Let’s talk money!
The number one rule should be to do your research before trusting a complete stranger with the control of your finances.
It is so easy to get in debt, but getting out of it is a challenge.
Redditor throwra_debt1 encountered this very issue with their sister. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for not helping my BIL and my sister with their debt?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I’ve owned many successful small businesses over the years, so I have a lot experience in all kinds of retail at many levels to say the least.”
“My sister and BIL were thinking of starting their own. They asked me for my help and advice, I spoke to them over the phone going over the basics and links to some good websites to take a look at.”
“After about a few weeks of speaking to them, they said they didn’t want my help anymore. When I asked why they said they said they were told differently by an experienced ‘accountant’ they knew from church.”
“This so-called ‘accountant’ was not only giving them bad advice, some of it was downright illegal. I told them this, and they said that I didn’t know what I was talking about since he was a CPA (Certified Public Accountant).”
“I did a little digging on this guy and he had no credentials whatsoever and he had dropped out of community college after a year. I warned them not once, but TWICE that this guy was going to get them tossed in jail for tax fraud.”
“My BIL gave him fiduciary control so he could take care of financial responsibilities.”
OP’s sister paid the consequences for not trusting their advice.
“Not even a year later, the guy took every liquid asset they could find and disappeared.”
“He not only stole everything, he ran off with everything they had, got a few more company credit cards, maxed them out, got lines of credit with some parts companies, ordered parts and then sold them on the side for cash.”
“BIL and sister’s company blew up, they lost their house, and almost went to jail.”
“Not only that they are in MASSIVE debt that I don’t think they will ever be able to pay off. I feel horrible for their daughter who most likely won’t be going to her dream college because of all this.”
OP’s sister is now asking for help.
“They are now asking family members for help and they are so graciously giving them everything they can spare, they asked me, and apologized. Then, they asked if they could have some help financially.”
“I accepted and said no, stating that I warned them and they ignored me.”
“They left, but not without begging and crying. So, now I am being painted as the a**hole by family and friends. I want to state that I am not rich by any means, but I am doing really well financially.”
“I’ve worked hard to where I’ve gotten today and although I could’ve spared something, I didn’t feel obligated to.”
“Am I the a**hole here?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. They dug their own hole. What might be a nice gesture though is to put some money into a trust for your Niece to help with college (that the parents can’t touch).” ~ OkHold6262
“Yes. Please make sure your niece doesn’t suffer too much because of her parents’ bad decisions.” ~ hydragamma
“As sad as it is, at least the niece will qualify for any and all available grants based on income. It’s a completely crappy situation and I totally agree that OP should set something aside.”
“I’d just make sure not to let the niece have control until AFTER she gets accepted and has filled out any grant applications available to her. Those forms go off of the parents income and assets which they clearly have none of so she will get the max, at least in the US, plus it’s a grant so she won’t have to pay anything back.”
“Then OP can help cover any leftover living expenses, etc.” ~ Dewhickey76
“I wouldn’t give the niece the money at all. I would pay it directly to the college to make up for whatever scholarships and grants won’t cover.”
“Edit: this way it doesn’t get hit as being a gift on taxes” ~ minnesaur
They all agree OP’s sister and brother-in-law are now paying the consequences of their decisions.
“Emphasis on decisions because while OP’s sister and BIL might see this as one mistake it was in fact many. The most egregious was doing absolutely no research into the ‘advisor’ they had hired and shooting OP down when he brought his findings to them.”
“NTA. It would be financially unwise of OP to give any money to his sister/BIL given their track record. People who engage in Get Rich Quick schemes don’t usually do it just once.”
“He can bail them out now – money he’ll never get back, no doubt – but they might just find another business to sink their money into.” ~ thistleandpeony
“Piggybacking here to point out yes it would be nice of you to put money away for niece to go to college HOWEVER if you decided not to that would not make you an ass hole either, no one can expect an aunt/uncle to pay for college no matter how well off they are.” ~ DeadlyShaving
“This sounds like a black hole of need. I doubt OP can pay all of their debts but expects them to give every spare dime to help them.”
“Why don’t they want to declare bankruptcy? That’s probably their only way out. They credit cards can be cancelled since they were opened by fraud and are unsecured.”
“THEY need to do the work to fix the mess they made for themselves. Putting the rest of the family in financial straights will not help them and only encourage them to continue to be irresponsible. NTA.” ~ babcock27
OP added an update.
“Thanks for your judgement, it’s really appreciated. As for my sister and BIL, I did take your advice and tell them to file bankruptcy, I haven’t heard a text back yet.”
“For my niece, we are working on setting up a trust fund for her to help her out will school and other things. She’s a smart girl and she doesn’t deserve to suffer because of her parents. Thank you!”
Financial decisions should not be trusted to complete strangers.