Q: We have bailed out our adult son and his wife so many times that we are dead broke. Our savings are gone and so is most of our monthly income. I bring home $1,000 a month and my husband is a disabled vet with an income of $2,000 a month. My son has a good job and his wife works, but they think it’s more important to have fun than pay bills. Unfortunately, there is never enough money after the fun to pay the bills. It’s always, “The lights are going to be shut off” or “The car is going to be repossessed” or “There’s no food in the house.” They have two kids and another on the way. Do we let them go without electricity and food for our grandkids or do we just keep shelling out?
A: Here’s what you probably already know: if your son has a good job and his wife works, your grandchildren are not going to starve. Yes, the lights might get shut off and yes, the car might be repossessed and yes, those consequences might be the best things that ever happened to this pair of overgrown teenagers.
Your son and his wife know they can push your buttons with these tales of dire “emergencies” created solely by their own irresponsibility. It’s long past time for you and your husband to disconnect the wiring that has caused you to impoverish yourselves for their benefit. Saying, “No, I’m sorry, we can’t help you” may not cure their free-spending ways, but it will keep your financial ship from being sunk in their wake.