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Ask Dave

Drink to a Drunk

Toni should absolutely NOT take out a home equity loan to help out a sister who doesn't behave with money.

QUESTION: Toni is completely debt-free, and is wondering if she should take out a $30,000 home equity loan to help out her sister, who doesn’t behave with money. Dave is adamant about saying no, because it won’t help her.

ANSWER: Absolutely not. Does that mean you don’t love her? No, but you just told me she won’t behave with money. Don’t give people who don’t behave with money any money. It’s like giving a drunk a drink. You’ll borrow and give her money, she’ll squander it and won’t change her behavior, and she’ll be broke and you’ll have a mortgage.

That’s not being mean, that’s just where she is. You can’t endorse these behaviors or participate in these denials. This is bigger than you. You can’t fix this one. You have to teach her how to fish; help her by helping her to change her behavior and let her know how to handle money.