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Ask Dave

Could It Lead To More?

Kelly is worried about her parents asking for money to pay their property taxes; she thinks it might become something more.

QUESTION: Kelly’s mother-in-law told her husband last week that they have not paid property taxes for this year. They need about $3,000. Kelly and her husband make a great income, but she’s worried that helping the parents will lead to more of this.

ANSWER: It’s very touchy. To start with, you can’t do anything. He has to do that; otherwise you’ll be the evil daughter-in-law. You can’t give positive or negative suggestions, because they will then assume that you are the one who is withholding from them.

It depends on how far he wants to take this. Your concern is, at what point are you become enablers. This money doesn’t have strings attached to it, but he needs to sit down with them and talk about getting their act together. Don’t go over there shaking your finger at them, tell them about your mistakes and how you are correcting them and how you feel a sense of power over your money. You can pay the property tax for them, but tell them you don’t intend on enabling their misbehavior. But he has to say that, you can’t.