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Father Issues

ChenChen Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Today my father asked me if I could lend him money and I said no, which made him sad which made me sad.

A backstory seems appropriate.

My father has worked nearly all his life, saved up money and sold his business almost 10 years ago, hoping to retire. Things didn't work out that way. My mother died and shortly after he returned to his homeland to pick up his life again. He met someone there who he now lives together with. She has a daughter. He bought a house, car and everything. I didn't mind. It's his life and money after all.

As my father was quickly depleting his 'pension', he decided to start a few businesses there, but they all failed which costed more money. The stock market plummeted around that time, which didn't do any good. He asked me to wire money a few times, in the range of a few thousands, from his/our bank account that I use to pay the mortgage and other bills here and my living expenses, and I obliged. My father isn't the most cost effective person I know - my mother was usually the one to sort out the financials. I imagine he had a few hiccups which he needed to sort out. Perhaps I should have intervened at this point, but he was in another country and I had to worry about my studies.

Two years back he said he had to sell the house here to pay for his living expenses abroad. The mortgage was almost paid off so it'd have fetched a hefty amount, were it not the housing market crashed. He needed the money and since the house couldn't be sold on short term, I told him to take a second mortgage loan, around half the amount of the house price at that point. He took 2/3rds of that and left the other third for me to pay the bills. Things were back to normal. I added that he should be more careful when spending money, since he doesn't have a steady income.

Fast forward to present day, the house is still up for sale, he used up all his money abroad and asks me to wire money again. This has happened a few times, so I started to question him. He's trying to start a new business and needs the money to open the place. Since he still needs to pay the now increased mortgage here, which I've calculated can last us a year at most, coupled with past failed businesses, I said no. I inherited 1/4th of the house, so it's not like I don't have anything to say on the matter. Suffice to say we had a bit of an argument. I can tell he feels lost and abandoned.

This has a bit of a history. In the past, when his business was booming, he lend our relatives amounts in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands. No questions asked. Now that he's in financial trouble himself, they refuse to lend him money. He feels betrayed, so much that he doesn't seek contact with them anymore.

I don't want this to happen to us. As an only child, he's the closest relative I have, even though I hardly see him anymore. I know he made mistakes, but I fear if I give in, he's going to repeat them again, which by that time will force the bank to seize the house and sell it at an auction for a much lower price.

What should I do to patch our relationship up and keep it from worsening?

Chen on
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Posts

  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Tell him to move back home and get a job here.

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  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    This is an impossible question for people on the internets to answer. It depends on your financial situation and how close you are with your dad.

    Having said that, my advice is this: don't factor his past successes and failures into this. This isn't a random acquiantance asking for a loan. If you love your dad and can afford to lose the money, lend it to him. If you can't, don't. In that case there isn't much you can do except explain the situation to him and hope he understands it.

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  • CasualCasual worst polygamist Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Basically your father doesn't sound like an alcholic or anything and you said it yourself he's helped others in the past. This is mostly about your ability to give him the help he needs. Of course you shouldn't endlessly give him money to lose in failing businesses but if you can afford to help him without putting yourself in financial trouble maybe you should.

    It's a tricky situation and there is a point where you have to draw a line in the sand, personally from what you've said here I don't think that time is here yet. But that's just my opinion.

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  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Call dad and say:

    I know you're in a financial rut dad, and I know that...
    In the past, when [your] business was booming, [you] lent our relatives amounts in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands. No questions asked. Now that [you're] in financial trouble [yourself], they refuse to lend [you] money. feel betrayed, so much that [you] don't seek contact with them anymore.

    I don't want this to happen to us. [You're] the closest relative I have, even though I hardly see [you] anymore. I fear if I give in, [you're] going to repeat it again, which will end with us both in financial ruin.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Cognisseur wrote: »
    Call dad and say:

    I know you're in a financial rut dad, and I know that...
    In the past, when [your] business was booming, [you] lent our relatives amounts in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands. No questions asked. Now that [you're] in financial trouble [yourself], they refuse to lend [you] money. feel betrayed, so much that [you] don't seek contact with them anymore.

    I don't want this to happen to us. [You're] the closest relative I have, even though I hardly see [you] anymore. I fear if I give in, [you're] going to repeat it again, which will end with us both in financial ruin.

    Empathy and honesty...it just might work.

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  • NylonathetepNylonathetep Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Something smells very fishy here. I can't place a finger on it but who keeps trying to start a business and keeps running it to the ground?

