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Dotwithaperiod

Spin off- Cultural Views on Accepting Help

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In the debt thread, someone mentioned that many people feel it’s inappropriate for a grown man to get interest-free $ from a relative...and another mentioned it was cultural.

Can you explain that? I’ve never heard of this, apart from shows like the Waltons or Little House where some dad refuses help while his family suffers until the community convinces him otherwise. Which cultures look down on this? I see Hispanic culture as being very family help oriented, and Asian families that I know tend to all pull together and contribute until all the kids have their own homes. Are we talking about certain religions? I feel like I’m missing something. If it’s cultural to view a man as less of a man because he gets familial help, does it follow that these same cultures view actually helping others as a negative? I can’t imagine that to be true, either. Are we talking age, like really old people feel that way more than younger generations?

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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5 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

In the debt thread, someone mentioned that many people feel it’s inappropriate for a grown man to get interest-free $ from a relative...and another mentioned it was cultural.

Can you explain that? I’ve never heard of this, apart from shows like the Waltons or Little House where some dad refuses help while his family suffers until the community convinces him otherwise. Which cultures look down on this? I see Hispanic culture as being very family help oriented, and Asian families that I know tend to all pull together and contribute until all the kids have their own homes. Are we talking about certain religions? I feel like I’m missing something. If it’s cultural to view a man as less of a man because he gets familial help, does it follow that these same cultures view actually helping others as a negative? I can’t imagine that to be true, either. Are we talking age, like really old people feel that way more than younger generations?

There's a difference between refusing help while a family suffers, and asking for an interest free loan to buy something that isn't a necessity (ie food on the table, keeping the lights on etc).  And that might be the cultural factor.  That asking for a loan to buy a third vehicle, or to buy a boat, or a trailer or add a room to a house, etc (most of which weren't mentioned in the original thread, but most of which are also not seen as "necessities" in the same vein as keeping food on the table or making sure the toilets flush.

Not being able to buy a third vehicle that is a useful tool isn't really the same thing as suffering.  

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I have no idea if it's cultural or not but I noticed in college that most of my jewish friends had never been allowed to have a job when they lived at home but considered it a rite of passage in college to get a job as fast as possible.  This was true both for relatively poorer immigrant families and those whose parents had been surgeons for multiple generations.  They all seemed to take as much work as they could get, even temp jobs and bussing tables. I thought it was impressive, but I have no idea if it's the result of culture or just that the first person who wanted freedom from controlling parents influenced everyone else.

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9 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

There's a difference between refusing help while a family suffers, and asking for an interest free loan to buy something that isn't a necessity (ie food on the table, keeping the lights on etc).  And that might be the cultural factor.  That asking for a loan to buy a third vehicle, or to buy a boat, or a trailer or add a room to a house, etc (most of which weren't mentioned in the original thread, but most of which are also not seen as "necessities" in the same vein as keeping food on the table or making sure the toilets flush.

Not being able to buy a third vehicle that is a useful tool isn't really the same thing as suffering.  

Why is there a difference? You think some people think it is only ok to ask for help when you are down and out? I personally do reserve my ‘ help’ requests for critical times.....but I have also been offered and accepted help many times before I was desperate.  

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8 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

There's a difference between refusing help while a family suffers, and asking for an interest free loan to buy something that isn't a necessity (ie food on the table, keeping the lights on etc).  And that might be the cultural factor.  That asking for a loan to buy a third vehicle, or to buy a boat, or a trailer or add a room to a house, etc (most of which weren't mentioned in the original thread, but most of which are also not seen as "necessities" in the same vein as keeping food on the table or making sure the toilets flush.

Not being able to buy a third vehicle that is a useful tool isn't really the same thing as suffering.  

 

This is how it worked in my family of origin and hometown. For necessities, you swallow your pride and know that you will pay it back, or pay it forward, down the road. My family passed around the same $1000 for years, when we were all starting out!  And I've known of small town and church communities that did well at sharing, whether cash or loans of cars and tools, or swapping childcare. The cash advance works best when you're on a somewhat lateral footing. You don't want to be offered money by someone a lot richer than you. But if they're in the same bracket, or possibly if they've gone through what you're going through, that's different. It feels less like charity or condescension, and again, more like swapping around the cash among peers. You'll very realistically be able to help them out someday, or maybe you'll help their kids.

But for non-necessities, or even for desired investments (like tools or vehicles) that might make you wealthier later, you are supposed to stoically do without and work/save for yourself.

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3 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Why is there a difference? You think some people think it is only ok to ask for help when you are down and out? I personally do reserve my ‘ help’ requests for critical times.....but I have also been offered and accepted help many times before I was desperate.  

I think there's a difference because the OP used the word "suffering."  Not having a great and useful tool isn't the same thing as suffering.  That doesn't mean I think buying a useful tool is wrong, nor do I think it's necessarily wrong to ask for help from family to purchase a useful tool.

But from the cultural standpoint that the OP is asking about, I don't believe that not having a useful tool is the same thing as "dad refuses help while the family suffers."

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I'm not sure it's sociocultural as much as family-cultural, or even just an individual personality thing. Some guys just have more pride or ego or whatever tied up in the idea of being the sole support for their family, and on the flip side some families expect that offspring will be self-supporting from the age of 18 so asking for help as an adult would be seen as an admission of failure.

