Dealing With Financial Family Guilt: The Follow Up

Dealing With Financial Family Guilt: The Follow Up


A few months ago, I wrote about my father needing a new car and that he asked to borrow money so he could buy a new one. At that time, I agreed I could give him half of my emergency fund. Immediately I regretted that. I appreciate everyone’s advice and comments that were left on that post. Here is an update.

When I asked him about his savings account during our last phone conversation, he informed he did not have one. When I suggested he start one, he replied, “Any money I put in the bank the debt collectors will immediately take out.”

My dad keeps his savings in cash in his home to avoid debt collections.
I had no idea that his financial situation was that dire.

We both looked at car prices and realized that even with our combined funds, we still could not afford a reliable car. I definitely do not want to waste money on an old car for him that will just be a money pit in a year.

We both decided that he will just drive his car only when necessary until we can both save extra cash to pool for a more reliable one.

As many suggested in the last post, I have started a “Family Fund”. This account will contain money that I can guilt-free give to my family when they are in need. This way, I will not be hindering my financial plans and feeling resentful when I am in a position to give my family money.

How have you responded to family or friends asking for money?


12 Replies to “Dealing With Financial Family Guilt: The Follow Up”

  1. My family luckily, don’t have debt collections agencies after them or anything to that effect. I know they have the money, they just don’t want to pay for anything which drives me insane.

    I’m so sorry you have to handle that sort of situation but it sounds like at least you two are able to work out something. Do you have siblings who can help? I forget.

  2. While I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s finances, I’m very happy you were able to have a somewhat open conversation. It’s always hard to help when you don’t know what someone needs. I hope things get better soon.

  3. The fact that the debt collections can take from his accounts it might be worth declaring bankrupcy. It might be time to get him a fresh start. If he owes money he has no chance of every paying back this is the legal way out of that.

  4. Leslie,

    Why not try to help him clean up the debt collectors? Have him get his free credit report and start writing to get them off the credit report?

    Do they have a default judgment on your dad? If yes, maybe you can steer him in the right direction to get them vacated (I know you are here, in NY and he is not here in NY)? If there is No default judgment then they can’t just freeze his accounts.

    Will it solve his ridiculous spending? Nope, but may get him on the right track.

  5. That is not good for your dad, but I’m sure he’s not the only one given where he lives.
    Maybe you should figure out *exactly* how bad his situation is and then start from there. The situation could be much better (or, gulp, worse) than you currently think it is. I think you’re worse off now for not knowing completely though.

  6. To those of you that suggested I help him get his act together and learn more about the situation, I plan to. Thank you for suggesting this.

    It seems my father’s financial issues have spawned into something I was not expecting when I wrote the first post. I will discuss this all further with him, make an action plan, and hopefully help him get everything straightened out.

    Thank you all for the responses. I will post another follow-up in due time.

  7. Sorry to hear his financial situation is worse than you first realized. At least you were able to have a conversation about it. And your plan sounds great– he might as well drive his current car until it dies, allowing you both to save up more money for a reliable car. Even if he ends up having to pay $50 or $100 for a tow when the car kicks it (or maybe he’ll be lucky and when it dies it will be in his driveway), it sounds like it’s worth that for you both to have time to save up more. I obviously don’t know details but it does sound like it would be worth looking into the extent of the debt to determine if bankruptcy is the better option than trying to repay a very large amt of debt. This of course depends on how involved you want to be…but if you are helping him, I think he totally needs to disclose the extent of his debt to you if he is going to continue to ask for your assistance. This is a lot for someone our age to have to worry about and deal with! Sorry you are going through it. While I have not been asked to help out friends/family, I do worry that my family will ask for help some day-largely due to my parents financially bailing out my sister and supporting her at the age of 25 (She is completely capable of supporting herself, but seems to be choosing not to – since my parents will. They need to have the balls to tell her to get a job that pays better or a second job, so they don’t have to worry about whether they’ll ever be able to retire!)

  8. I’m doing some catch-up on your blog :) I’ll be interested to see if you have any more updates about this because when I went home I found out that I may need to help support one of my parents. It’s stressful enough to be young and trying to get right financially for your own future, without having to worry about your parents stability. But knowing that I may have to help my dad is definitely added incentive to be financially responsible.

    1. I am glad that it has helped you to focus more on your finances, but really we are too young to hold that much responsibility; having our parents depend on us is a lot of weight and I am sorry for anyone who has to go through it. It is a stressful situation but I do have some updates, which I will write about soon.

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