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Old 05-01-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
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Unhappy My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

Sorry this is long..

My sister is 40, not married and no children. She is in debt ($35,000 credit card debt) and close to bankruptcy.

Last summer she lost her job (laid off) and has been collecting unemployment insurance which will end in July of this year. She is allowed to make $100.00 extra a month with a part time job while on unemployment. My sister is hard worker and will take any job she can.

The problem is my parents don't see how she will be able to support herself once unemployment is gone. Her old job may hire workers back but it's up in the air. Parents want her to start looking now for a job. She is taking a course through unemployment but she would have to build up her clientele and apparently it can take awhile and spotty job offers. Before she was laid off, she was making $23.00 an hour and even then she was already in credit card debt and barely making ends meet.

Her house is in the country and her mortgage is cheaper compared to renting an apartment in the city. Plus she has 2 horses, 4 dogs, 3 cats to feed, vet bills etc. Also car payments, gas, hydro, propane, phone, cell phone, internet etc etc.

My parents want her to sell her house and they would take the equity, keep it in their bank account because if it comes down to bankruptcy they would take everything. Then they would give the money back to her when she is ready or dole out so much a month for her rent etc.

Also my dad says she needs to give or sell her horses and send the dogs to a friends house or somewhere because she won't be able to afford to keep them

My sister says she will not go bankrupt, she will stay where she is and she is not getting rid of her animals.

I know how difficult it would be to send your dog(s), horses etc to someone else as I love animals myself. My dad likes animals to a degree but as he says he would give away pets if he had too.

My sister believes that everything is okay but bankruptcy seems to be around the corner

The only time we notice she phones if she wants to borrow money or their is some type of crisis. She doesn't pay my parents back and she doesn't have the means to. Lately the money issue is becoming worse. The bank automatically withdraws money from her unemployment cheque to pay the mortgage. One time there was a glitch and she ended up spending her cheque. The mortgage people called and asked where is the money, my parents ending up paying for it. She doesn't keep track of money that well.

Not long ago she needed her car fixed. The mechanic needed a part that wasn't available and ordered it from another city, (my parents payed for it by cc over the phone). It turns out when the part arrived he didn't need it so he said it could be sent back as long as you have the receipt which my sister would have had but she told my parents she lost it. They were out a few hundred dollars.

Not long ago she asked my mom how much money they get per month with their old age pension, retirement cheques etc. My mom told her politely it's none of her business.

She lives 1,000 miles away from us so my parents see her once a year. Everytime they go, she wants or expects them to buy her things. Yes they do buy her things but only to a degree. She saw a bag of dog food in the store and said that is the food her dogs eat, she picked it up. My dad said do you have the money for it? She said no, my dad said I don't either. You go out to eat and she orders appetizers, meal, drinks, desert (for herself) even though she knows my parents are footing the whole bill. My parents will buy a meal like that for her one time when they visit but they cannot afford to pay for a full course meal each time they eat out. She will phone them at the hotel and ask if they are going out for supper. If they say they are going to McDonalds to grab a hamburger (okay some people don't like fast food but my parents know she doesn't want to go because it's not a nicer, fancier place)she will pass but if her going somewhere like Perkins, Denny's etc she will go.

She is living from cheque to cheque. My mom sends her a gift card once a month to help with food.

Her birthday was recent and my mom knew she needed a new pair of dress shoes. My mom spoke to her about it and my sister said she would rather have a digital camera because her's broke and she likes to take photos. My mom said you taking this course and if you get into some type of job you need some dress shoes, isn't that more important? After awhile she sort of agreed to it.

The past several weeks she has been phoning more and more, saying she needs gas money, $20.00 for a luncheon etc etc. My parents give it to her.

I want to say I'm not jealous. I live on my own, work etc. You need to help family but I'm worried about her taking advantage. My brother agrees with me. Both my parents say they have to stop helping her but in the end more money goes out the door.