I grew up dirt poor with a father who would never ask for help because that would wound his pride. We were hungry sometimes (and a lot of the food we did eat was not nutritious, like jelly sandwiches on white bread with a glass of kool-aid), we had holes in our shoes and hand-me-down clothes, and my mother (and later my step-mother) were often seriously stressed out because they were the ones lying awake all night worrying about how to feed the kids and pay the bills while my father refused to ask for help. Ironically, once his kids became adults, he was more than willing to "borrow" money from us, with the promise of paying it back right away, but it never got paid back and no one was supposed to mention that. The only reason my father and step-mother aren't currently homeless is because I own the house they live in and I pay the taxes and insurance on it. My stepmother thanks me constantly, but my father never mentions it and he would never ever admit to his friends that he's poor. He tells people he still works (in his 80s) because he enjoys it (which is a lie), he still goes out to eat and such and acts like he has a retirement fund just like everyone else. The truth is that they are very close to the brink and would be on the street without help from their kids, but he would never ever admit that. 

I have one brother who is also reluctant to ask for help even when he needs it, and one who had no problem asking family to contribute to non-necessities like travel and vacations. My ex and his brother ask their mother to pay for things all the time (not even as a loan), and are annoyed that she won't just give them most of her money now instead of waiting for an inheritance. OTOH, their dad (my late FIL) took pride in supporting the family even though he didn't need to work because of MIL's money. So I think it's mostly an individual personality thing. I would definitely help my kids out unless I thought they were making a really stupid financial decision, and I don't think either of them would have any problem asking for help.

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I actually don't think it's that weird that someone might feel embarrassed saying they can't provide for their family or embarrassed to ask anyone for money. It seems like that would be pretty common even if you know help is readily available.

I think there's another aspect that can complicate things, which is that involving money in relationships, even with family, can and often does create complications and hard feelings. It would be great if no one ever felt taken advantage of or no one ever took advantage or no one ever flaked out on loans or got persnickety about what people spend their money on (I loaned nephew Bobby $5,000 for a car to get to work and now his family goes out to eat twice a week and he hasn't made a payment!), but money makes things sticky.

I have always taught not to loan things out unless I expected never to see them again and that's also how I think of asking for money...how would it affect the relationship if I couldn't pay this back?

It's not never done in my family but it's a big deal when it happens...with a contract and expected date of payback and such. On the other hand, if we're just hanging out my mom will grab lunch or buy the groceries and prefer it that way because she likes to and doesn't like me paying for her. But big chunks of money...I wouldn't like having that between us unless absolutely necessary 

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For traditional patriarchal Chinese families, getting help from the wife side is a disgrace. The wife earning more is already a disgrace and there is a derogatory phrase for it. If money is needed for medical emergencies or for starving children, of course the guys would just take whatever cash or in kind help.

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My soon to be ex-husband has no qualms with asking his older (some at retirement age) sisters for money. His sisters have a similar relationship to him as a mom, too. They all grew up in a different country with a very different prevailing culture than many here in the U.S. grew up in, though. My family, and most that I know who grew up in the U.S., would hate having to ask older relatives for money for basically any reason. 

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All that said, if we wanted a truck for whatever reason, in my family it would be really weird for us to ask either of our parents for a loan rather than financing it through a third party. I don't think it would have occurred to me to ask family to do that for us.

If we were in dire straights with no credit and trying to get back on our feet and needed a car to get back and forth to work, I know family would help.

This isn't a comment on anyone else's situation, just how it would work for us.

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1 hour ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

My family passed around the same $1000 for years

I love this.  It was free-floating for whomever needed it and seemed to replicate itself as needed.  :0)

 

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1 hour ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

In the debt thread, someone mentioned that many people feel it’s inappropriate for a grown man to get interest-free $ from a relative...and another mentioned it was cultural.

Can you explain that? I’ve never heard of this, apart from shows like the Waltons or Little House where some dad refuses help while his family suffers until the community convinces him otherwise. Which cultures look down on this? I see Hispanic culture as being very family help oriented, and Asian families that I know tend to all pull together and contribute until all the kids have their own homes. Are we talking about certain religions? I feel like I’m missing something. If it’s cultural to view a man as less of a man because he gets familial help, does it follow that these same cultures view actually helping others as a negative? I can’t imagine that to be true, either. Are we talking age, like really old people feel that way more than younger generations?

I don't know anything about cultural stuff.  Or much else, for that matter!  I think sometimes there is a backstory that isn't told, at least at the individual level.  Maybe what started as "help" (totally fine) became "enabling" (destructive to everyone involved and the relationships).  

My son, age 24, is finally finding his path.  We have thrown a lot of money at stuff over the years, and it turns out to have been at least partially enabling.  He's grown up a lot, and we are a bit wiser now.  So, he's going to this school which will get him a skill which will get him a job and he is FINALLY happy and engaged and diligent.  Never thought I'd see the day.  We are footing HALF the bill, AFTER he completes the course.  This is a kid who has to have skin in the game, to know he is earning it (in part because he has grown up a lot in the past year! thank God).  

