As the elder (and financially stable) member of your family, you may get a lot of requests for money. After all, your home is paid off, your kids are grown, you have fewer living expenses, and even though you’re on a fixed income, it’s not like you really need the money, right? At least, that seems to be the mentality of your kids, grandkids, and possibly even great-grandkids. While you’re happy to help your family when you can, you’re starting to feel like an ATM! Besides that, the fact that you’ve paid your dues and entered retirement means that you now have the leisure time and savings needed to start the business you’ve always dreamed of or begin crossing international cities off your bucket list. But how can you say no when your family members come looking for a handout? Here are a few tips to stop the mooching so you can once again look forward to seeing your family.
- Adopt a “no loan” policy. If you say no to one family member, you really have to say no to all of them (in order to avoid the jealousies that spring up from favoritism). In order to avoid rifts with family members over lending to some but not to others you simply have to adopt a no-loan policy that allows you to treat everyone the same. This will ensure that no feelings get hurt and that you’re not constantly bombarded with requests for money.
- Give a one-time gift. If you feel that you do have plenty of cash on hand to loan out but you don’t want to set a precedent that makes your family think you have an open-door policy where lending is concerned, then offer a one-time gift. This way you don’t have to worry about whether or not your loved one will pay you back and you can quickly and firmly close the door on future monetary requests.
- If you can’t afford it, say so. You have your own expenses and future to worry about, with no real chance for income down the road. You need to consider that each time someone asks you for money. By making your position clear to family members who ask for handouts you can hopefully keep your relationships intact and ensure that your family is aware of your financial standing.
- Be honest. Saying no to the ones you love can be difficult and you might be tempted to tell a little white lie in order to make yourself feel better about letting them down. But people often see through these deceptions and then they end up feeling bad, which you obviously don’t want. Honesty is always the best policy and you’ll find that simply telling family members up-front that you’re starting to feel used will probably result in an end to the many requests for money.
- Make relationships the priority. Lending money can be a recipe for disaster where personal relationships are concerned. Simply let family members know that you are available to listen to their problems and offer advice and moral support, but that preserving the relationship means keeping money out of the equation.