Friday, February 02, 2007

Sarah came crying home to Mom.

I need advice. Real advice.

Sarah came home a couple of days ago upset with Nicolas. No immorality, no abuse, or addiction problems. Long story. Also she might not want me to post it on my blog.

What I need to know is how far should I go in advice/comfort? First of all, I adore Nicolas. So that's not an issue. But they are considering a move which will entail some debt and we are nervous about it. I sort of said as much to her and let it go. We'll help them as much as we can.

I have to be careful, because if I make a suggestion, she takes it as an order and gets mad or decides she has to obey. I have to always add the caveat "you don't have to do this, just a thought."

But Bill wants to sit her down and really go through the financial implications of their decision. Which makes me nervous.

What would you guys do?


Proud Daughter of Eve said...

Well, obviously you know your family and dynamics better than I do but speaking as a young woman sort of in the same position as your daughter, I'd say that the talk sounds like a good idea. I would welcome such a thing.

That said, you guys want to try to be uplifting as well. When my parents-in-law talk to us about such things, often what I hear is them saying that its a bad idea, when what they're really trying to do is give us a clear understanding of the problems. So maybe present your talk in terms of pro and con and pair each con with a pro so they don't feel weighted down by a huge list of cons then confused as to whether or not the pros cancel out the cons.

I think what would work is a "here's what this decision is going to mean to you" approach coupled with "we will help you in any way you need."

My two cents.

Anonymous said...

If you make one suggestion and she takes it as a commandment, then lay out a few good options that she can pick from and tell her it is her decision. The she can think things through a little more clearly and not feel like you are telling her what to do.

If they are thinking about buying a house, its a real pain in the neck. If it a new place, you have to fight with the contractors to finish what they are supposed to do. If it is a new place, there is always more work that needs to be done than it looks like. And, no matter what, it will always be more expensive than you think it will be. Always!

However, the benefit of buying a house is the investment in real estate instead of paying rent, and the tax break on the interest.

Encourage them to keep well within their budget and plan for expensive repairs or upgrades. Do not ever buy real estate at the very limit of what you can afford, as doing so will end up causing serious financial hardship when unforseen expenses will arise, and they definitely will arise.

annegb said...

Eve, that's exactly how Sarah's mind works. I seldom say "it's a bad idea." But she takes what I say with such weight that I can toss off a joke and she will end up in tears. Also she's extremely off balance hormonally.

"Here's what this decision is going to mean to you." That's a good line, I'm going to use it immediately. I think I'll use the word "might" instead of could.

I did tell her we would support her and help her, that she is not alone.

Anonymous, it's not a house. It's a move that would entail them going further into unsecured debt. Quite a bit. They are thinking they will risk it in order to make more money, but I don't feel good about it.

Thanks you guys. It's scary to be a mom of grownups. You can threaten to spank a two year old. You can only watch helplessly when a 20 year old goofs up.

Proud Daughter of Eve said...

Glad my thoughts could be of help. :)

Barb said...

My mom is so good at letting her married adult children make their decisions even if they make her nervous. She and my dad have helped them financially at times. They do not give the money with any strings attached as far as I know.

a random John said...

If they are contemplating a risky financial decision I'd suggest that they shell out some money and sit down with a real life financial planner and get professional feedback. That way you don't have to put the relationship on the line when you give advice. Send them to an informed third party.