I love my sister and I don't have the means to help her financially. Even my own brother can see bankruptcy heading her way. This isn't the first time she went bankrupt. About 17 years ago she did. At that time she didn't have pets and lived in the city. I can tell she is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and worried about her. It just seems none of us can get through to her. I talk to her gently. I don't want her to go bankrupt and neither do my parents but with the way things are going it seems that way.

My parents are retired and can't afford to be giving or helping her out financially all the time. My dad said a long time ago that she will bleed us dry of money. My mom said when the unemployment runs out my sister will likely have a breakdown and worried about going into the hospital. My brother says she may tell my parents that, make them feel sorry for her so they keep her afloat.

Any advice?

 
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Old 05-01-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

I'm kinda inclined to agree with your brother. I think she is playing a very bad little game. In my experience.....which isn't allways absolute truth to the ways of the world so I could allways be wrong.......but in my experience, people dont have nervous breakdowns over something like bankrupcy. I think if she were a single mother of 4, no money, nowhere to live, nobody to watch the kids while she went to work, parents just died, and then was forced into bankrupcy....that might cause a nervous breakdown. A breakdown is a form of shock, when things become soooooo out of control, and for a while, it's like the soul hides for a little while. They retreat somewhere inside themselves and become almost in a catatonic state. (I think that's how it's spelled) Anyway, this is a very serious thing, and I dont think something like bankrupcy would put her over the edege.....especially when it wasn't out of the blue and she did it to herself knowing better because she's done it before. The other idea is that somewhere, your parents made this big mental condition up for her so they could justify why they keep giving money to her. For some reason, it's really hard to say that there is no "GOOD" reason, but rather they do it simply because they love her and want to protect her from a hard time. But no matter where it is comming from, I have a feeling it's a hoax. Just a means for everyone to stay on the merry-go-round because everybody is afraid of what will happen when somebody jumps off. As far as your involvement goes, it isn't your money, so there really isn't anything you can do. You can try to talk to everyone about it, but my guess is your sister just shuts you out, and your parents either A. listen and agree with everything you say, however then, there is no follow through. Or B, they keep telling you how worried they are that she will end up in the hospital. So let me just say this, if she is sooooooooooo ill that she keeps spending and spending and spending and spending, then why wouldnt you want her to end up where she need to be so she could get some help? Because so far, nothing else is working. For you personally, I wouldn't worry about this. A group of creepy tall men in long white lab coats arent going to haul your sister away in a straight jacket to the funny farm. It would be a very compassionate and quiet thing for her to go through this, and she could learn alot about herself and what drives her to keep doing this. Like I said, this isn't the worst thing to happen. And I think more then likely, it's not at all what is going to happen. The saddest part is, there is really nothing YOU can do about it. It's in your parents hands and all they can do is stop paying for her compulsive shopping and let the chips fall where they may. If I could make one suggestion financially however.....if you could talk to a debt consolidation company, this would be a much better option then bankrupcy. It would however require that she be dilligent in making her payments. Good luck.
Melissa

 
Old 05-02-2010, 08:46 AM   #3
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

It sounds like you really care about your sister but you can't save her, she has to save herself and it seems like she is doing all the right things as far as collecting unemployment, learning a course, etc.

The problem I see is that your parents are enabling her and there is nothing you can do about that. My mother enables my older brother and in the past when I tried to talk to her about it, she only gets defensive. And my brother is 60 years old and recently lost his job. He is suffering from health problems so I am more compassionate toward him.

Basically there is nothing you can do. Many people are going bankrupt in this economy and losing their homes, etc.

If your dad says he can't afford to help her out anymore, then he should stop. Just because your mother thinks your sister is going to have a breakdown doesn't mean it will happen. Sounds to me like your sister is a survivor based on what you wrote.

If you are close to your sister all you can do is listen and support her emotionally, not financially.

