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family + finances = mess

August 25th, 2009 at 04:47 am

I walk into work today:

mum: "B(her partner) told me I have to work out our finances and told me to ask you to help".
me: "um, ok."
mum: "yeah, because A has to give J (the cousin who is staying with them) some money, and he wants to know how much we have, and how much is left"
me: "well, that's easy. NONE."
mum: "well, we know that. but i have to work out our budget"

I don't know why I'm annoyed at this; by all means I should be happy right? Right?

This is something I have been talking to them about for years. literally, years.

This is why I am annoyed:

- I have been telling them for months that their business is struggling financially - but because they could always see a 'balance' in the account they believed I was being dramatic, or something like that.
- Despite me telling them this, they still went on a week long holiday last month.
- There has been no work for the past month, so of course they found time to play the pokies and have boozy dinners/lunches out every weekend.
- Meanwhile, my DF has earnt HALF of what I earn (because there's no work), usually he earns quite a lot more than me. I know the world is not a fair place, but I am still allowed to say that I think that's unfair.
- A year ago I told them they couldn't afford to buy a new car but they went and bought one anyway, the same day.
- I told them the business couldn't afford another worker, and lo and behold, B's cousin arrived two weeks ago.
- You'd think someone in financial dire straits would cut back on luxury items, but from the 1st of July to today (25th August) they have spent $1049.24 on alcohol and withdrawn $3080 in cash (and I can safely say that a very LARGE portion of that was dining out and pokies - more than 50% anyway, possibly 75% but I dare say it's even more than that).
- The accountant suggested we set up a company instead of a sole trading business, but there isn't even enough cash to pay the fees to set this up (but like I said, there's cash for overpriced beer and parmigianas at the pub).
- I also suggested we set up a separate personal bank account for them and pay B a WAGE, instead of living off his check account (which is where the business' money goes in and out). His response? 'The business can't afford to pay me a wage, I'm worth too much'. It just frustrates me because he thinks all the money he spends doesn't count for anything, he thinks he DOESN'T get a wage! Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you ever heard???

I could go on, but you get my drift.

Anyway, so the time comes that they actually want to do something (because I literally CAN'T pay the bills) and I DON'T want to help them. What is going on???

I just feel like I'm beating a dead horse.

I said to my mum, just because you MAKE a budget doesn't mean shit. You actually have to DO it. You have to STICK to it. That's what a budget is.

And she goes, yeah, yeah, I know, we will.

I said to her, I've tried this with you, I've asked you all to write down what you spend. And neither of you did it. You can't say "I'm going to make a budget" if it just sits there and does nothing. The point of a budget is to sit down and figure out what you spend, then compare it to what you earn, and whittle it down so that they are compatible amounts. And then you have to adhere to it, day in and day out. It doesn't do anything if you're supposed to stick to it and you don't.

And she goes "Well, we will, I just need you to help me figure out how much we spend."

I said "yeah, that's what YOU GUYS need to do, not me. It's no good telling ME you spend $350 on groceries a week and that's it, if you really spend $50 a week on cigarettes, $200 on booze, $60 on takeaways and $350 on groceries. You need to figure out how much you REALLY spend, yourselves."

Am I being harsh? I just cannot be bothered. They DO need to figure this stuff out, but I've held my hopes up for so long that I don't think I can raise them again.

I suggested they go to our accountant. He already said to me he would help them, when they finally wanted to help. For a few reasons. The first is, he can explain a lot of things that I probably don't know. He can suggest things I haven't thought of. And he is an independant body that has no ties with them. He is not their daughter or son, and they may take the advice from him better than they do from me.

It's just the whole thing of getting them there, first off, before things start looking up again, because then the whole cycle will start again. Not that the cycle ever stopped to begin with.

Anyway. Thanks for listening. It IS a financial rant, so it does have some place here. Big Grin

9 Responses to “family + finances = mess”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Yikes. I think you're right to make them go somewhere else. Just for the simple reason that if they've never been willing to try this again, it's either not going to work or not going to stick. You don't want to get caught up in it and then watch them blow it off a few weeks or months later--I did that with a friend and it was just painful to watch him make so much progress, get on track, see his debt-free future ahead of him...and then just stop budgeting and start drinking and eating all his money away at the bar, and one day AS overhears him talking to his partner who (though he is not the financial manager of the relationship) has to tell him they've been getting overdraft charges for a couple days. And he still insisted on picking up AS's tab, and she was too embarrassed to make him take her money.

