Dave Says

Beware of travel agents for guilt trips

Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My dad and his wife asked my husband and me for $55,000. They want the money so they can pay off their debt. We’re debt-free and have a net worth of between $2 to 3 million, but we’re also retired. We don’t keep that much in the bank, so we’d have to draw from our retirement accounts – which is something we don’t want to do. They’ve already approached other family members about this too. His wife is owed money at some point from a family settlement, but they don’t want to wait that long. My dad said we should do this if we want them to get ahead and have anything left in their later years. My dad is 80, and his wife is in her late 70s. My husband and I are both in our 50s. Please tell me how to handle this.


Dear Karla,

In their later years? I’m not trying to be mean, but they’re already in their later years.

I’m really sorry you’re in this situation. Even though you’re in your 50s, he’s still your dad, and I know this hurts your heart. It’s probably even tougher to accept the fact that he’s being manipulative. I mean, seriously. What dad calls up his daughter with the idea he’s entitled to $55,000 of her money and starts acting like a travel agent for guilt trips in the process? That’s just wrong.

Look, if the relationship and the situation were different, we might have something to talk about. With your net worth, you’re not going to miss $55,000 out of $2 to 3 million. In a good relationship, I’d help my mom or dad like that in a heartbeat – just to help them out because they’re older. But this situation already is what it is. Something tells me this isn’t the first time he’s behaved in a manipulative way. And if you say yes to this, then I’ve got a feeling it isn’t the first time you’ve caved into him. I’m worried you won’t be able to live with yourself if you do this, and that it may cause a big rift between you and your husband.

It’s wrong of your dad to treat you this way and put you in this situation. If you want to tell him your money’s tied up, which it is, or you just don’t like the way it feels, that’s fine. But my advice is to try to step back from the emotions and come to the realization in your own head that no is a complete answer.

You don’t have an ethical or moral obligation to give manipulative people money just because they’re related to you.


Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.