This looks stingy to people who know us.  It looks selfish or crabbed.  But with THIS kid, this is what has to happen.  And I am glad it is finally happening,  

If he gets through this program in the next 4 months, he will likely be able to get a job that is at least 5x what he was able to earn in each of the past five years.  :0)  But we have to help him the right way.

For the record, had his path been traditional, and he been able to receive help without going sideways, we were ready to throw a TON of money at his college/post-grad education.  But HE doesn't work that way.

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15 minutes ago, EmseB said:

All that said, if we wanted a truck for whatever reason, in my family it would be really weird for us to ask either of our parents for a loan rather than financing it through a third party. I don't think it would have occurred to me to ask family to do that for us.

If we were in dire straights with no credit and trying to get back on our feet and needed a car to get back and forth to work, I know family would help.

This isn't a comment on anyone else's situation, just how it would work for us.

And I really don’t know how it went down exactly between his mom. I think there was a discussion of ‘son how do you get by without a truck’ and from there she offered to loan him the money.  I know she was happy to do it. 

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It's often a self esteem thing too. If someone doesn't feel they are worthy of help, they'll shy away. I've got a close friend who is struggling at the moment and I had to send them a 'School of Life' Youtube clip on the purpose of friendship to get them to even begin to understand why I think they are at all my responsibility. They always help me if I ask, though even when they are so angry with me they'd rather wring my neck. They grew up in a family where help was a form of shame-based manipulation.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

There's a difference between refusing help while a family suffers, and asking for an interest free loan to buy something that isn't a necessity (ie food on the table, keeping the lights on etc).  And that might be the cultural factor.  That asking for a loan to buy a third vehicle, or to buy a boat, or a trailer or add a room to a house, etc (most of which weren't mentioned in the original thread, but most of which are also not seen as "necessities" in the same vein as keeping food on the table or making sure the toilets flush.

Not being able to buy a third vehicle that is a useful tool isn't really the same thing as suffering.  

Fine. My question, though, is which culture thinks like this? I’m not arguing if it’s right or wrong, just the specific culture.

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16 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

And I really don’t know how it went down exactly between his mom. I think there was a discussion of ‘son how do you get by without a truck’ and from there she offered to loan him the money.  I know she was happy to do it. 

I really don't get the opposition some people have to borrowing money from a parent, as long as the parent can afford it and is happy to do it. If you have a choice between a 0% loan or a 5% loan, then clearly the 0% loan is the smarter financial choice! I mean, if a parent is taking it out of their 401K, or depleting their emergency fund or something, that's selfish to ask, but if the parent can easily afford it and wants to help, it makes no financial sense to turn down a 0% loan and increase the cost of the item by paying interest to the bank.  I once helped my sister out with a bridging loan when there was a delay in selling her house and she needed to close on the next house. She and her husband are very frugal and both houses were fixer-uppers where they did a lot of work themselves, so it wasn't like they were blowing money on a world cruise or something. It was only for a few months and it saved them a bunch of money, so I was more than happy to help her out. I really don't get the whole macho pride, no-real-man-should-ask-his-mother-for-a-loan thing. 

 

Edited by Corraleno
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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I think there's a difference because the OP used the word "suffering."  Not having a great and useful tool isn't the same thing as suffering.  That doesn't mean I think buying a useful tool is wrong, nor do I think it's necessarily wrong to ask for help from family to purchase a useful tool.

But from the cultural standpoint that the OP is asking about, I don't believe that not having a useful tool is the same thing as "dad refuses help while the family suffers."

Good grief. You’re still not understanding the question, lol. I said the only time I’d heard of turning down help was from old family type shows where the head of the home felt bad for accepting help, so when I read a similar view in the debt thread I began to wonder which cultures she was talking about.

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42 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

For traditional patriarchal Chinese families, getting help from the wife side is a disgrace. The wife earning more is already a disgrace and there is a derogatory phrase for it. If money is needed for medical emergencies or for starving children, of course the guys would just take whatever cash or in kind help.

Thank you! This is the type of info I was wondering about.

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in my culture, its expected that a family stakes a young adult so that launch is successful.  That can be a gift or loan or housing or mentoring or clothing or whatever is needed. Not all launches are perfect, so help will be given as needed.  No one is expected to starve or live in a tent or vehicle.  On the other hand, responsible use of resources given is the expectation.

In my spouse's culture, the male children pay rent once they begin work at 14 or 15, usually the equivalent of the electric or cable bill.  There is no contribution by the family to any vocational training or higher ed expense other than allowing the young adult to continue living at home and paying rent.  Any large unexpected bills the parents have are split among all who are working.  The children do not have any monetary help from the parents.

I don't see it as a country of origin difference, but as a class difference. 

Edited by HeighHo
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2 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I really don't get the opposition some people have to borrowing money from a parent, as long as the parent can afford it and is happy to do it. If you have a choice between a 0% loan or a 5% loan, then clearly the 0% loan is the smarter financial choice! I mean, if a parent is taking it out of their 401K, or depleting their emergency fund or something, that's selfish to ask, but if the parent can easily afford it and wants to help, it makes no financial sense to turn down a 0% loan and increase the cost of the item by paying interest to the bank.  I once helped my sister out with a bridging loan when there was a delay in selling her house and she needed to close on the next house. She and her husband are very frugal and both houses were fixer-uppers where they did a lot of work themselves, so it wasn't like they were blowing money on a world cruise or something. It was only for a few months and it saved them a bunch of money, so I was more than happy to help her out. I really don't get the whole macho pride, no-real-man-should-ask-his-mother-for-a-loan thing. 