    It could be as simple as him not being able to manage his business very well and constantly losing money as a result. We all eventually get to a point where we are like "Old man and the Sea", where we serious are determined to do something, but are way too old to handle it. The new women entering into his life complicate matter; he can't just pack things up and move back to American leaving a women he's involved in.

    It could also be someone scamming him... like all those scam artist trying to get people to invest in his floating sofa idea. Obviously people never see the money ever again.

    It could also be that women... and her daughter... or your dad trying to act richer then he can be. Love makes a fool out of all of us.

    What I'm trying to say is... you should really investigate deeper to where all that money went.
    I think that's the biggest issue here.

    Edit: OMG I just realized you are from a Chinese decent. Yes there's lots and lots of scams back in mainland (big six, if you know what I mean) You should definitely investigate if your dad is a victim of a scam. Chinese relatives are pretty heartless when it comes to money and you should know that. You should also pull your dad back to America ASAP. This definitely isn't going to end well.

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  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited June 2010
    o.O; It's one thing to have an appreciation for other cultures and be able to further contribute because of that knowledge, such as your recognition of the widespread prevalence of scams in mainland China right now. It's going a little far when your knowledge of a person's ethnic background makes you 'definitely sure' about anything.

  • NylonathetepNylonathetep Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Cognisseur wrote: »
    o.O; It's one thing to have an appreciation for other cultures and be able to further contribute because of that knowledge, such as your recognition of the widespread prevalence of scams in mainland China right now. It's going a little far when your knowledge of a person's ethnic background makes you 'definitely sure' about anything.

    FYI I'm also from a Chinese decent and I've heard a lot of horror stories back from mainland. It's not a case of racial prejudiced but a case of having more information at hand. Like I said... OP should really investigate into what's really going on instead of just blindly handing out money.

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  • ChenChen Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Tell him to move back home and get a job here.
    I would if the job market isn't a bitch right now, especially for someone nearing his sixties. I'll ask if it's an option. If he's really in trouble, he will have to come back.

    To clarify, it's not really lending as it's basically giving him money. In our culture we don't really keep tabs of borrowed money between parents and children. I wouldn't have much of an issue with it - my dad did raise me and pay for my education and all - if the following didn't happen:

    - He asks me after he's run out of money, instead of telling me his financial situation beforehand. This irks me as it shows irresponsibility. He has his pride and I know he doesn't want me to worry about him, but telling me when he's knee deep in debt doesn't sit well with me.

    - I don't know what's happening there. All I know he's burned a lot of money in the last few years, doing business and buying real estate. If the amount I give him won't prove to be enough he'll just come crawling back. I can't go there and investigate as I have my own life to deal with.

    - I can barefully keep my head above water financially. If I do lend him the money, I'd have to go through a rough time myself the following months, maybe year. I'd probably have to sell my possessions to pay for my living expenses. Not to mention the mortgage that needs to be paid until the house is sold.

    Even after all this I'm still undecided. We're family after all. Plus, next year, the contract term of my father's life insurance will end, freeing up a few ten grand. This is on my mind, but if this keeps on I don't know if we can last a year.

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  • DarksierDarksier Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Don't put yourself in a bad spot lending out money. I mean if worse comes to worse and he ends up with nothing you could always invite him home as long as you still have one. Help family out, but don't kill yourself in the process. That won't help anyone in the long run.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Unfortunately there is the logical choice, which you made. But also the emotional choice, which you are suffering with.

    You have clearly stated that you can not comfortably afford to give him the money. That is the end of the decision process. All other considerations are trumped by that fact.

    This is not a fun decision to make, and you will have to come to terms with the guilt you are associating with it. But the fact remains that giving him the money will significantly jeopardize your well-being.

    So, that being said, you are still struggling with disappointing your father. Its heart wrenching, and i empathize with you. Solutions? Is there a middle ground you could reach with him. give him a lesser amount that would not be a danger to your finances? Get him to realize that his choices are ruining him financially? Convince him to come home and nurse his wounds? Could you champion his cause with the family?

  • ceresceres Just your problem OoSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited June 2010
    Darksier wrote: »
    if worse comes to worse and he ends up with nothing you could always invite him home as long as you still have one.
    If you lend him money till you have nothing and he wastes it on whatever then you BOTH have nothing, and nowhere to go. It's hard to have to be the responsible one at times like this, and he might not understand, but that's what you have to do.

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