A Double edged sword...WWYD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 02-04-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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My Dad is turning 80 in April.  I'm in charge of planning the party but I've been sweating it bcs the party is in SF (where we all grew up) and to fly my family of five out there would pretty much wipe out my emergency fund until our tax refund hits. 


He had mentioned at one point that he would be sending for everyone, but hadn't mentioned it since, so I was in the unfortunate position of having to ask him what his plans were in regards to that.


He emails me, "I guess I forgot to tell you, I was going to give you $2000 for each person in your family. Do you think that would be enough?". I was SHOCKED at this and replied to him, "More than enough and much too generous. I don't think that much is necessary".( I have three siblings that he is also doing this for, all with kids)


But in my brain, I'm calculating how much airfare, lodging, rental car, meals out, new outfits, etc are going to cost and I'm realizing it would pretty difficult to spend even half of that. So I get excited about throwing a huge chunk of change at my credit card. And he emails back a couple of days later..."You can always return what you don't use".  


It might be like him to refuse the money back. But in case that's NOT the case, I'm stuck between trying to travel frugal as usual so I can make a huge dent in my cc debt.  Or just blowing the walls off this trip. Maybe a quick trip to Disney, send for one my aunts who can't afford the flight, offering to pay for part of the party (which my dad is paying for t this point


I haven't told any of my sibling the particulars of this email, as I want to make sure my dad doesn't change his mind (not that that is his style, but it just seems overly-generous). But I guess I want to make sure we are all on the same page (one of my siblings is notorious for being cheap, so  I can almost imagine him not offering to pay for nothing and pocketing as much as possible) and another sibling is very financially comfortable and has said numerous times that we shouldn't accept any money from my dad.


I'm a little overwhelmed....wwyd?


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#2 of 13 Old 02-04-2012, 04:09 PM
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Uh... go on the trip spend the money needed and then return what you do not use.  Don't even think about your credit card.  You're being given a free trip. 

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#3 of 13 Old 02-04-2012, 04:59 PM
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I generally treat other people's money as carefully as my own so I'd spend the same regardless of whether I was going to return what was unspent or not. I might be tempted to spend some of my emergency money on an area attraction if I was going to be in the neighborhood (I'd love to take ds to Legoland). If it turns out he doesn't want change after the trip, you can decide what to do with what is left then. But I wouldn't spend extra because someone else was footing the bill, beyond actually staying in a hotel vs under a bridge;-)

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#4 of 13 Old 02-04-2012, 05:20 PM
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I agree with PPs.  I guess I don't see it as a double-edged sword.  Travel comfortably and enjoy yourselves, but he didn't offer to give you the money for any other purpose.


A quick tip for credit cards from someone who has BTDT and got out of the hole:  a) don't use them unless you don't have enough money for absolute, real-deal emergencies (ie:  not having enough to eat), and b) call your credit card companies and request a lower APR.  If your payment history is clean, they will usually lower them.  Google Dave Ramsey or Suze Ormon.  Following their programs got me out of debt for good except my mortgage.

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#5 of 13 Old 02-04-2012, 05:54 PM
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I think it depends on your dad's financial situation. Is he solid enough with money that it would be no problem for him if you spent all the money? can you even tell him that the extra money will be a great help and you really appreciate it?

If it is no skin off of his back and he has offerred the money to you then I would say go for it.

If on the other hand you would feel guilty because you know it would be a hardship for him, then use it for the trip and return the rest.

but either way I think it is best to be honest with your dad about what you do because then you won't have to feel guilt.

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#6 of 13 Old 02-04-2012, 08:48 PM
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Just a thought,  Your dad could be thinking the 2k per person equals 10k for YOUR family and that 10k is close to the IRS 'gift' amount per year.  I realize its per 'person' not family and I'm not totally sure on the 10k number anymore but that could be your dad's thinking.  A bit of estate planning.


I would take the $$, get tickets, a rental car, hotel etc and see how much you have left over.

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#7 of 13 Old 02-05-2012, 05:52 AM
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Be has frugal as you can with the trip and give back what you don't use.

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#8 of 13 Old 02-05-2012, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.  I was talking to dh about it, and his attitude is that if we give my dad the "extra" back, maybe my dad will feel good, knowing that we don't "need" the gift.  Which isn't exactly true.  Dh and I have unfortunately really been struggling the last couple of years, so a windfall like that would help enormously, so it feels a little like posturing.  But I get my dh wanting my dad to feel like our little family is doing ok. 


I don't think we'll be "as frugal as possible" and give the rest of the money back.  I think we'll probably stay at the same hotel as my brothers instead of trying to crash on the floor of friends' houses, book airline tickets that don't require us leaving at 5am, get new outfits for my dds instead of having them wear hand-me-downs to the party, maybe even get us all haircuts....you know, plan a comfortable trip without going crazy, but still looking for "deals". But plan on giving my dad back the balance. BTW, I'm not 100% sure of his financial situation, but he and my mom live very comfortably, drive new cars, travel extensively, eat out all the time...kind of the way I grew up.  If money was tight, he would NEVER offer such a generous gift.

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#9 of 13 Old 02-05-2012, 08:18 PM
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that sounds like a good plan! Enjoy the trip!

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#10 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 08:50 AM
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Yeah, I'm of the mind of zebra15.  At 80, your dad may be thinking "can't take it with me! and, hey, it's my 80th so why not spend it on bringing me entire family around me?" My mom is 68, retired and just got back from Australia yesterday.  She knows how I'm doing financially and when she offers to pay for my daughter's airfare to visit her, or leaves a check at the end of her visit, I accept it, thankfully.  And I'm an attorney with a good paying job.  But, she knows our full financial situation and that we're not here because we were frivolous and wasteful.   I know my mom doesn't give what she can't afford and doesn't offer what she thinks is not appreciated or deserved. I say all that to say that you know your father's history of giving.  Take that to heart in your decision and enjoy it. 

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#11 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Uh... go on the trip spend the money needed and then return what you do not use.  Don't even think about your credit card.  You're being given a free trip. 

Yes, this. nod.gif  Sounds fun!

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you." Buddha

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#12 of 13 Old 02-06-2012, 12:00 PM
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I am also of the use it and enjoy it mindset.  It occurs to me that part of the gift your dad is giving you is freeing you from worrying about $$ on the trip.  Perhaps he'd like to see you spash it out in a nice hotel instead of crashing with friends.  I think spending it on the trip is in keeping with the spirit of the gift.  Then at the end, know you may have a nice windfall, may not.

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#13 of 13 Old 02-07-2012, 06:51 AM
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I would take the money (travel comfortably but not extravagantly & return what you don't use) but I'd also make sure that you actually receive the money before buying anything. I don't know your dad but I can picture some people getting all excited about a plan to give lots of cash to their kids but then when it comes down to it, they just don't have the money. Or some kind of last-minute emergency (hospitalization or something, who knows) thwarting his plans. It sounds like it would be financially disastrous for you if you paid for things yourself and he wasn't able to give you the money he promised to cover it, so just make sure you have it in hand first.

If you are close enough with your dad to feel comfortable saying this, you could just say, "Gee Dad, that's a lot of money, I'm guessing the trip will only cost us half of that. The rest could really go a long way in paying down some of our debt, what were your intentions for the leftover money? We're happy to return whatever we don't use, just let us know what you'd planned on!"
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