Linda P. left a note on my last blog post about the money I expect to need in retirement. The part of her comment that really caught my attention was this: "We were also the go-to people for our extended family when life dealt them financial blows. . . A fragile family member depends on our financial stability, so we must provide not only for ourselves but provide some backup for that other family member."
I relate to Linda only too well.
I am the "Go-To" person in my family. I am not the only one with a job, but I am the only one with any financial savvy. (THAT speaks volumes! When Grace is considered financially savvy, the family in definitely in trouble!)
I have five adult children, all adopted as older children from foster care, most of whom have permanent organic or emotional disorders that get in the way of education, employment, and (sometimes) common sense.
I am the person they all turn to when they run into problems, especially money problems.
I, in turn, use my newly-retired sister as my "Go-To" person. But unlike my children, I hesitate to hit my sister up for cash unless it's an emergency. (My darling kids would tell you the same thing about themselves, but with them, it's ALWAYS an emergency!)
A close friend of mine with a n'er to well son has actually borrowed money to have it available for him. I have never done that nor can I see myself doing it. But I do understand where she's coming from.
I have learned over time to set certain limits. My kids have figured out that they are better off asking me to directly pay bills rather than give them cash--they get more that way. The two daughters with children discovered early on that asking me to pay for things for my grandchilren (books, clothes, pre-school, college) was a sure bet.
If all of this sounds like a whine, it's not intended to. I am a grown-up, and I can turn off the money spigot any time I want.
It's just different when it's family.
I have no better explanation.