 

Me either.  My parents did the same for us when we sold one house and bought another. I am glad Dh is not all macho-no man should ask his parent for money.  

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2 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

in my culture, its expected that a family stakes a young adult so that launch is successful.  That can be a gift or loan or housing or mentoring or clothing or whatever is needed. Not all launches are perfect, so help will be given as needed.  No one is expected to starve or live in a tent or vehicle.  On the other hand, responsible use of resources given is the expectation.

In my spouse's culture, the male children pay rent once they begin work at 14 or 15, usually the equivalent of the electric or water bill.  There is no contribution by the family to any vocational training or higher ed expense other than allowing the young adult to continue living at home and paying rent.  Any large unexpected bills the parents have are split among all who are working.  The children do not have any monetary help from the parents.

I don't see it as a country of origin difference, but as a class difference. 

Really? Which classes take money and which classes don’t?  I am curious to know which class I am in. 😂😂

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24 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

And I really don’t know how it went down exactly between his mom. I think there was a discussion of ‘son how do you get by without a truck’ and from there she offered to loan him the money.  I know she was happy to do it. 

Scarlett, I’m sorry if it bothers you that some are still tying this to your story. I was merely wanting to know which culture thought this way, as it was mentioned there.

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Just now, Dotwithaperiod said:

Scarlett, I’m sorry if it bothers you that some are still tying this to your story. I was merely wanting to know which culture thought this way, as it was mentioned there.

Oh I don’t care.  Lol.  Sorry I keep bringing myself up....lol...I am a little disturbed at the image some people are painting of a man who would let his mom loan him money for a non necessity....but whatever.  I know my husband is not some moocher. 

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8 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

in my culture, its expected that a family stakes a young adult so that launch is successful.  That can be a gift or loan or housing or mentoring or clothing or whatever is needed. Not all launches are perfect, so help will be given as needed.  No one is expected to starve or live in a tent or vehicle.  On the other hand, responsible use of resources given is the expectation.

In my spouse's culture, the male children pay rent once they begin work at 14 or 15, usually the equivalent of the electric or cable bill.  There is no contribution by the family to any vocational training or higher ed expense other than allowing the young adult to continue living at home and paying rent.  Any large unexpected bills the parents have are split among all who are working.  The children do not have any monetary help from the parents.

I don't see it as a country of origin difference, but as a class difference. 

 Thanks, this is what I was inclined to think, then I came up with a few examples that seemed the opposite, lol.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod

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Well I think in the US this is more a family culture thing more often than a particular culture of origin.  Some families I know are very generous, some are not.  My dad talked a big game about us being responsible and independent adults but he helped my brother many times and my mom is still helping my brother now that my dad is deceased.  She actually owns part of his home.  Meanwhile, he takes vacations just bought a big camper, etc.  So does he NEED help? No  Is he good at acting needy?  Evidently.  Has it caused some resentment between us?  Yes.  

So I do think parents should be careful not to continuously rescue an adult "child" that seems to find a crises around every corner.  I full believe when my mom dies my brother will come sniffing around my bank account and it will be a hard no.  There's never been a case where he would be without food or homeless.  

My grandparents never helped my parents.  None of them were of means at all.  I was first gen female to go to college.  My dad did graduate college but he graduated at age 27 after working his way through for many years.  I have received 2 somewhat large monetary gifts from my parents since graduating college (1 when I bought a house, 1 when I got married - we still paid for a good portion of our own wedding).  It wouldn't occur to me to ask for help.  My dad sold us a car once but it wasn't really much of a deal but it saved us from shopping and we knew it was single owner and in decent shape.  My parents did build up their own business and were well off by the time I was a teenager.  My brother has received money for legal help, additional schooling, housing, other crises, etc.  

I think there is nothing wrong with a loan between family members.  But I personally do not want to be a loan shark.  I've heard plenty of tales where this causes a rift too when someone misses a couple payments and then goes out of town for the weekend.  Honestly, if it were me, I could see being annoyed.  Depends on the family and the relationship.  The only people I can imagine being willing to help right now personally are our parents and happily they all planned well for retirement.  And our own children.  We are paying for my son's college but given how college works in the US, we are more than happy to do that.  And I fully expect he will have some launching expenses and growing pains after college and possibly consider grad school.  

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The other thing I wonder about is, my grandparents weren't in a position to help my dad with any expenses until my dad was well into adulthood. My parents, too, have their own bills and expenses and mortgage. My mom still works and they are both going to be on retirement/fixed income soon. My DHs parents already are.  So I do think some of it is a class issue maybe? As in, even if there were no issues surrounding asking for or taking help, or someone was happy to give money, there's not always ability to do so.

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15 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Really? Which classes take money and which classes don’t?  I am curious to know which class I am in. 😂😂

See, I would guess those with more money would maybe be inclined to help, and those who weren’t so financially secure might think their kids shouldn’t get help? But then my own extended family doesn’t fit that. 