    Whew! Sorry--I don't get to vent about this on my blog because my friend reads it, and he hasn't come to me for help again or to talk about it, so I can't really deal with it face to face either. But see what I mean? You'll just stew in your own juices once they don't give a sh*t again.

  2. North Georgia Gal Says:

    I totally agree to have them go somewhere else. If you try to help them, it only breed more resentment. They have to want to help and it doesn't sound like they are willing to change. Plus the accountant can lead them in the right direction for the business...I am not sure about there, but here having business funds going into a personal account leads to serious trouble! They should be kept totally seperate! How do you know if the business is making any money? I smell disaster! I hope you have back up plan!!

  3. scfr Says:

    Letting them go elsewhere is a good idea.
    If you are willing to give them another chance, tell them you'll only keep working with them as long as they are willing to do the bulk of the work and do what you tell them to.

    First assignment: Keep track of ALL expenditures for 2 weeks and make a report. If they don't do it or fudge the numbers (you'll know) then that's it, no more help from you.

    Second assignment: Create their OWN budget, and ask you for your opninion. (You could help by creating categories, but let them come up with the numbers on their own.)

    If someone spills something on the floor, you might help by showing them where the cleaning supplies are, and suggest the most efficient way to clean it up if they are inexperienced, but they need to CLEAN UP THEIR OWN DAMN MESS.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    "I don't think I can raise them again." Wow, I accidentally read this a bit differently than you wrote it, but I think I might have derived valid, alternative meaning. It does seem to me like you have been raising (rearing) your parents (rather than your hopes). Do you Aussies ever speak of "raising" children? The roles are reversed, You are the parent and they are the children. The naughty children, at that!

    When there is alcoholism involved, you can try,try, try. You can be the most noble, helpful, loving, even firm and guiding offspring. You can patiently wait, coax, aid, and advise your alcoholic parents. But so often you eventually have to give up to maintain your own sanity or to protect your own family (DF, any future children, etc.) Alcoholics can be supremely selfish and can taint so many other lives. Do they still have plans to have you and your DF house the cousin they want to hire yet cannot really afford to pay? Does that mean that you will fall to supporting that cousin in your own home while they drink up and gamble (? sorry, not sure if "pokie" is gambling?) the money that might otherwise keep the business afloat and pay the cousin?

    Are you legally endangering yourself by being their bookkeeper through all this funny stuff? Certainly their business accounts have tax implications. If you appear to be part of enabling that use of business accounts for personal consumption, could you be in trouble? You are not an expert, so be careful. Maybe your parents have already been told by the accountant they they are in legal trouble and that is why they are hesitant to return to him for help.

    It might be time for you to resign from involvement from your parent's business.

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    Yep...you were right to refer them to someone else!!

  6. Nika Says:

  7. Nika Says:

    I can understand your frustration. They are giving you a task that you know will result in failure.

    And probably the only reason they are doing it is that they are finally running into the wall and worry that they won't be able to do what they've been doing anymore. If they could, they would.

    So now, when they are running out of options, they ask you for help and thus will get to share their failure when it arrives.

    I think your frustration is from the fact that you don't believe they really really GET IT. And you know that unless they really really get it, it is completely useless and just entangles you in an emotional mess.

    BTW, he can't use his business account for personal living expences. It is illegal. If IRS ever looks into it, he will get into such a ****load of trouble.... he will owe back taxes, fines and penalties to the degree that will make his current troubles seem like nothing. I don't know about Australian IRS, but the one here could take anything to recover taxes that you owe -- your business, pension, house, etc...

  8. monkeymama Says:

    I agree with going with the accountant. I am always amazed how in line our clients are (& some of the stories how they used to be). It's a neutral party, and yes, accountants tend to have a lot of experience shaping up their clients, financially.

    Most of our current clients are pretty good, but we have a couple who think they deserve $500k salaries, even if these days it is entirely paid by a line of credit.

    As I mentioned in the other post, personal expenses are often paid from business accounts. As long as they aren't treated as "tax deductions," it's fine. PErsonal expenses are treated as dividends, return of capital, and/or loans.

    IT is excellent business practice, and easier on the accountant, to keep it all separate. The reality is few small businesses actually keep their businesses and personal expenses completely separate.

  9. Broken Arrow Says:

    That's a crazy world you live.

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