Should I have helped my grandparents?


Rockman

Recommended Posts

I have been married for about four years. My wife and I have one child and another on the way. We have saved up money for a nice down payment on a house and are in the process of purchasing our first home. We're pretty excited, but when my grandparents found out, they hit the roof.

 

My grandfather has been looking to start a business, but does not have the funds to get it going. When he learned of our down payment savings, he felt I should have invested that money with him, to help him (and my own parents) get the business going.

 

My grandparents aren't exactly on the streets, but they are not in the best financial situation and were hoping this business would help them get somewhere. My grandmother apparently has been crying herself to sleep because she doesn't know where money to help them get going will come from and was hoping my wife and I would be helping start the business.  My parents are also hurt by this.

 

I would tell myself to just let it go, except I do come from a culture where generations are supposed to help each other, especially adult children helping parents.

 

I have seen the business ideas, and I don't think it would work well. I want to provide a home for my wife and kids. I also come from a long line of people who are bad with money. I have taken classes since high school on managing my money and feel good about my money sense now. I hate the idea of dutifully giving thousands of dollars to my grandparents when I feel it will just go to waste.

 

I suppose there is still time to back out of the home deal at mild risk if it really is best to help my grandparents. I also don't mind the idea of giving a few thousand dollars to them--but nothing near the size of my downpayment. We have savings left over after the down payment, but I don't want to give that up, either.

 

Should I be helping my grandparents and parents with this? If not, how best to I diffuse everything? Things are tense with my family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've observed that business and family rarely work well together.  If you aren't in it wholeheartedly, then don't do it.  Don't give that money to your family because they want you to.  First, it has to be a decision that you and your wife both are in agreement about.  Second, if either one of you doesn't feel right about it, then don't do it.  

 

You are under no obligation to give money to your family to have peace in the family.  As long as your family is cared for (may not be wealthy, but not starving or on the streets), then you do not need to feel guilt for not "investing" in their business.

 

I have no idea of the experience of your grandparents or parents, but the majority of new businesses go under in the first couple of years.  Most people are unprepared for the actual ownership of a business and all of its costs.  Having the capital to start the business is not even half of what is needed to keep it going and profitable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to add to what Beefche said...  It takes 2-5 years for a business to really show any profit if it is going to.  Where would the money come from to keep the business afloat in that time frame if they don't have the money to start it to begin with?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, a different culture for sure.  My grandparents would prob. rather die than ask their grandkids to poney up money for a business.  IMO, each generation has the responsibility to first provide for themselves (i.e. anyone who they have charge and care over).  Each generation has the responsibility to save up for their own retirement and their own plans in life.

 

Providing for my family means: food, clothing, shelter.  Once that is taken care of then I would consider helping out.  You are the one who saved up through your own hard work enough for a downpayment.  Congratulations!  No one else has claim on those funds except you, since you earned them.

 

Once those things are taken care of then I might have additional duties in helping parents or grandparents depending on their circumstance.  Just remember this, if you ever give money to family, give the money as a gift; do not expect it back- expecting it back will only lead to bad blood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Help them with the business plan which you do not see much hope of succeeding. Help them with financial planning and how to make the best of what they have. Do the best you can for them but you are not in a position to give them money. Not for that. I am a very liberal person but it just makes no sense to throw money away that will help your family housing situation. Buying a house is one of the best things you can do. Learning to save the money is good learning experience for you and a good example to your kids.  Being a responsible home owner is good experience and improves your families quality of life. 
I do feel empathy for them because I am not young and I am not in good financial straits either but I would never dream of taking my kids chance at a home away for my own benefit. Chores and labor help yes, when needed, but not this. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I were you, I would be quite shocked that my grandparents had secretly carried around this expectation of a loan from me.  I'd remind them in a loving way that I'm not a mind reader and did not know they had this expectation.  Then I'd ask how I could support the business in any other way I could.

 

Or was it so secret?  If they had spoken openly about starting a business and had set a vague expectation of help from the family, then that thickens the gravy a lot.  In that case, I'd sit down with them and express my sorrow over any misunderstandings, and then I'd ask them for their advice on the best way to repair the hard feelings and move forward.  If their advice is good, I'd take it.

 

Is there any way they can ramp the business up slowly without a big lump of up-front cash?  If so, look at those options.  If not, I'd urge them to apply for a loan from a bank just to open their eyes.  They might be turned down flat, but the process of applying for a business loan will force them to organize their thoughts and get real about how much risk they are taking.  If they get defensive and say there's no way the bank would lend them money, then that's telling you something important.