So I thought maybe it’s the way a person grew up. My dad was horribly city-poor, my mom was dirt poor from the country. Both hungry Depression era. Wealthy as adults, my dad was a giver and my mom not. 

Then I wondered if it was related to political preferences, because I know the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” is at the fringes of a certain faction.

Maybe I was thinking culture of origin, when it’s more of a family culture, as @FuzzyCatz said.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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I could never ask my parents for money. My dad has helped out a couple times. Once when we had a long string of bad luck and then an expensive AC repair he offered to fix it. It was around $1000 I think. Another time we had an expensive car repair and he offered to pay half. He has paid for stuff for my kids and I know he gives my college kids help here and there that I never hear about. But I would have to be very desperate to ask.

I would like to be more open with helping my kids. I’ve always told them to ask for help if they need it. We might not be able to but we might. I also offer help in other ways. We co-signed for my ds to get a decent car. Just being willing to do that helped him get a good rate. I really want to be available to my kids to help them as they launch, particularly. I have always tried to stress that our fortunes are all tied up together and we are all a team and we are stronger together than each staunchly independent.

Since we are speaking about cars, that is one way I do hope to help my kids. I hope that we can give or sell for low cost to our kids our cars when we are done with them. Things like keeping decent cars in the family can help people out so much. I don’t see us trading in or selling our cars to strangers. I figure we have enough kids that anytime we are ready to get rid of a car there will be someone that could be helped out by it. 
 

I have thought a lot about this because I do want to change our family culture for the next generation. I do think about things like how to make sure things are mostly equal and how to manage expectations that it is not something that causes resentments. I actually think I’d be more reluctant to loan and I’d rather just gift any assistance. But I’m not sure how that will work out.

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52 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

 Thanks, this is what I was inclined to think, then I came up with a few examples that seemed the opposite, lol.

 

I see the split mostly in who views the money given as a needed investment in the future of the person receiving,and who views it as an entitlement, or as a means of avoiding the need to defer gratification for wants. That is a class definition.   I'm happy to give new grads and newlyweds a gift, I view it as an investment in health and a good future.  I don't see that they need to bicycle to work and sleep on the floor or couch surf until they are several paychecks in to adulthood and accumulate the first/last month rent plus deposit, car insurance, car payment etc and then can move on. That's just misery and the teens I see who are doing that are having a real rough time finishing Community College. 

I"m not seeing those with more money inclined to help on a personal level; they are more of the 'it's mine, all mine, I had no help, and neither should you'.  Maybe they get panhandled a lot. Maybe they aren't current with the COL vs beginning wages.  The people with the BTDT are doing the pay it forward.  The needed gift of a winter coat for example. An interview outfit.  Shoes that can withstand snow.   Gifted to people who will put it to good use, not treat the giver as an ATM while they spend the cash on wants that they don't wish to defer.

Edited by HeighHo
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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

All that said, if we wanted a truck for whatever reason, in my family it would be really weird for us to ask either of our parents for a loan rather than financing it through a third party. I don't think it would have occurred to me to ask family to do that for us.

If we were in dire straights with no credit and trying to get back on our feet and needed a car to get back and forth to work, I know family would help.

This isn't a comment on anyone else's situation, just how it would work for us.

Where as in many families it would be weird to take on a loan with interest when you could have one interest free from family. 

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1 minute ago, Ktgrok said:

Where as in many families it would be weird to take on a loan with interest when you could have one interest free from family. 

Oh totally, that's why I put the caveat at the end! 🙂

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Oh, also I have seen situations where help or loans or gifts are used as leverage or manipulation. So it might seem to an outsider that a person is too proud to accept or ask for help but really there is a lot of baggage that comes with taking money from family that doesn't come from a bank, interest rates be damned, lol. 

I guess maybe when I think of money and close relationships is very rarely simple and sometimes it's best not to entangle the two. I actually thought this was pretty common advice when it comes to loans to/from people you love.

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21 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Oh, also I have seen situations where help or loans or gifts are used as leverage or manipulation. So it might seem to an outsider that a person is too proud to accept or ask for help but really there is a lot of baggage that comes with taking money from family that doesn't come from a bank, interest rates be damned, lol. 

I guess maybe when I think of money and close relationships is very rarely simple and sometimes it's best not to entangle the two. I actually thought this was pretty common advice when it comes to loans to/from people you love.

 

I knew a couple who were willing to give their kids 100k towards a house under two conditions. The first was they saved the deposit themselves. The second was they would pay it back if they ever got divorced. 

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With the exception mentioned of Asian cultures, I think I agree that it is probably more family culture than nationality culture.  Whether it is appropriate to ask for a loan I think would largely depend on whether it would harm the person being asked and when the person being asked feels free to say no.  The conversation hasn’t been exclusively about asking for a loan, however, but even accepting a freely offered loan and I get the feeling that even accepting a gift might have been frowned upon.  My dad and my husbands parents were depression era kids - my MIL in North Dakota and my dad in Mississippi - and both have been generous with their kids, both in time and money correspondent to their financial situations.  Both have been helpful to kids that made less than perfect decisions.  Both came from not wealthy backgrounds that did the same thing so it is a multigenerational attitude in both families.  I have never had my parents loan us money exactly, but my mother has gladly loaned my brother a sizable amount because he would pay her higher interest than her savings account was paying.  It worked out well for both of them.  My mother can be manipulative, but not really with money.  I see it as a parent wanting the fruits of their hard work (their money) to be a blessing to their families while they are still alive to enjoy sharing it.

