Invites you can't afford or traveling at Christmas: Money-related issues with loved ones, answered

- Financial issues with friends or family can have a devastating effect on relationships, no matter the circumstances.

Dr. Jenn Mann, author of "The Relationship Fix" which taps into the root issues to help rebuild communication, joined us on Good Day LA with tips on how to overcome a few scenarios.

What is the appropriate response when I get an invitation and I must decline because I can't afford it. I'm trying to cut my expenses, and I'm embarrassed that I can't afford non necessities. I appreciate the invitations, and sometimes, if it's worth it to me, I will accept. I don't want to lie when I really want to say, "This expense isn't worth it to me." What can I say that won't hurt anyone's feelings and won't get me caught in a lie?

•    Why you are choosing not to go is no one else's business.
•    It is rude to say it is "not worth it" and if you are uncomfortable sharing that it is not in your budget, which is a very understandable reason to not participate, you are better off just saying, "Thanks so much for including me but I already have other plans." 
 
I'm planning to travel in December and saving up for the trip. The issue is, I'm going during my birthday, and it’s Christmas.  I'd like my family to help me with the cost of the trip, instead of buying me gifts. How do I go about telling them that I prefer money instead of gifts without sounding selfish or pushy?

•    People prefer to give gifts that will be used and are appreciated.
•    You can always say, "I'm not sure what you were planning to get me for Christmas/my birthday. I am saving up for a trip and if you would be willing to put whatever you might have been planning to spend on a gift for me towards this trip, I would be so grateful. Every little bit helps!"
•    Once you make your desires known, you have to let go of the outcome.
•    Do make sure to send a thank you note if the put money towards the trip. Too often today, people forget.

We saved for and bought a vacation home last year. The problem is, several of our friends and relatives constantly ask to use it. The upkeep is $400 per month (which goes up when someone uses it). We have never charged anyone to stay there.  We are getting tired of footing the bill for other people's vacations. They don’t even offer a little money to offset the expenses. Is there a way we can politely ask for it? We are not wealthy.

•    I always say money questions aren’t really about money. In this case, your question is really about boundaries. It also sounds like you are a bit of a people pleaser and are afraid of your friends being upset with you. 
•    I would recommend being straight forward. If you are comfortable having guests at all, let them know that the cost of upkeep during their stay and that you would be happy to let them stay there if they are willing to cover the costs. If you are no longer comfortable letting people use your house, you can just say that you have been letting so many other people stay at the house that you haven’t had the chance to enjoy it yourselves so you are not taking guests now.
•    Anyone who has an issue has to be pretty entitled and that gives you good information about what kind of person they are.

My parents are in their 80s. Both are of sound mind and body. However, they never saved for their retirement. Dad receives a pension, but upon his death, Mom will receive nothing. They own their home, and that's it for their assets. Mom has told me several times they should be in our will. My husband and I have saved for our retirement. Because my parents haven't, we don't feel it is our responsibility to provide for their old age.

•    It is very strange that they are so adamant about being in your will. It sounds like they believe they are looking to outlive you. This is either very unusual or very narcissistic that your parents are viewing your assets this way.
•    It is important that you are clear with them that you will not be providing for them in their old age so they can make a plan that will accommodate their needs, specifically your mom.
•    I have a feeling that, again, this is not just about money. I can't help but wonder if your parents have been expecting you to take care of them (emotionally, physically, or monetarily) throughout your life. Being clear with your boundaries around this issue is a good way to take care of yourself and send a clear message that you are not going to make up for their lack of planning. 

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