Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

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Fractalleaf
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Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by Fractalleaf »

My daughter’s boyfriend, 24, lives paycheck to paycheck and barely gets by. He’s slowly overcoming some legal trouble from his teen years and has a full time minimum wage job. Graduated high school but no college. He has zero buffer against unexpected expenses that could render him homeless or force him back to live with his unstable and financially reckless family. He lives with a group of guys in a rented house.

We could very easily help him out but daughter is leery of the effect on their relationship if he were to become financially dependent on us. She has considered lending him money, but I think an outright gift from me with no strings attached would be less complicated. The amount would be a few thousand dollars, and I would pay specific debts rather than give the money directly to him.

Our family had a good start in life, good education and responsible spending habits. Through this young man’s eyes I’ve seen first hand how hard it is to survive when you don’t choose the right parents before birth :happy .

Sorry if this is too “Dear Abbey” but it has everything to do with personal finance. Anyone face a similar issue, and how did you handle it?
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by White Coat Investor »

Very tricky. I had a similar situation recently, but with an older person (i.e. less likely to cause a bad influence as career plans already made) and someone that wasn't going to disappear from my life (like a boyfriend might) and someone I cared about a great deal.

I made it very clear it was a gift (not a loan) and could be used in any way the person chose (no strings attached) and asked first if this person would be offended by the gift. So far still glad I did it. The person used most of it for the expected purpose and put the rest in savings for a rainy day.
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stoptothink
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by stoptothink »

Your daughter's boyfriend? IMO, terrible idea.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Best way to get out of debt is to increase income. Is there any indication boyfriend is willing/want to advance education? What kind of debts are you thinking of paying off? Any assurance if you did that, he would use the new found money to actually save it?
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

what's the long term plan? There's nothing wrong with helping him pay debts but was he paying anything on them before? If yes, then he's now got money to put aside as savings (but will he?) If he wasn't paying on debts, then what would change now, other than he would no longer have that debt (but would he incur new debts?).

So maybe more conversations are in order about how to raise his income, get better opportunities, what are his interests that might yield better income? Could he be trained in a trade, and so on.

I think getting out of a difficult jam like this requires multiple things:
1. being able to break free from the tribe (it's all too easy to flounder financially if that's what your family expects of you and them. You've got to want to escape that mentality)
2. improving opportunities (getting trained, educated, apprenticed, etc).
3. learning about personal finance because you are not going to get it from your family
4. luck

would he be interested in learning about personal finance issues (like you can have money or you can spend money but you can't do both), lifestyle creep, being a smart/savy consumer, learning how paying interest enriches the lender at your expense (and is the opposite of investing), learning how long it takes to pay off high interest debt, and so on?

if he's interested in learning there's a different way than what he's learned from his family, then I'd support his attemps at improving his financial picture. If not, I'm not sure you should work harder than he would.

You could give him $500 for an emergency fund, but don't be surprised if you find out it's gone later on...even though there was no evidence of any emergency.

let us know what you decide and how it goes.
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retiredjg
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by retiredjg »

Your desire to help someone who needs it is admirable, but you should not get involved other than to let your daughter and/or him know you are willing to help if he/they want it.

This is his problem. Let him work it out. Your "help" will put a strain on the relationship between your daughter and her boyfriend...something a father should never do. The fact that daughter is leery should be respected.

Stay out of it, but be available if asked. If that happens, keep it above board and business-like, not charity like. Otherwise, he will lose respect for himself and it will affect a relationship that could turn out to be a good one.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by Olemiss540 »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:01 pm Your daughter's boyfriend? IMO, terrible idea.
This. How serious is the relationship?

I recommend offering to host dinners or date nights as a way to help without "helping". If he is a good fit, he would probably rather get this done on his own. If he is excited to get a 2k handout, not sure he is a great fit to begin with.

I would much rather work a 3rd job than take 15 bucks from my in laws but maybe my view of parental "support" is improperly slanted.