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We had been window shopping for a new-to-us vehicle for some time when we came across the vehicle we ended up buying. We knew it was a good deal, since we had been looking so long. But we needed Dh's bonus money to be able to pay cash for it. The bonus had already been earned and we knew it was coming, but it wasn't coming for another few weeks. My sister happened to be visiting when we saw the vehicle, and she suggested asking Dad to loan us the money. Dh and I were reluctant, but we did end up calling Dad. I told him about the vehicle and that we didn't have enough to buy it without the bonus. Before I even finished, he said, "Let me get my checkbook." He was prepared to write a check for what was in the account and also said that he could sell some cattle or grain. I don't remember which. He transferred the money we needed, we bought the vehicle that week, and I transferred his money back to him about two weeks later. It probably saved us about $5000. I think life works best if people do what they can for themselves and also if they help each other.

I expect my kids will take care of their business. I also, if something doesn't happen to Dh, think I will work after homeschooling and use that money (and probably a chunk of Dh's income) to give generously to them at various times. And the kids will always know that they will have a roof over their heads and food to eat as long as I do. My parents are still my backup plan if something happens to Dh. I can move in with them and make enough money to provide the other things for my kids. I have been out of the workforce too long to support us well if I have to pay for housing. And should my parents ever need anything from us kids, they'll have it. They won't want to ask anymore that we wanted to ask them for a loan, but any help we can give will be freely given. I ended up rambling, but our family basically believes that each person is responsible for himself generally speaking, but we are also each other's first support system and that support is given generously and with love.

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I think there's also a family dynamic thing. When we went through our hard times, my DH refused to ask his parents for help. I did let my mom know what was going on and we "borrowed" money from them (she refused our repayment). I don't think he ever told his parents that we went through a bankruptcy. It was hard not being able to ask them for help. They would have helped but I know that his dad would have been a jerk about it.

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12 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Good grief. You’re still not understanding the question, lol. I said the only time I’d heard of turning down help was from old family type shows where the head of the home felt bad for accepting help, so when I read a similar view in the debt thread I began to wonder which cultures she was talking about.

Good grief the post you quote for this was a direct response to a question by Scarlett and had nothing to do with understanding your question.

 

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1 hour ago, Meriwether said:

We had been window shopping for a new-to-us vehicle for some time when we came across the vehicle we ended up buying. We knew it was a good deal, since we had been looking so long. But we needed Dh's bonus money to be able to pay cash for it. The bonus had already been earned and we knew it was coming, but it wasn't coming for another few weeks. My sister happened to be visiting when we saw the vehicle, and she suggested asking Dad to loan us the money. Dh and I were reluctant, but we did end up calling Dad. I told him about the vehicle and that we didn't have enough to buy it without the bonus. Before I even finished, he said, "Let me get my checkbook." He was prepared to write a check for what was in the account and also said that he could sell some cattle or grain. I don't remember which. He transferred the money we needed, we bought the vehicle that week, and I transferred his money back to him about two weeks later. It probably saved us about $5000. I think life works best if people do what they can for themselves and also if they help each other.

I expect my kids will take care of their business. I also, if something doesn't happen to Dh, think I will work after homeschooling and use that money (and probably a chunk of Dh's income) to give generously to them at various times. And the kids will always know that they will have a roof over their heads and food to eat as long as I do. My parents are still my backup plan if something happens to Dh. I can move in with them and make enough money to provide the other things for my kids. I have been out of the workforce too long to support us well if I have to pay for housing. And should my parents ever need anything from us kids, they'll have it. They won't want to ask anymore that we wanted to ask them for a loan, but any help we can give will be freely given. I ended up rambling, but our family basically believes that each person is responsible for himself generally speaking, but we are also each other's first support system and that support is given generously and with love.

 

1 hour ago, ashfern said:

I think there's also a family dynamic thing. When we went through our hard times, my DH refused to ask his parents for help. I did let my mom know what was going on and we "borrowed" money from them (she refused our repayment). I don't think he ever told his parents that we went through a bankruptcy. It was hard not being able to ask them for help. They would have helped but I know that his dad would have been a jerk about it.

 

9 hours ago, Mom2mthj said:

With the exception mentioned of Asian cultures, I think I agree that it is probably more family culture than nationality culture.  Whether it is appropriate to ask for a loan I think would largely depend on whether it would harm the person being asked and when the person being asked feels free to say no.  The conversation hasn’t been exclusively about asking for a loan, however, but even accepting a freely offered loan and I get the feeling that even accepting a gift might have been frowned upon.  My dad and my husbands parents were depression era kids - my MIL in North Dakota and my dad in Mississippi - and both have been generous with their kids, both in time and money correspondent to their financial situations.  Both have been helpful to kids that made less than perfect decisions.  Both came from not wealthy backgrounds that did the same thing so it is a multigenerational attitude in both families.  I have never had my parents loan us money exactly, but my mother has gladly loaned my brother a sizable amount because he would pay her higher interest than her savings account was paying.  It worked out well for both of them.  My mother can be manipulative, but not really with money.  I see it as a parent wanting the fruits of their hard work (their money) to be a blessing to their families while they are still alive to enjoy sharing it.

