My mother-in-law expects us to support her.

My mother-in-law expects us to support her, and we can’t afford it. As it is, we’re tapping into our savings every month. She won’t downgrade her lifestyle or home, she won’t get a job, and she makes my husband feel horribly guilty whenever he brings up what a financial burden it is. I can be blunt with her but he is afraid of hurting her feelings or causing drama. We have children, and I would like to be saving for their college instead of helping to pay for her luxury condo with a pool and a doorman. What can I do?

You and your husband can sit down, make a budget for your own household, make sure you’re saving enough for college and a savings account, and then if there’s anything left over, you can give it to his mother. Come up with an amount that works for your family, and then give that to her every month, like an allowance. If she wants to blow all her cash on an apartment, great. If she wants to live somewhere else and eat something other than ramen, great. She’s a big girl. She’s not working or attempting to live frugally because she doesn’t have to.

Think of it this way: if you had a teenager who moved out of your house, announced that he wasn’t getting a job, but that he was living in an apartment with a pool and a doorman, would you be okay with that? I didn’t think so. It’s okay for you to be the bad cop in this situation; your mother-in-law probably secretly hates you anyway, so if you’re blunt with her, that’s fine. It’ll provide focus for her anger. As long as your husband promises not to undermine you by sneaking her cash on the side, I think it’s okay for you to do most of the talking. Just make sure she knows you and her son are on the same page.

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