I grew up in a wealthy family and my father has always been obsessed with money. It is everything to him; it’s how he defines himself and his relationships. Unfortunately, our family lost everything due to the financial crisis and my parents’ divorce. My father spiraled into depression and addiction and lost his companies. Now he’s been sober for a year and is trying to regain his fortune and reputation. This wouldn’t really affect or bother me except I just got engaged and now the wedding has become a part of my father’s quest to reclaim the life he once led. All his peers’ daughters’ weddings have been in the $100,000 range, and he thinks that’s what I need too—I don’t. He constantly talks about how little he has and how much he will have. But now that I am planning the wedding, I do need some financial help and it would be nice to have an idea of how much he can offer. I’ve broached this lightly but he just keeps saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll be rich next year!” which isn’t helpful. How do I get an honest and practical answer out of him without offending him?
—Bills Coming Due