I agree it is family culture.  Some people are huge jerks about money whether they have a lot or a little.  My former MIL was/is VERY wealthy.  She was constantly trying to control us with money. It got so so old. The worst was when she and her husband (who was a very nice man) OFFERED to send now XH back to school.  They offered living expenses, books and tuition.  It was a VERY generous offer.  But guess what they made me do?  I had to sign a piece of paper that said some nonsense about how I would not try to take any of that money in the event we divorced.  It was an exercise meant to  humiliate me because of course I would not have had a right to the monthly gift and tuition money they were giving to my then husband.  I signed it but man I wanted to tell them to shove it.  I signed it for my then husband.  

My current MIL?  A jewel.  She has no where the wealth of my XMIL, but she is generous and kind and never manipulative.  Dh spent a long weekend doing some remodel work in her kitchen to accommodate new appliances.  We had ZERO expectation of getting paid.  It was a chance to visit with her, see my sister in law.....and dh help his mom which is what he feels best doing---helping people.  When we got ready to leave she handed us an envelope with a sweet thank you card and a check for $800!  We about fell over.  

My brother who is dirt poor is also a jerk about money.  He is jealous and tries to manipulate peoples emotions and he has borrowed close to $10K from my parents that they know he will never pay back.  And he makes terrible terrible life choices.  And he does nothing for my parents. (mom and stepdad) He did take our dad in for the last 6 months of his life.  I know he got the little bit of ss dad got and he also got $12K that was buried in a mason jar in the back yard.  (literally).  Dad told me about it one day on the phone not long before he died.  A few weeks after he died, my  brother was putting new windows and gutters on his house.  A house he has since lost to foreclosure.  He also made a big deal out of giving me dad's watch (one of the few possessions the man owned).  I have it displayed in my home....I refer to it as my $6000 watch.  And the thing about that is that if my brother had said, 'hey there is 12K cash here', I would have said, 'keep it.  You and your wife did a lot by taking him in the last 6 months.'  

So yeah, it takes all kinds.  I am glad I am part of a loving and kind and generous family....my own and my in laws.  I try to be that way to my own kids too.

Edited by Scarlett
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Where I live I've not noticed any issue with people taking money from parents, generally those that have money help their kids, at least starting out. 

Dh's parents gave us a loan when we first got married, we paid it back with interest. He was looking for a low risk investment and wanted to give us a helping hand. We've not had a reason to borrow money since then. If we had really been hard-pressed we would have happily borrowed when his dad was still alive. We'd never take a loan from MIL, she is stingy and would hold it over our heads. 

Now, dh's dad did sell him his old truck at a decent deal when he got a new one. When he passed we bought that one from MIL for the exact market value.

I used to be of the opinion that you got to let the kids sink or swim. But from what I've seen a bit of help here and there really can make a big difference. I hope we can help them here and there to get a good start but our retirement will come first, not depending on them to support us will be a help to them and us.

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However, where I live this seems to have changed a lot since the cost of living has gotten ridiculous. My experience is that many will now have no problems asking for help with a down payment on a condo because of how much it costs these days. 

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For almost all of our marriage (actually probably still), dh's parents had significantly more money than we did. More than any of their children in fact. And they were generous. Always a gift. For a struggling child, there was always something. And no strings.  We accepted help with kids' lessons and activities, family trips, and the occasional "just because money."  that always seemed to show up when we needed a new appliance. We have a huge grateful heart and have tried to pass that along to our young adults. Gifts with no strings.

My mom has a very comfortable retirement and did help my siblings out- but I didn't take money because there were always strings. And you never knew when she might pull them. 

And it doesn't have to be money- you can be generous of spirit with time and possesions. Childcare, passing along a good used car, furniture... all kinds of ways to help family.

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In our family dynamics (for both dh and mine - which are totally different ethnic racial cultural backgrounds, btw), parents and other extended family OFFERS help at all seasons in life if they are able to do it.  The individuals who have it offered to them have the right to politely refuse or accept.  If the offer came with strings (which fortunately it never has) then I personally would politely refuse.  Then as we are able, we OFFER to help out financially others - some younger and some older as needs dictate.  Often the older generation is the one offering financial help while the younger generations are offering physical help (moving, shopping etc.) 

I suppose that some might ask for help but if so, it would be with the idea that the person being asked was free to say yes or no as they saw fit.  But if that is the case, people have kept it private. 

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One other thing that I think is a factor in this sort of thing is that some people feel really uncomfortable ASKING because they don't want to impose.  They don't want other people to feel obligated, they don't want the other person to think they feel entitled to the money, etc.

BUT, if the person is OFFERED help, they would gladly accept it.  

It's kind of a feeling like not wanting to "take" from the person, but willing to accept a freely given "gift."  

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Good grief the post you quote for this was a direct response to a question by Scarlett and had nothing to do with understanding your question.

