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How much is too much?

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Re: How much is too much?

  • It's not uncommon for parents to give bigger gifts; it's not uncommon for them to be better able to do so since they no longer have to support their child. My teenage boys cost me, out of pocket and after taxes, at least 2k a month apiece; it's really more like 2500 each, after private school tuition, food, clothing, gifts, insurance, etc. That's 24k a year apiece, close to 50k a year I shell out OUT OF POCKET. It's only going to go up, trust me, when they get to college.

    And when they're finally done with college? I'm going to have a LOT of extra money. A LOT. I'm going to be able to afford to give them and their spouses larger gifts than they will likely be able to give me when they are first starting out. Can you see that? This is likely where his parents are. They're DONE supporting their children; they're crawling (relatively speaking) in disposable income for the first time in decades, and they want to splurge on their son and his wife. The notion that they're trying to 'rob' you or him of your independence is, well, kind of silly, and speaks more about your insecurities than their motives.

    And you;re being insulting about the whole "Christmas is more than material things to ME"; this implies they're just materialistic bastards, while you are all noble and fine for rejecting their gift. Actually you were just rude.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • My sister's inlaws routinely give them the IRS gift limit for non taxable income yearly, at Xmas. It's a lot of money; but the gift is tax deductible to her inlaws, and saves them money in taxes, and is non taxable to my sister and her dh; and it's a nice way for her inlaws to transfer a portion of their wealth without estate taxes hitting when they die. My sister and her dh don't need the money; and put it away for college for their son; so when he got to college,and was admitted to a 50k a year school, they had cash to pay for it. Nice, huh?  Do my sister and her dh give his parents that kind of money in kind in gifts? Heck no.

    What's the matter with you, anyway? Why the 'sensitivity' to being 'supported' (snort).  Put the money aside for retirement if you can't stand to spend it, and watch the miracle of compound interest work for you.

    Of course, that is, if his parents ever give either of you anything ever again. God forbid you two ever actually need help from these people, I hope they'll overlook your independence speech.

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • So basically you are saying that you would accept any amount that your ILs, Parents, whoever were willing to give you for Christmas or any other occassion. There is no limit to the amount of money you are willing to accept from another person? And to not accept something that I feel is too much is rude although we clearly stated that we did not want any large gifts for Christmas and they had agreed to that?

  • I'm starting to feel like this place is just where people go to pick on others instead of giving them the real feedback that they are looking for - which brings me back to my original question once again which is how much do you feel is too much? No one seems to be answering that question.
  • I'd have to have a reason not to; and a reason more than a "omg this is taking away our independence and you think we can't support ourselves and you're materialistic for giving this to us and MY family knows the real meaning of Christmas!!!!" 

    You've been asked for, and have not provided any examples, of your inlaws using money to control your dh or you; or support you; or that they're unkind or rude; or that they've been anything but loving and generous. So, yes, your rejection is rude; and your reasons for rejecting a generous gift speak only to your insecurities and not their motives. I fyou really don't want the money, give it to a charity and let your inlaws know what happened with it.

    These aren't strangers; they raised the man you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. Do you not see that rejecting their gift is unkind? And what was your dh's take on all this at the outset? Would he have taken the money but for your objection?

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • and LOL at this is where people come to pick on others. Nobody's picking on you; you asked, and are getting honest answers. I think you were rude, and silly, and kind of immature in your reasoning for rejecting the gift, if your reasons are only as you stated.

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • I am 31 and the parents still treat Christmas for brother, I and H as a big deal, just like when we were younger. This year they gave all of us a a lap top, a Wii fit, wii games, clothes, gave me a Coach purse, and numerous other small items. In the past 3 1/2 years they have taken us on 4 week long trips and paid for almost everything (flight or gas, condo, ski equiptment, lift tickets, deep sea fishing excursions). I don't think they are trying to take care of us...they have more money than us, love us, love spending time with us and I know for a fact it makes them happy to do these things. WE APPRECIATE IT!!!! I think it is kind of rude to refuse. If you don't want the actual cash put it into savings bonds for future children or donate it...It doesn't seem adult like to throw a fit...that seems more childish and actually kind of rude.
  • I guess sometimes people just see things differently. I believe that help should only be given if there is an actual need - aside from a reasonable amount of Christmas gifts - that were much appreciated - which I don't plan that there ever will be.. although you never know.

