Thursday, June 19, 2014

No Money To Waste

My son and his wife decided (finally) to let everyone know that they are already married.  I don't know how (or really, if) they managed to keep it a secret for so long but ..... the deed is done.  I have a feeling that the wife's family already knew because there has been no real outcry and no drama.  Something tells me that this cat was let out of the bag a long time ago.

Regular readers might have noticed that I stopped talking about The Wedding altogether.  I decided months ago that (a) I was opposed to the deception involved in planning a big wedding which would have involved inviting people from near and (especially) far who had no idea that my son was already married and (b) I was not going to pay one thin dime for a party that really didn't need to happen on the grand scale that was being planned by my son and his wife.  Color me a pooper!

Well, I am guessing that the bills started to add up or the estimates for venue/food/expenses in general were just too large .... either way, my son realized that spending such a large amount of money on a party was wasteful.  Nothing like pushing the responsibility where it belongs!  There is no way the spouse and I can afford a pointless hoo-rahh when my son has already been married for almost 2 years.  No way at all.  And I am glad that things have worked out the way they have for a number of reasons, not least of which being that the wife is finally coming down to earth finance wise when it comes to our finances.

There was a general unspoken vibe that gave me the impression that the wife thought we were going to pay for everything.  I'm not sure where her attitude came from ..... probably from seeing us bail our son out here and there back in the day.  If he needed a car, we bought it.  If he needed money for bills, we provided it.  Whenever he wanted to discuss a big financial expenditure that he couldn't finance himself, we were all helpful ears.  Well, we had to change the way we dealt with ALL of our children and I won't say it hasn't been painful for them.  Not so much for us.

It wasn't a gentle let-down either.  It was sudden and abrupt.

Mom, I need a car.  You had better get a job and get saving for one.
Mom, I need help with bills.  We will front you just this one time but you have to pay us back.
Mom, I want to go to summer school.  Sorry, we don't have $7000 for that this year.
Mom, we want to plan a wedding.  How much is that going to cost YOU?

And so on.  Every time we felt that our kids were acting as if they were entitled to our money, we turned the request around and batted it right back at them.  This is what one has to do when the gravy train stops running.  It was either continue to fund (often wasteful) requests and projects or .... sacrifice the spouse's retirement and it wasn't going to be the spouse anymore.  And especially after we gave our son a large sum of money to ostensibly complete job training .... only to discover that every cent of it had been frittered away on the wife's bullshyte spending.

It's surprising just how easy it gets when the money isn't there to give or to lend.  It becomes very cut and dried.  We have no feelings of guilt, which used to be my big hurdle to get over.  Probably in order to make myself feel better about the things that have happened in the past, I readily jumped to the financial rescue time and time again.  Now, I am blatantly honest with my kids about what they can reasonably expect from us in terms of money lending: not much.  And I think we are all the better for it.  My kids are all having to become much more resourceful and, for two of them in particular, it has been a boon.  They have shown themselves to be very resourceful indeed.

Yes, we are still funding college.  We have told the college attending kids that regardless of whether or not they graduate next year, we are funding just the 2014/15 school year only.  That means one more year of a free ride.  If they work hard, they can all be graduated next June.  If they flunk classes, get lazy, lollygag ..... it's on them.  They can graduate next year if they want to.  So, we are pushing the responsibility where it belongs.


Kay B said...

Even though they have been married two years now have they thought about having just a party or cook out? Something that is cheaper but yet still allows everyone to get together and celebrate.

Jerry Critter said...

Kids must grow up eventually. Sometimes they do it on their own. Sometimes they need a little nudge. Sometimes they need a big kick in the ass. As a parent, it is sometimes difficult to know which one is required. said...

It's... strange alright, that they've been married for 2 years, but pretend they aren't, and wanted to host a wedding. I've seen many times when people (mostly older adults) get married years ahead through civil court, and then want to host a reception years later. But the events are usually very tuned down, and people knew they were married and that this was the reception they never got. Good for you that you're handing them the torch. I've heard it's easy to spend money that isn't yours, but very hard to part with your own. Hopefully they get the message. A small cookout or small reception somewhere would be better fitted, in my opinion.

Scooze said...

Good for you for standing up for yourself! They'll survive. And you'll be able to sleep at night knowing you won't go into the poor house.

Janelle B said...

I have wondered if The Wedding event happened and I missed it. Happy to hear you are setting and enforcing boundaries with your young adult children. My daughter is engaged and getting married sometime, but she has her sights and goal set on home purchase first then wedding, and wedding and celebratory reception will be modest. We have a set amount to contribute to the marriage cause, but it's up to her whether she'd rather have us contribute to a wedding OR the home purchase funds.

Revanche said...

I'm very glad you set the boundaries. If they're old enough to take a huge step like getting married, they're more than old enough to start taking care of their own expenses.

We did a wedding shebang 2 years after but my family didn't actually know we'd already been legally married. I couldn't tell them; I'd let them all down not doing the traditional engagement and here I was not doing the traditional wedding either. Still cost a fortune but we paid every penny of it, and paid out for our parents' and guest stuff where we could do (hosted our own cheap little rehearsal lunch, paid for all guest meals for those guests spending time with us coming up to the day). If you're going to do stupid stuff like a big party thing, you better be paying for it yourself :)

Donna Freedman said...

Well done you! It's for their own good, right? (Yours, too.)

Jane said...

I'm with you! My daughter has somewhat gracefully accepted the fact that in July she starts paying rent if she continues to live with me (age 23). I'll be retired then and living on a pension - half of what I'm used to living on so she needs to pitch in. I'm thankful we didn't have a big argument about it!

Anonymous said...

The is absolutely nothing "abusive" about charging your adult children rent if they want to continue to live with you. I think, Quest, that you have let Cat stick around far too long - I thought you were having her leave in the Spring? Shall be interesting to see if you actually stick to your guns this time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your decision, but maybe not the way it was handled. They are adults or on the cusp of being adults, you can talk to them honestly. Most of your lives were not good with money. Trying to clean up our act and we are trying to prepare for retirement, when your father is going to be retired soon, and our house is not paid off, and we have less money than we would like for retirement. And that you hope that they as adults, save for their retirement starting with their first jobs, so they are not put in a position like you were. The way you were saying yes yes yes, and then suddenly no, may be confusing and telling them the truth may be an educational moment for them too.

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