Teaching Them How To Handle Money

Larry has a mother-in-law who's asked for money in the past, and Larry and his wife have always said no. This time, she wants money because she's saying she'll lose the house. Larry doesn't believe her.

QUESTION: Larry in Utah has a mother-in-law who’s asked for money in the past, and Larry and his wife have always said no. This time, she wants money because she’s saying she’ll lose the house. Larry doesn’t believe her. Dave says it’s time for a talk with his in-laws.

ANSWER: They’ve done irresponsible stuff with money, and it’s bringing pain into their lives. In the past, you’ve given them reasons for not giving them money that aren’t really the truth, so I want you to do a better job of loving your father-in-law.

Here’s what I want you to do. You and your wife need to sit down with them in person, or over the phone if they live far away. Your wife needs to do most of the talking. She needs to tell them that they are in this mess because they have a habit of handling their money poorly. Tell them you will not give them the money to fix this situation unless they agree to learn how to handle money and change how they are handling money.

Tell them you’ll give them enough to bring their house current this time and tide them over for the month only if they agree to attend Financial Peace University, which you should give them. If they refuse, then don’t give them the money. You don’t want to just give them a fish; you want to teach them to fish, right? Tell them you’ve observed this from a distance and you want them to have a better life than they’ve had because you love them.

If they get prideful and talk about you lecturing them, then they don’t get any money. That’s not because you’re mad. It’s because you are not going to give a drunk a drink. You love them and you don’t want them to misbehave anymore.