    I understand the case of a special circumstance where a sizeable amount of money needs to be passed with minimum taxes from one generation to another. However, that is a completely different situation.

    My husband was raised in a household where most things were done for him. I feel this gift is a way for his parents to continue parenting my husband beyond his childhood - it is their way of making sure he is taken care of. When he is at their home he doesn't lift a finger and doesn't have a worry in the world. They take care of absolutely everything for him. The real world is not this way. I am not his waitress, which he realized a long time ago. Life's problems are not always easily solved. But with the unrelenting support of his parents (who have nothing but good intentions which I APPRECIATE and have expressed my GRATITUDE toward countless times) he hasn't had many tough situations in life to face/deal with. I think these experiences help you grow as an adult and as a couple - together. I'm sure they don't fully realize that doing everything for him has inhibited his growth as an individual; but none the less here we are. He has pushed himself further than he had ever done before since he has met me and has expressed how he is very grateful that I encourage him to try things he previously didn't think he could do on his own. And he was more than capable of them.. His success has given him much more confidence. So now it is time for us to face our life on our own, without anyone's help, together. This is what we both want, and I feel that our wishes expressed and agreed upon should be recognized. If we accept this one gift - my fear is that they would continue or even become larger and/or more frequent. They pay for our dinner everytime we go out, as well as many other items - which we accept thankfully each time - because they enjoy it. But there has to be a line at some point.

    This post has helped me to see that many other people have a different opinion than mine. Thank you for your feedback. I will try to keep in mind this other perspective. We are going to try and find a balance that both of us feel comfortable with going forward. Marriage is a transition for both parents and children and we are working through it.

  • To be honest, I watched as DH's siblings all had their hand out to FIL/sMIL every Christmas and birthday, relied on the ILS to buy the expensive toys for their kids at Christmas, and never picked up the tab for a meal when FIL was around.  I lost a lot of respect for the siblings (and wow!  when the gravy train stopped, the kids stop coming around at Christmas).  So I can respect your POV.

    I don't agree with "not cashing the check."  IMO, that is passive-agressive and non-constructive.  And next year you'll just get $500 worth of expensive cookware or a mink stole.

    I would have a long talk with your ILS (with DH leading the discussion, of course!).  Tell them that you appreciate their generous spirit, but you DO NOT WANT their money.  Think of alternatives that work for everyone.  For example, if they don't like spending $500 on DH's siblings and $100 on you, then pick a charity for them to donate in your name to.   I also think they may have "doubled up" on DH's gift because now he is married - there are TWO of you, so you get double the presents.  Assure them that when/if you have kids, they are free to donate to a 529 plan that you set up (if that makes you comfortable). 

    You also need to accept that DH's family and your family is different.  Maybe your family goes to a soup kitchen and prays on Christmas, and his gives large gifts to loved ones.  That doesn't make them bad, only different. Would accepting their check make you feel obligated to go on the boring family vacation to the lakehouse?    If yes, then definately turn it down.  But  if you do not NEED the money, if the check is not a reminder that "you can't support yourselves on dh's salary," and they don't tell you how to live your life once the check is cashed, is it really so bad that they are paying for you and dh...to take a vacation?  Buy a new tv?   Being independant shouldn't mean that your ILS

    You can also say something like "We'll accept the check, on the condition that you allow us to take you to a steak dinner in January."  and inform them you won't cash the check until they've allowed you to treat them!   Or tell them "if you want us to take such a large gift from you, you have to allow us to give you a generous gift when we want to give you one."