 

 I see. But in the debt thread May mentioned both types as being somewhat less of a man- Scarlett’s case and one where her friend refused his parents help for their special needs child because he thought a man takes care of his own. Then it was called a cultural response.

I had only rarely heard of one type. I didn’t give a hoot as to if it was correct or not, I only wanted to understadnd what culture thought that in the 2 instances May gave, as I could not think of one. It seems to be more of a personal dynamics decision. Sorry.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod

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4 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

 I see. But in the debt thread May mentioned both types as being somewhat less of a man- Scarlett’s case and one where her friend refused his parents help for their special needs child because he thought a man takes care of his own. Then it was called a cultural response.

I had only rarely heard of one type. I didn’t give a hoot as to if it was mooching or not, I only wanted to understand what culture thought that in the 2 instances May gave. Sorry.

I think that perhaps in cases of "a man takes care of his own," that sort of thinking might be more ego driven than culture?  In some cases at least.  The idea that if a guy can't even pay for the things his family needs, is he fulfilling his role as the man of the house.

Which I suppose might be cultural as well in some cases.  In cultures where the gender roles are specific and strongly held beliefs, that can probably shape how guys see asking for help.  

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14 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Thank you! This is the type of info I was wondering about.

 

There is another element to it too which has to do with how financially comfortable the elders are. If the elders have “surplus”, cash gifts would flow down to descendants. If like my in-laws who have emergency savings but low pension stipend, cash gifts are supposed to be from descendants who are doing well to them instead (thus the kids being the sandwich generation). For multigenerational cash strapped families, everyone is just working and any “surplus” goes to stocking the food pantry or emergency funds. My parents are more affluent than me so money goes from them to us. The Asian (not just chinese, my Japanese and Korean friends are brought up similar) subculture I was brought up in is that each generation tries to pass down wealth so their descendants are more affluent and financially comfortable. My in-laws subculture is the traditional parents bring up kids as a financial guarantee for old age. SIL (DH’s sister) husband’s family has the same pass it down to descendants culture as mine. 

Events like first job interview, weddings, babies, cash and gifts and free loan of items would always be expected. For example, one of my cousin borrowed my formal work attire and briefcase for an interview. I borrowed my cousin’s winter coat for a last minute work trip. That’s a different scenario from cash loans for less urgent items like a top of the line baby stroller or a luxury car. I know affluent parents who gifted each child a brand new Mercedes Benz for college but most parents would tell kids to make do with whatever spare cars they have, or help pay for an entry level sedan (e.g Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic). 

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I think it is family culture. From the time that I went to college, I knew that Dad was not open to me asking him for money. I remember him complaining about my older brother calling home from college to ask for money. And when I first went to the college bookstore to get my books, Dad just stood there without paying, which is how I found out that I needed to buy my own books. He has always been horrible about handling financial conversations -- I remember my mom complaining about that to me. (He is an accountant). He did pay the room and board for school (I had a full-tuition scholarship), but he told me that I could not do any extra things, like a semester abroad, unless it did not cost him anything extra.

When I told him that I wanted to go to graduate school at age 22, he said, "How are you going to pay for that?" That was about the sum total of our conversation. He did take me to the bank and co-signed a loan, but it was completely clear to me that the loan was 100% my responsibility to pay back. There was zero chance that I would feel comfortable asking for him to help with that.

And if it was clear that he was not going to help with these kind of education expenses when I was still young, then I had no reason to think that he would be willing or able to help me financially with anything else. There were times when I was living paycheck to paycheck in my twenties, and I would never have dreamed of going to him for help.

I really think that my dad just could not afford those extra college expenses, but instead of having an open conversation about it, he presented a "don't expect me to help you" attitude.

So I would never, never, never ask him for money. It was clear he was not open to it.

Now, DH and I actually have helped Dad significantly over the past 15 years, by buying a house and renting it to him. It took him awhile to accept our offer to do that -- we offered when we realized he was in a financial pickle with housing, and we offered, even though that was a problem stemming from his own poor money management. Mom and Dad lived beyond their means for a long time.

So I am willing to give money to my parents, and DH and I are willing to help our kids in various financial ways. They are still teens, but there are ways that I would like to be able to help them financially when they are in young adulthood. I realize how that kind of help would have benefited me, so I want to do it for my children.

So my own children's "family culture" about money is different than the family culture that I was raised in.

I think it makes a difference that my dad grew up in the Great Depression, and I did not. Although my mom also grew up in the Great Depression, and the way she handled money was different from the way Dad did.

I really think a lot of these things are individualized and based on personal interactions within a family. I think that it's possible for someone to be willing to go to one set of parents for help, while being unwilling to ask the other set of parents or in-laws. I think it's possible for parents to be willing to lend money to one child but not another, based on the circumstances and the relationship.

I do think that there are differences in ethnic cultures, as well, but I can't speak personally about that.

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I can think of one scenario in dh's extended family that caused a LOT of family drama and a rift in the family.  Family extended a large sum of money so that certain relatives could immigrate to the West.  The recipients decided not to come after all and spent it all on luxuries in the home country.  So yes, the money was offered but I suppose that it did have strings in a sense because it was earmarked for a very specific need - one that the recipients had indicated that they wanted.  I'm not totally sure how it was resolved but know that relationships were never the same afterwards. 

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