My husband & I have been married for a few years now. We've decided to wait a bit to have children. My brother-in-law & his wife were married several years before us, and rather quickly had two kids. In terms of age, they could have afforded to wait for a bit, as well. They have experienced quite a few financial issues as a result of jumping into things a little too quickly, but they've never outright asked us for money, and I don't expect them to - they are turning things around, slowly but surely.
Most people we know have kids, and I think many of those people seem to view us as two people with money growing on trees in our backyard. The fact of the matter is that neither of us make what I would call a fortune, but I suppose we are somewhat better off than most, and for that I am thankful. I just don't feel as though we are in the financial position to be dolling out money to anyone who may ask us for it. We may not have kids yet, but we do have bills to pay, just like everyone else.
One person has asked for money - my father-in-law. My husband is the only person he can turn to because he knows his other son absolutely cannot afford to help him in any way, shape or form anytime soon. I will admit that things have always been a bit rough for my father-in-law. He owns a house (just finished his mortgage payments...) in a very inexpensive state to live in, but he's never had a high-paying job. He's always made barely enough to get by. He says he needs money from us to have a bit of a cushion for retirement, and has asked for a certain figure - one that we can't possibly give him at once. So far, we have given him half of the amount he's asked for. I am now questioning whether he actually NEEDS the money for some other reason(s). I have asked my husband to have a heart-to-heart conversation with him - if he NEEDS money to pay bills, I'd rather help him pay a bill or two. I'd rather have control over helping him meet his financial obligations as opposed to giving him a set dollar amount where we really don't know what he's doing with it. I feel like if we keep giving him money, even when we reach the amount he's asked for, he's going to keep asking for more. We need to save money for ourselves, for our future. That needs to be the priority here, but I am happy to help him in smaller amounts, however we can.
How can we go about handling this situation without causing a rift? Your advice will be appreciated!