Only you know how responsible this guy can be, but you can always rescue him if the situation gets dire. Doesnt sound like he is going hungry or missing cancel treatments quite yet.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

I would like to invest on people instead of throwing money away. So, how would your help/gift help this person in the long-run? Aka, it is an investment as opposed to throwing money away. Can you answer that?

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StealthRabbit
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by StealthRabbit »

daughter is leery of the effect on their relationship if he were to become financially dependent on us.
Congrats, you have a very wise daughter, You did well. :wink:

Respect her feedback, if it is a few thousand $ the BF will be best figuring out how to manage and succeed in his responsibilities.
It will be HIS sense of accomplishment and success for your potential next 50 yrs of relationship.

Encourage, help (not financially), make him a strong and capable provider. You will gain mtns of credibility and respect.

He will be better for it, and from your help / mentoring.
Last edited by StealthRabbit on Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fractalleaf
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by Fractalleaf »

Great thoughts to consider, thank you for the input. Meeting and hearing the life story of this young man has made me realize what a sheltered and privileged life I’ve led, so perhaps there’s some guilt nagging at me.

This is the crux of it I guess:
I would like to invest on people instead of throwing money away. So, how would your help/gift help this person in the long-run? Aka, it is an investment as opposed to throwing money away.
I expected my daughter to welcome my offer of help, but the fact that she is hesitant suggests she has doubts about whether it would be a good investment at this point. Maybe she feels he hasn’t made enough effort to save or to find better employment. It’s the legal issues that are haunting him, though I don’t know all the details. They’ve dated about a year and my daughter is happy, so I don’t judge their relationship. He’s honest, respectful and kind.

As suggested, I’ll bow out and let daughter provide guidance.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by retire2022 »

Fractalleaf wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:56 pm Great thoughts to consider, thank you for the input. Meeting and hearing the life story of this young man has made me realize what a sheltered and privileged life I’ve led, so perhaps there’s some guilt nagging at me.

This is the crux of it I guess:
I would like to invest on people instead of throwing money away. So, how would your help/gift help this person in the long-run? Aka, it is an investment as opposed to throwing money away.
I expected my daughter to welcome my offer of help, but the fact that she is hesitant suggests she has doubts about whether it would be a good investment at this point. Maybe she feels he hasn’t made enough effort to save or to find better employment. It’s the legal issues that are haunting him, though I don’t know all the details. They’ve dated about a year and my daughter is happy, so I don’t judge their relationship. He’s honest, respectful and kind.

As suggested, I’ll bow out and let daughter provide guidance.
In 2013 my good friend who lives 350 miles away asked me to loan her $2500, I had no deadline when the loan will be returned, I don't miss the money, because since then I've made lots 1.7 million.

I do miss our relationship, she does not communicate, nor return calls, and I have not been able to get in touch with her except through her friends and family.
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sarabayo
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by sarabayo »

Since your daughter knows him better than you (presumably) and she thinks it's not a good idea, I would listen to her. But at the same time, I disagree that it's always money wasted to give a struggling person a monetary gift no strings attached, as some other respondents to this thread seem to be saying.

There's an old saying that "it's expensive to be poor", because lack of cash liquidity forces you to spend the money you do have in a suboptimal way (e.g. repeatedly buying cheap disposable items instead of buying an expensive but durable item one time). Giving such people a "liquidity injection" can help them dig their way out of the hole they're in much faster than they would be able to otherwise. So I think that if you have someone in your life who's living paycheck to paycheck, is in debt, etc., and you're sure you want to help them out, then giving them a lump sum of cash as a gift can definitely be a strong option. I understand the worry that because they're poor they might not know how to best use the money and will waste it, but in reality, people living paycheck to paycheck are often even more budget-conscious than high-income people, precisely because they are forced to understand their finances in order to survive. (Of course, there are always exceptions.)

