Archive for April 16, 2012

Thoughts on Handouts from Parents and In-Laws

I’m the type of girl that likes to do things herself. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been that way. My parents did pay for my college education, (which was tremendously helpful in starting me off on firm financial ground), but I always worked while I was in school and from the moment I graduated I didn’t ask for a penny more.

My father always told me that ‘money comes with strings.’ He said every time my grandmother, (his mother-in-law), gave him a financial gift he was told exactly how and when to spend it. Interestingly my father accepts her gifts in spite of the ties that bind him.

I have not followed in his footsteps. When my in-laws offered to help us pay for things, (which has only happened once or twice in my life), I quickly turned them down. I’ve tried to figure out why I feel the way I do and I believe it’s 75% pride and 25% control.

I really want to make it on my own. I want to prove that I can pay for my own home, my own beach house, my own cars, etc. If I can’t afford to buy something on my own I don’t buy it. End of story. When I’ve saved up enough money then I feel like I’ve earned the right to buy it.

I also don’t want to be controlled. I want to make decisions on what kind of car to buy, where to buy property, what kind of house I want to own, etc. I fear that accepting the money means I will have to listen to the desires and wishes of those who gave it to me. To be perfectly honest I don’t want or need the influences of anyone outside my household. It’s difficult enough to find common ground with my spouse. I don’t want my in-laws or anyone else having say in our matters.

Over the years my husband has adopted my philosophy. In the beginning he would have taken his parents money, but now he realizes that their gifts would allow them to have greater control in our lives then he desires. He’s also quite proud that we’ve been able to ‘make it on our own’.

While this works well for us I wonder if we are missing out by not accepting the gifts we were offered. My brother-in-law has no problem taking handouts from his parents and as a result he is gaining a quick financial footing. This includes one property for now, but may include others in the near future. It also includes many other financial benefits.

Now two things should be said about this. First, my brother-in-law is offered much more than my husband and I ever have been. Second, my brother-in-law and his wife are not destitute by any measure. While I don’t know for certain, I would bet they earn close $200,000 a year.

We don’t know where my brother-in-law’s wife will fit into this occasion. They were recently married so she hasn’t been part of this equation until quite recently. I’m interested to see if she wrestles with the idea of accepting gifts from the in-laws or if she opens her hands more freely.

So what do you think? Do you accept the handouts of your parents or in-laws? If so, do those financial gifts come with strings attached and have you ever regretted your decision to accept their money?


April 16, 2012 at 9:02 PM 2 comments


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