rough amount of contribution each month and what percentage of the family's income you believe that contribution to be?
$60, but when converted to their country's currency it is a very decent amount.
I don't know the answer to the second question.
Thanks for sharing, I guess if $60 isn't creating a hardship for you but you want to stop paying, then set a timeline that works for you to stop the funds, on a timeline that both makes you happy financially and shows integrity to what you've done to date.
KlangFool
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by KlangFool »

lagflag wrote:
JamesSFO wrote:Can you clarify the rough amount of contribution each month and what percentage of the family's income you believe that contribution to be?
$60, but when converted to their country's currency it is a very decent amount.
I don't know the answer to the second question.
lagflag,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... erage_wage

You can get a good idea by checking the average wage of that country.

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spammagnet
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by spammagnet »

lagflag wrote:- Children: 1 boy about 21 years, finished education, not working yet, staying home with parents. 1 teen girl, still in (public) college
- Colleges in this country (public ones) are free, that is how the children got their education, but again it is not that superior education.

- Any other suggestion you can think of...
Determine when it is reasonable to expect the girl to finish her education. When that time passes, inform the family your direct assistance will cease X months in the future. Do not tell them this before the girl completes her education, if that point is important to you. They may stop the education in anticipation of the income stream stopping. Choose the "X months in the future" date according to your preference. Do not change the date. (Stick to the plan.)

After the date rolls around, redirect your donation to a reputable charitable with a mission that conforms to your interest. That assumes you can afford to continue donating. Assuming you have researched them and are satisfied, let the NGO professionals determine the best way to distribute their resources.

That approach allows you to continue giving in a way that satisfies you, while distancing yourself from the direct recipients. Should your financial circumstances change in the future and you can no longer afford it, take comfort in the fact that the decrease in funding from one individual will not be devastating to the program as a whole.
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celia
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by celia »

NMJack wrote:
Watty wrote:
lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:
Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.
+1 (unless we're missing something here) Every job I've ever held has been "humiliating" at one point or another (or almost all points). That's why they had to pay me! :annoyed
As a parent, I've had many "humiliating" jobs for which I wasn't paid: clean up of bodily waste/blood, cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, mopping the floor. I guess I was/am a maid and didn't know it!
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furnace
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by furnace »

celia wrote:
NMJack wrote:
Watty wrote:
lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:
Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.
+1 (unless we're missing something here) Every job I've ever held has been "humiliating" at one point or another (or almost all points). That's why they had to pay me! :annoyed
As a parent, I've had many "humiliating" jobs for which I wasn't paid: clean up of bodily waste/blood, cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, mopping the floor. I guess I was/am a maid and didn't know it!
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LagFlag, what country is this? We're all dying to know the country :mrgreen:

You should consider cutting off the "free money" once the last kid is done with college. Those people need to fend for themselves, which I am sure they will have a better chance as college educated adults. If you still want to help, use your $60 to help another needy family. Ten years is long enough :sharebeer
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BogleMelon
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by BogleMelon »

furnace wrote:
celia wrote:
NMJack wrote:
Watty wrote:
lagflag wrote:Some jobs are considered humiliating according to this country's culture. Example, the mother could work as a maid or something similar, but it would be something that will devastate her and her family.
:oops:
Any aid I was sending would have stopped right there. It isn't like you would be forcing her to be a streetwalker.
+1 (unless we're missing something here) Every job I've ever held has been "humiliating" at one point or another (or almost all points). That's why they had to pay me! :annoyed
As a parent, I've had many "humiliating" jobs for which I wasn't paid: clean up of bodily waste/blood, cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, mopping the floor. I guess I was/am a maid and didn't know it!
----------------------------

LagFlag, what country is this? We're all dying to know the country :mrgreen:
I guess I should start a betting pool :D :D
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather
Xpe
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by Xpe »

i thought this was going to be about a pregnancy, i came here hoping for some advice, as my wife and i recently created a dependency as well :D ah well I'll keep lookin'
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celia
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by celia »

Xpe wrote:i thought this was going to be about a pregnancy, i came here hoping for some advice, as my wife and i recently created a dependency as well :D ah well I'll keep lookin'
Maybe we should ask you what country you did this in? :D :D :D
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.
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celia
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by celia »

OP, Would you be horrified if they have been using your money to pay for a maid for their home?

I know of no country, past or present, where a "maid" was considered as humiliation. It may not be the job most people aspire to, but it is honorable work. Some of my ancestors even worked as maids before and after immigrating to the US a century ago. It was a way to get started, build connections, see what other opportunities there are. It helped provide food and housing for them until they could decide on their next step.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.
Topic Author
BogleMelon
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Re: I created dependency, now what?

Post by BogleMelon »

celia wrote:OP, Would you be horrified if they have been using your money to pay for a maid for their home?

I know of no country, past or present, where a "maid" was considered as humiliation. It may not be the job most people aspire to, but it is honorable work. Some of my ancestors even worked as maids before and after immigrating to the US a century ago. It was a way to get started, build connections, see what other opportunities there are. It helped provide food and housing for them until they could decide on their next step.
Guess what? being a nurse in that country comes with a bad reputation!!

Just different culture (no culture i would say!) and different stupid minds. No shame in doing anything in the world as long as it is legal and not against one's believes. But some communities unfortunately would despise you if you did that job!!
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather
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