Brother, can you spare a grand?


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Dear Dave,

I’m trying hard to get control of my money and get out of debt, but I had a situation come up the other day, and I really don’t know what to do. I’m one of four brothers, and our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary is early next month. My two oldest brothers got together and made plans for a party without consulting the rest of us. They want everyone to chip in $1,000 to help pay for things. I love my mom and dad, but the only savings I have is $1,000 in my beginner emergency fund. Will you tell me how to address this situation?

Ronald


Dear Ronald,

I’m going to be blunt here, OK? Since you weren’t asked about any of this ahead of time, and had no say in anything, fair would be for you and your brother who weren’t consulted to pay zero. Zilch.

Planning something that expensive without consulting everyone involved well ahead of time – and expecting them to lay out $1,000 without warning – is way out of line. And don’t let your older brothers lay a guilt trip on you, either. This has nothing to do with how much you love your parents, being greedy or anything like that. It has everything to do with consideration and communication, or in this case, a lack of these on their part.

If I were you, I’d let your oldest brothers know exactly what your financial situation is like right now. Explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, then let them know in a nice, but firm, tone you’ll give them whatever you can scrape up, but you won’t be chipping in anything close to $1,000. Oh, and I’d tell them next time they hatch up a big, expensive plan like this, to check with all their brothers way ahead of time.

Best of luck, Ronald. I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

Dave

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