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Wedding Woes

I would not help and not feel bad about it.

Dear Prudence,
After witnessing so many people lose their homes during the recession, my husband and I made the decision to buy a house that was easily affordable, rather than a bigger, more expensive one. Our house is enough for a family of four and is located in a decent neighborhood. This decision has allowed us to save for our children’s college education and an early retirement fund. My sister-in-law and her husband earn much less than we do and bought a larger, more expensive house in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. They’ve always made snide remarks about how much nicer their house is than ours, even refusing to stay overnight when visiting from out of town because “it’s insufferably small.” Two months ago, she lost her job, and they have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. My husband and I have the money to help them out, although it means cutting back significantly on making contributions to our retirement savings and no more family vacations until she can find a new job. In the past, I have been more than happy to help other family members when they need it. Is it vindictive that I do not want to help my SIL out of her financial mess? Do I need to be the “bigger person,” as my husband has argued?

—Smug Sister-in-Law

Re: I would not help and not feel bad about it.

  • I'm pretty against helping people out with money, obv in some cases it may be necessary but I think this is a great example of one that isn't. @scrunchythief has a great point that most likely it's going to keep happening since they chose a house that was too expensive for their incomes. I like the previous suggestion of babysitting the kids or cook them dinner a couple times or maybe we'd buy them some groceries one week or something like that but just giving them money would be out of the question. 

    The snarky side of me would be tempted to say something like "we'll be happy to help you pack and sell the stuff that is too nice to fit in a small place like ours"
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    Knottie1452098987kimmiinthemitten
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    I'm sad that so many people these days (when did I get old?!) reach for handouts when they're in a tough spot as opposed to working to fix it. I'd be living in my car (assuming I hadn't already sold it to keep my house) before I'd go to my family for money.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    OliveOilsMomglasgowtolondon*Barbie*
  • Why can't sister take in lodgers to that big old house of hers? That would help with the mortgage just fine. I wonder if sister regrets being a smug B now or if she just thinks she deserves someone to bail her out?
                 
    SP29
  • I'm firmly against bailing people out because they made poor financial choices. 
    SP29
  • This is the part that I'm questioning:

     My husband and I have the money to help them out, although it means cutting back significantly on making contributions to our retirement savings and no more family vacations until she can find a new job

    This doesn't sound like a one time check. Does she mean monthly payments or something?

    image
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    They made the choice to buy a house that was probably beyond their means even when she was working, and they make snide comments. Nope. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • Even if the writer had enough extra money that it wouldn't impact their saving / vacationing at all, they still shouldn't give cash to the sister.

    I like the other suggestions of offering to help them find a realtor, having them over for dinner, babysitting the children, maybe putting them in touch with a financial advisor...

    OurWildKingdom
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