 

I've been in this situation before.  When your banker denies your loan application and says your business model will flush all your capital down the toilet in six months, it tends to get your attention...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kinda sounds like my in-law's family culture. They are small town ranchers where the expectation does seem to be everyone in the family helps everyone out--and yes, the children are expected to complete chores and sometimes that expectation of helping out the family turns to other things. So I think I get the cultural side of this, having seen something similar.

 

No, I would not make any plans of backing out of this house purchase. We just bought a house and love it. Our payments (on everything) is cheaper than rent around here, we have a beautiful backyard, and we just feel like responsible adults. Like anne said, being a homeowner is a rather nice thing. Besides, it sounds like you've been planning a while for a home.

 

If I interpreted your post right, it seems like "hey, we're buying a house" came out of the blue. Like Polar said, perhaps there were some miscommunications and assumptions all around. Yes, sit down and talk with your grandparents and try to work through those. Or were your grandparents just hurt that you had this tidy sum of money sitting around that could have helped them in their venture and you weren't telling them? Perhaps they feel like you were keeping a secret?

 

Also, don't go shaming them for their poor money skills or their business plan. Be honest, but don't make it sound like this is their punishment.

 

I would just simply explain this was a goal for you that happened to be a priority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, you have a child and another on the way.  Your priorities should be to take care of your wife and little children, not your grandparents.  It is wrong for your grandparents to expect you to sacrifice the well being of your children for their misguided business plan.  Not to mention, it is frankly none of their business what you and your wife do with your own money.  

 

Don't get me wrong- I pay bills for my mom all the time, and my mother in law is currently living with us temporarily due to some financial misfortunes.  However, my first priority is to my wife and child, and I would not sacrifice their well being to take care of my mom or mother in law.  Immediate family comes first.  

 

If you feel that there is something wrong with their business plan, it may be that the holy spirit is trying to warn you not to get involved, that you could lose all of your money investing in their plan.  I would advise you not to get involved with something you feel uncomfortable with.  I think you know that the business plan is a bad idea.  Don't make a big mistake that will hurt your wife and children.  Keep your resolve, even if they make you feel guilty.  Use the money for helping your children have a good shot at life, not for indulging your grandparents who have already had their shot at life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you obligated to help them in a business venture? No. If they are about ready to live on the streets? Yes.

How to diffuse the situation? You can't diffuse a bomb that is not in your possession. I would say that I am buying a house for my family to live in so we don't have to lose all our money to the landlord.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Should I be helping my grandparents and parents with this? 

 

 

No! Your grandparents and parents have had more years than you to figure out how to handle money. It is not your responsibility to fix what they haven't learned.

 

Enjoy your new house and growing family and maybe help your parents and grandparents with advice on money management.

 

M. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been married for about four years. My wife and I have one child and another on the way. We have saved up money for a nice down payment on a house and are in the process of purchasing our first home. We're pretty excited, but when my grandparents found out, they hit the roof.

 

My grandfather has been looking to start a business, but does not have the funds to get it going. When he learned of our down payment savings, he felt I should have invested that money with him, to help him (and my own parents) get the business going.

 

My grandparents aren't exactly on the streets, but they are not in the best financial situation and were hoping this business would help them get somewhere. My grandmother apparently has been crying herself to sleep because she doesn't know where money to help them get going will come from and was hoping my wife and I would be helping start the business.  My parents are also hurt by this.

 

I would tell myself to just let it go, except I do come from a culture where generations are supposed to help each other, especially adult children helping parents.

 

I have seen the business ideas, and I don't think it would work well. I want to provide a home for my wife and kids. I also come from a long line of people who are bad with money. I have taken classes since high school on managing my money and feel good about my money sense now. I hate the idea of dutifully giving thousands of dollars to my grandparents when I feel it will just go to waste.

 

I suppose there is still time to back out of the home deal at mild risk if it really is best to help my grandparents. I also don't mind the idea of giving a few thousand dollars to them--but nothing near the size of my downpayment. We have savings left over after the down payment, but I don't want to give that up, either.

 

Should I be helping my grandparents and parents with this? If not, how best to I diffuse everything? Things are tense with my family.

I feel this is discussed in the Bible- at least indirectly:

 

Genesis 2:23-24

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

 

It seems that God places a priority on the marital relationship above the parental/grand-parental relationship.  You LEAVE the older generation.  Your loyalty is to your wife.  You are one with her.  Her needs come before parents, etc...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...