Here's an article about unconditional cash transfers as a weapon against poverty. It's less about personal charity and more about social policy, but I thought it was interesting.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by sarabayo »

retire2022 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:09 pm In 2013 my good friend who lives 350 miles away asked me to loan her $2500, I had no deadline when the loan will be returned, I don't miss the money, because since then I've made lots 1.7 million.

I do miss our relationship, she does not communicate, nor return calls, and I have not been able to get in touch with her except through her friends and family.
That is unfortunate. Have you communicated to her that you don't miss the money? Maybe she has been avoiding you because of guilt about not being able to repay your loan, and knowing that you don't want to be repaid might make her feel less guilty.

The fear of getting into a situation like this is why I would prefer to give gifts rather than loans when a friend is in need.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by HomeStretch »

Listen to your daughter. It should be her call.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by ResearchMed »

retire2022 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:09 pm
Fractalleaf wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:56 pm Great thoughts to consider, thank you for the input. Meeting and hearing the life story of this young man has made me realize what a sheltered and privileged life I’ve led, so perhaps there’s some guilt nagging at me.

This is the crux of it I guess:
I would like to invest on people instead of throwing money away. So, how would your help/gift help this person in the long-run? Aka, it is an investment as opposed to throwing money away.
I expected my daughter to welcome my offer of help, but the fact that she is hesitant suggests she has doubts about whether it would be a good investment at this point. Maybe she feels he hasn’t made enough effort to save or to find better employment. It’s the legal issues that are haunting him, though I don’t know all the details. They’ve dated about a year and my daughter is happy, so I don’t judge their relationship. He’s honest, respectful and kind.

As suggested, I’ll bow out and let daughter provide guidance.
In 2013 my good friend who lives 350 miles away asked me to loan her $2500, I had no deadline when the loan will be returned, I don't miss the money, because since then I've made lots 1.7 million.

I do miss our relationship, she does not communicate, nor return calls, and I have not been able to get in touch with her except through her friends and family.
Very sad.

But given how you describe things, including your own feelings about both the money and the friendship, might there be a chance to contact her (yeah, it's been a while now...) and mention that you miss her, and <blah blah> how you'd really like her to consider the money a gift, that you certainly would not have wanted/expected it back if you had realized it might be a hardship?
You might even be able to turn the "no deadline" into something like not even really expecting to be paid back.

It might be too late now, unfortunately.

And I guess this is why many here suggest not loaning, but only gifting in the first place, etc., at least under some circumstances.

RM
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ClevrChico
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by ClevrChico »

Definitely enabling. There are second jobs and possible overtime if one needs to build an emergency fund. (Family would have laughed at me for wanting a cash handout.)
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by retire2022 »

ResearchMed wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:17 pm
retire2022 wrote: Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:09 pm
In 2013 my good friend who lives 350 miles away asked me to loan her $2500, I had no deadline when the loan will be returned, I don't miss the money, because since then I've made lots 1.7 million.

I do miss our relationship, she does not communicate, nor return calls, and I have not been able to get in touch with her except through her friends and family.
Very sad.

But given how you describe things, including your own feelings about both the money and the friendship, might there be a chance to contact her (yeah, it's been a while now...) and mention that you miss her, and <blah blah> how you'd really like her to consider the money a gift, that you certainly would not have wanted/expected it back if you had realized it might be a hardship?
You might even be able to turn the "no deadline" into something like not even really expecting to be paid back.

It might be too late now, unfortunately.

And I guess this is why many here suggest not loaning, but only gifting in the first place, etc., at least under some circumstances.

RM
RM I've tried she does not pick up her phone, does not answer emails, nor texts. I have her on a online photo share which she visited but no word. I've written her emails all is forgiven. No response.

She is ashamed.
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Re: Helping someone who’s broke, charitable or enabling?

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed an off-topic post. This thread has run its course and is locked (relationship issue). See: Acceptable Topics and Subforum Guidelines
This is an investing and personal finance forum. We also maintain a subforum that allow our members to discuss consumer goods and services and recreational activities. Anything else is considered "Off Topic" and is not acceptable on this forum.
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