This won't end well and it's really not helping anyone
April 29, 2012 6:26 PM Subscribe
I believe that my parents are about to make a terrible financial mistake by purchasing a house for my sister. When I bring up my objections, they assume it is because I am jealous and they get defensive. How can I express my concerns in a way in which they will listen, and not just brush my concerns off?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My sister is 35 and she suffers from untreated depression and social anxiety. She is able to hold down a $12/hour job. She is not able to do simple things, like go to a coffee shop or a movie alone. Mentally, she seems much like a teenager because she simply lacks the life experiences that most of us have experienced by that age. She still wants to go out, though, and depends on my parents to pick her up and take her out to lunch, to the lake, etc. She tends to be manipulative in that regard. She is a smart person -- has a college degree -- but the anxiety has overshadowed that potential.
My parents are in their late 60s. My dad has stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. My mom suffered a stroke that has left her blind in one eye. Because of these challenges, they recently downsized to a smaller ranch house.
My sister soon started telling them (and me) that she would like a house too and that we should make arrangements to get her one. I declined. My parents are eyeing a $170,000, 1500 sq-ft, 3-bedroom villa in a gated community for her. Obviously, with her income, my sister can only afford about $600/month. My parents would be responsible for the rest as well as the association fees. They would also need to take care of all repairs and maintenance on the house, inside and out. (My parents also gave her a 5-year old SUV and they change the oil, air up the tires, vacuum it out for her, etc., for example ... she can't handle going to Jiffy Lube or dealing with a mechanic on her own.)
My parents do not have much in savings, although they own their own house outright. I am concerned about three things: 1.) The financial implications for my parents, 2.) The additional responsibility of caring for a second house 3.) What happens when they can't take care of my sister any more? I have two young children and would not be in the position to pay for the house/take care of maintenance and repairs.
I cannot approach my sister because she will literally start crying and screaming (she has gotten physical in the past with me, pushing and shoving). How can I express my concerns to my parents, who see buying my sister a house as a way to ensure her happiness?