Good luck,
Sunny

 
Old 05-03-2010, 07:25 AM   #4
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chantal1234 View Post
My parents want her to sell her house and they would take the equity, keep it in their bank account because if it comes down to bankruptcy they would take everything. Then they would give the money back to her when she is ready or dole out so much a month for her rent etc
Talk to a bankruptcy attorney before doing this. The BR trustee will look for conveyances like this. And, if you think about it, it's not really fair for her to stiff her creditors and hide assets.

 
Old 05-03-2010, 03:12 PM   #5
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

This is a 40 year old woman who can take care of herself, I think you all are too involved with her finances. There are so many things she can do. She can get a roommate, board other people's horses (that's what my parents did when I was growing up), start a business, and if she's working part time, I'll bet her unemployment doesn't run out in July. Part time work extends your unemployment benefits.
Sorry if I'm harsh, but this hits a nerve. I would worry about your own selves and quit gossiping about her. You and your brother and parents need to find something to do with your lives if you are so bored that you have to discuss her problems amongst yourselves behind her back. This is such a self righteous attitude! This isn't helping her at all. You are her family, not the next door neighbor.

 
Old 05-03-2010, 04:58 PM   #6
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

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Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Talk to a bankruptcy attorney before doing this. The BR trustee will look for conveyances like this. And, if you think about it, it's not really fair for her to stiff her creditors and hide assets.
I was thinking the same thing. If you are in the U.S., this would not be legal. It would have had to have been done years ago to not be caught. If you are located in another country, then different rules may apply.

 
Old 05-03-2010, 06:09 PM   #7
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

Most people, not all, but most who have gotten themselves into that situation in the first place just dont seem to really care. Bankrupcy is like a get out of jail free card and if they can keep any of the stuff they accquired along the way, all the better. I have never filed, and I dont have anyone who is close to me who has so I dont really know the legalities or how it works exactly. But I agree that it isn't right to just stiff your creditors and keep the goods. I do know several people who got themselves into some very tricky situations before and went to credit consolidation agencies and it did wonders for them. They were able to pay off the debt without all of the added interest in just a couple of years rather then 30. If I'm not mistaken, they wont take on a home loan or a car loan, but they will take on your credit cards and for some people, that's can be quite a big help.

 
Old 05-04-2010, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

Your parents are putting you in the middle by telling you all of this stuff that is going on between your sister and your parents. My mother used to do this to me with reguards to my brother. I ended up in therapy for it. It was so horrible. My brother and his wife were addicted to and dealing meth with 3 little kids. The stories that my mother would tell me sent me over the edge. She and my father were enabling them. I finally told her not to call me and tell me all of this stuff because there was nothing that I could do about it. She said that she just needed someone to talk to and I'm sorry but I told her that I couldn't listen to it any longer. After that, each time she would start up about it I would remind her that I didn't want to know.

That is what I would do if I were you. Tell your parents that you really don't need to know all of this because it is between them and your sister.

For their sake they need to cut her off. But, you can't make them do that. You can't make your sister step up and do what she needs to do either. You don't have any control and hearing about it just makes you worry and causes you stress.

 
Old 05-04-2010, 08:31 AM   #9
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

And about the bankruptcy...unless her debtors are suing her and getting judgements against her, there is no reason to do that. $35,000 in CC debt, while it sounds like a lot isn't really that much, not enough for bankruptcy anyway. Her problem is an income problem. Even if all of her debt miraculously went away, she'd still have an income problem so her income is what she needs to work on.

 
Old 05-04-2010, 02:39 PM   #10
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

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And about the bankruptcy...unless her debtors are suing her and getting judgements against her, there is no reason to do that. $35,000 in CC debt, while it sounds like a lot isn't really that much, not enough for bankruptcy anyway. Her problem is an income problem. Even if all of her debt miraculously went away, she'd still have an income problem so her income is what she needs to work on.
Unless she gets one whopping income I'd say $35k in credit card debt is a big problem. Even assuming an excellent interest rate this is 10 years of paying $500 a month to pay it off. So she needs to get a great job where she can cover all debt from groceries to buying a car without acquiring more debt and still have at least an extra $500 more per month to pay off this debt. I don't see that happening.