    If you don't want a large gift, tell them flat out that you will NOT be accepting large gifts from them.  I would not in 10 million years accept a gift that I was not comfortable with (although if you want to ask the ILS to send ME that check, I'll gladly take it!).  No one can force anything on you that you don't want simply by saying "it's a Christmas gift."  I would not be happy with a one-sided gift-giving relationship. 

     

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • image Wahoo:

    You can also say something like "We'll accept the check, on the condition that you allow us to take you to a steak dinner in January."  and inform them you won't cash the check until they've allowed you to treat them!   Or tell them "if you want us to take such a large gift from you, you have to allow us to give you a generous gift when we want to give you one."

    These are EXCELLENT ideas! Only I don't think they would EVER go for them. I feel like that would be very reasonable, but declining their gift is probably easier than trying to fight with them over the bill at a restaurant because they just wouldn't allow us to pay. It IS a bit of a power struggle, so I guess we just have to set the boundaries now and stick with them.

  • So basically you are saying that you would accept any amount that your ILs, Parents, whoever were willing to give you for Christmas or any other occassion. -------- yes, exactly. ---------  There is no limit to the amount of money you are willing to accept from another person? ---------- that is correct. the person giving the gift can give whatever they are comfortable with giving. and while i may not be able to reciprocate at that time, i am plenty grateful for any gift received. after all that what one should be upon receiving a gift, gracious. --------- And to not accept something that I feel is too much is rude although we clearly stated that we did not want any large gifts for Christmas and they had agreed to that? --------- yeah it's a little rude to blatantly turn down a gift from someone just because, in your mind, it's too much. -------------

  • I agree with the pps. I know my mom loves picking out things for gifts and spoiling her children on Christmas. And they can certainly afford what they give us, and we are gracious upon receipt.

    My IL's don't spend nearly as much, but they also cannot afford to. Their gifts are always just as thoughtful and nice. I don't really think about how much people spend rather than how thoughtful the gift is. 


  • As far as why I am uncomfortable - I guess I have just always been very independent. My husband and I make a good living and want to work for the things we have.

    Then put it into the stock market or into a savings account for your future child. 

  • image PunkyBooster:


    As far as why I am uncomfortable - I guess I have just always been very independent. My husband and I make a good living and want to work for the things we have.

    Then put it into the stock market or into a savings account for your future child. 

    Ditto this.  And I said something to this before.  If you feel they are giving it to you to "help" you but you don't need the "help", then do something w/ the money that has nothing to do w/ "help".  Put it in a college fund for future kids, put it in a retirement fund for yourselves (seriously- the more money you put away NOW for your retirement, the better.  Who cares where it's from?  If it gives you that much  mroe $$ that you can retire perhaps early or live a nice life when retired -why not?).  Or heck- donate it yourselves.  You don't need their permission.

    So what if they THINK they are helping you?  If you know they aren't.... then both sides win, don't they? 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Let's just say we could barely fit our gifts into the car to get them home. It's like that every year.
  • We always get monies from DH's parents and both our grandmas. It's deemed more practical to them rather than giving sweaters we might not even like.
  • I just found this post and I am amazed by it. Do you even know how lucky you are that his parents are giving you that money? My parents spent $60 on each on each of us and even then that was over extending themselves. 

     I would have tried to give it back saying "oh you don't have to", or something about not needing it. But if they insisted you have it tell them you plan to donate it to a certain place. If they do it again next year look at the check and say something like, "oh now the soup kitchen will have enough for a whole year!" Because once it is your money, you can do whatever you want with it. Heck, I sit around and think about all the places I could give money too if given the chance. Let them know you are thankful for the gift but it could be better spent helping homeless people. 

    Some people work hard their entire lives and can barely keep their head above water.  You should understand how lucky you are and that given the circumstances you are better off than most people.  

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