Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

02/08/2011 11:09

I have been giving my brother money for the past year or so with whatever left over money I may have from school grants, as a way to be nice, help out, and kind of thank him for getting me into college. Well this semester the money has been pretty tight even with my school grants. So when I told him that I would only be giving him less then or even half of what I usually give him,(which is $250) he freaked out and said that I had to give him at least $200 which I may not have after paying for everything but he is expecting this money and does not believe me when I tell him that I may not be able to give it to him. Is it okay to tell him no or to give less? How do I talk to him about this because he thinks I am just saying this so I do not have to give him money. He is usually very understanding about any money problems but not always when it comes to the money that he thinks I am "supposed" to give him, but to be honest I do not think I have t o give him that much money and would like to give him a bit less. Thanks. – Troubled College Student

 What Mary Says...  What Crystal Says...

Dear Troubled:

I am apoplectic reading this. I certainly hope you mean grants and not loans, i.e. you do not have to pay back this money, correct? First of all, I don’t know who I fault most here: your brother for expecting a handout and pouting when he doesn’t get one or you, for being so damn nice and trusting.

OK, I’m going for him.

What is his problem that he cannot work? Is he disabled? Under the age of legal employment? Mentally inept? Why does he feel you are “supposed” to give him this money? I know money between family members or friends is always an issue so I understand if you are reluctant to say, “Hey brother, I’m not your personal ATM anymore. I have my own life to worry about.” However, it’s what you need to do. You don’t have to give him any money, unless you borrowed from him and you OWE him the money. Otherwise, I would make him get a job and then sit around with your hand out. I can’t imagine exhibiting this type of behavior or condoning it. Your days of playing bank teller/customer are over.                     














Dear Troubled:

First of all, you need to check the small print on the papers you signed for the grant. There’s a strong likelihood that therein lies some obligatory statement that mandates you use the grant for educational purposes only (housing, books, tuition, etc). As such, giving any of that money to your brother might seem like a nice act, but it also might be a criminal one.  

I would also have to say that your brother sounds pretty ungrateful. I mean seriously, what kind of balls does he have to have to not only allow you to pay his way, but then ask you for more?! First off, I would never ask my sister for money unless I really needed it. I’m talking, dire straits. And then, if she sent me even five dollars I would feel indebted to her for life. Yes, ideally family is there to help when help is needed – no payback needed. But this implies the receiver of said help be appreciative of the efforts – not treat it like they’re entitled to it – and be willing to give back when needed. And frankly, if he’s willing to give you hell for taking away his free ride just so you can stay afloat, I’m guessing he probably wouldn’t return the favor. Has he EVER tried to pay you back? And for that matter, is he doing anything at all to try to better his situation so he can get off your free money wagon? Telling you he needs more is completely selfish. Giving you shit? Why, it’s a wet, cold slap in the face.

You need to stop giving him cash. He’ll either flounder or he won’t, but he needs to try. And you, my dear, need to focus on getting through school. Because going broke isn’t going to help you. And by the sound of it, you should be focusing on you for a while. You ever hear the proverb about teaching a man to fish? Well, that’s what is necessary here. Because if you keep paying his way, you’ll both end up at the bottom of the lake.


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