Interfamily financial friction

by Anonymous

This CollegeConfidential post must have hit a nerve because it generated so many comments.

Is this “greedy”? Really?

FIL passed away recently. FIL (and the sons) were terrible about money in the sense that they were always throwing wads of money at each other. “Here let me pay for that. No really I INSIST.” “No really WE INSIST.” Yada, yada.

Typical situation: When everyone was returning to base for the funeral week, SIL spent $200 to stock up the MIL/FIL house with food for the incoming hoard (it was empty for the season when they winter over in the south). H gave SIL $100 because MONEY. Not sure why it was our responsibility to pay for stocking the house (there are 5 siblings) since we live in the same place and were not the ones eating all that food, but that’s how it is. We’re wealthy – it’s not like it matters.

So people were spending hither and yon, and H and I had a discussion about whether everyone was going to keep track and start billing each other. We agreed that since MIL is not poor in any sense of the word, and all this tracking and billing would be a PITA (and why?), we would generally have MIL pay for her own expenditures as we went along.

Since she has a hard time getting around, one of the things I am trying to do now is pick up things at the market once a week or when I happen to be going I ask if she needs something. I get a separate bill and have them bagged separately and she reimburses me when I take them in. Tonight, I picked up a few things she asked for and made dinner at her house as well. H showed up and tried to waive off the $10 for her groceries. I took the money because that was the plan. Now he is having fits and says I’m just greedy. I basically told him to pound salt.

The initial comments indicate some readers believe other issues besides money are at play here.  But isn’t that usually the case?  Money can represent so many things — love, prestige, self-worth, independence, etc.

Misunderstandings can easily occur.  I was recently surprised when a relative insisted on compensating me for my Uber expenses after I did her a favor.  At first I was a bit surprised, as if she considered it a financial transaction instead of a favor.  Then I realized that she just viewed these types of things differently and did not want to burden me financially.  And I made a mental note that she would probably expect to be compensated if I asked her for a similar favor.

How does your family operate?  Do they “nickel and dime” expenses among each other?  Or do they tend to be more casual?  How are restaurant bills split?  Have you had major (or minor) disagreements?  Financial dealings between parents and their children can be particularly touchy.  Part of what makes these types of dealings potentially more complicated are discrepancies between family members’ wealth.  But even when everyone is in a similar financial position, misunderstandings can occur.

Have you ever borrowed or lent money to family?  How did that turn out?l


Locations in three words

by Anonymous

Have you heard of what3words? It’s a new addressing system to help people communicate specific locations. One can currently do that with coordinates, but those are prone to error – telling the pizza guy you want your order to come to 34.057905°N 118.208899°W may get you to the entrance of USC’s hospital but giving the guy 31.057905°N 118.208899°W will get you a few hundred miles off of the Mexican Coast.

In order to have accuracy, you have to have a lot of numbers. In order to use traditional addresses, you need an agreed upon system of words and numbers – which much of the world doesn’t have. Enter what3words – a set of word-based coordinates that identify a 3×3 meter square.

I think it is the most interesting thing. My college’s art gallery is matrons.defend.smokers, which is awesome. Given the size of the gallery (or your house) there are 10s or 100s of choices. Some of them are brilliant. The whole ideas is a combination of nerdy, whimsical and social justice – being able to provide ambulance or mail delivery to the slums changes people’s lives.  [link updated]

what3words keeps Olympics visitors on track in Rio

This is probably not the discussion where people disclose the coordinates of their front door – but perhaps their favorite beach. What do you use to find your way without addresses? How can that be improved? Is everyone else as in love with this as I am?