I'm not arguing with anything you suggest. I'm just pointing out that to a vast majority of people, having $35k in credit card debt is a huge deal and very few who have acquired that level of debt could do the steps in my first paragraph to actually clear the debt. So it usually leads to some sort of bankruptcy. And in my experience with 3 different co-workers who were making the exact same level of income I was, repeat bankruptcies.

 
Old 05-05-2010, 05:33 AM   #11
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

I'm a Dave Ramsey fan and I listen to him everyday on the radio plus go to his f b page and website everyday. I kind of just regurgitate what he says, I don't have any personal experience with bankruptcy (thank goodness.) Many callers call into the show and say that they are about to go bankrupt but once they tell him how much they owe and all of the info he tells them that they aren't bankrupt. They need to get their incomes up and pay off the debt no matter how long it takes.

Anyway, if she does decide to go the bankruptcy route she shouldn't try to hide any funds. That is fraud.

 
Old 05-05-2010, 08:13 AM   #12
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

She has already said she's not going to declare bankruptcy. The decision is hers, not her family's. Am I missing something? Has she been declared mentally or physically incompetent? I just don't get why the family won't butt out. She's already moved 1000 miles away, do you want to loose the relationship with her completely? I'm sure she feels like the black sheep, just let her know that you love her and will be there for her.

Last edited by goingdaffy; 05-05-2010 at 08:21 AM.

 
Old 05-05-2010, 02:47 PM   #13
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

Thank you everyone for your input and advice.

We live in Canada.

I agree hiding any assets or equity from the home selling would not be right. My dad spoke to her about getting a lawyer or legal aid to find out what she can do.

We don't want to see her possibly going bankrupt. She has been in debt for years and has spoke to someone about consolidating her debt. For awhile she was paying around $25.00 a month to help pay off her debt.

She moved away to attend university and likes where she lives so that is why she is far away from us. Our family does get along. Sometimes I guess parents stick their noses in where it may not belong but they are worried about her even though she is a grown woman. They have tried giving her suggestions.

My dad has said he has to stop handing her money when crisis comes up. He knows you have to help family but he says its gone too far and is getting worse with her calling needing money for this and that especially the past month.

A long time ago she thought about renting a stall out for another horse but she decided not to. Her house is small (one bedroom) and she doesn't have room for a roomate. This new course she is taking is starting a business from home.

My mom has problems with depression and anxiety, says my sister is similar. Mom said she almost had a nervous breakdown herself years ago and says my sister will too. I said that everyone reacts differently and doesn't mean she will too. I said let's hope she doesn't and think positive.

My sister is a hard worker. Maybe it's none of my business but I love her.

I can't help her financially. I can support her emotionally.

My dad is becoming angry because he feels she is not consulting lawyers or whoever to help her.

I said you can give her ideas or suggestions but she is grown and will make those decisions herself. Don't stress her out. My mom says she feels stressed and can't sleep well at night.

Last edited by Chantal1234; 05-05-2010 at 02:48 PM.

 
Old 05-07-2010, 04:40 PM   #14
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Re: My sister..worried and how to deal with this?

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Originally Posted by goingdaffy View Post
She has already said she's not going to declare bankruptcy. The decision is hers, not her family's. Am I missing something? Has she been declared mentally or physically incompetent? I just don't get why the family won't butt out. She's already moved 1000 miles away, do you want to loose the relationship with her completely? I'm sure she feels like the black sheep, just let her know that you love her and will be there for her.

I agree with this. And I think the first step for her to get the family out of her business is to stop accepting/asking for money from the parents. When you are funding someone, you tend to think it is your business. It's hard to pay for something and not expect to have some control over the outcome. And whether it's right or wrong, when one sibling sees another in this situation and causing family stress on the parents, they feel it too. Families are funny that way.

Chantal - you will have to step back and let your parents run with this. But if there's a will, you might want to gently remind them that your sister has already gone to the well a few times while they were living! That'll help to smooth things down.

 
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