SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

May 23, 2014

Dear Abby: Couple reluctant to help freeloading relative

Dear Abby: My spouse and I, after many long years of school, advanced degrees and work in the corporate world, are now retired. We are (we hope) financially secure.

Both of us have siblings who were less successful for various reasons. What obligation do hardworking people have toward their less successful siblings, especially one who has been a freeloader his entire life?

“Rusty” sponged off his aging parents to keep from having to earn a decent living. We feel sorry for him, but it’s the bed he made for himself years ago when he took shortcuts. We’re afraid if we give him a hand, he’ll expect an arm next time.

As far as I’m concerned, only Rusty’s laziness prevents him from getting a part-time job to help pay the bills. If we give him money, we’ll have to do it for the other siblings on both sides.

I know this sounds uncharitable, but we worked for 40 years and struggled through everything life had to throw at us. We saved every penny we could and invested wisely. How do we deal with family members who can take care of themselves, but don’t?

Anonymous In America

Dear Anonymous:Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorText ColorText ColorText Color You decide on a case-by-case basis, unless all of your family members are like Rusty. And if they are, you sympathize, but don’t subsidize.

Dear Abby: Most of my childhood was spent with my grandparents, who raised me until I moved out at 21. I have always regarded them as my true parents because they were always there for me.

My biological parents were also a part of my life. I would visit them on weekends. I love them, too, and appreciate that they allowed me to have a stable childhood with my grandparents.

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