My aunt died. Their only daughter, Beth, could not fully afford the funeral expenses. She’s 61 and works two jobs and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. She has children in their thirties, but they too are struggling to make ends meet.
My cousin Mary and her siblings considered helping her with the funeral expenses. You are close to Beth and have had contact with her over the years. My brother Tom sent a message to me and my other two brothers that Beth may not be able to pay for the funeral. My two brothers agreed that they would like to help where they can.
This whole conversation made me feel uncomfortable because I hadn’t had any contact with Beth or my aunt for over 30 years. However, my aunt was my father’s sister, so I understood why my brothers wanted to help. I was silent and didn’t answer until I had a chance to think about it.
Three days later, I hadn’t heard from my brother about the funeral arrangements, so I went online and found out the details of the funeral. I decided to send Beth a show card because I knew that she and my aunt were very religious. I felt the gift of my relationship with her was appropriate.
The next day I heard from Tom that Mary and her siblings had decided to deposit $ 500 each to pay for the funeral expenses. The funeral costs have now been fully covered.
My brother said that Beth would no longer have my aunt’s social security checks. (My aunt was living with Beth at the time of her death.) Tom wondered if we’d all want to contribute and send something. He said he was willing to take the $ 500 my cousins gave to Beth and asked if we would donate $ 500 each. All of my brothers agreed to this.
I told him that I had already sent something to Beth. I haven’t heard from my brothers since that email. I’ve always been frugal and that bothers Tom. It’s not about being able to afford it. For me, $ 500 is a lot to give to Beth, considering we’re not close and haven’t had contact in decades.
This situation kept me up all night. I’m not sure I did the right thing by not contributing the $ 500. Do you have any advice
It was a nice gesture from your brothers to send $ 500 to Beth, but you certainly haven’t done anything wrong by contributing nothing. Most of us have finite resources. If you haven’t seen Beth or your aunt in 30 years, it’s understandable that sending $ 500 wasn’t a high priority for you.
They don’t tell you how long it has been since you e-mailed your brothers. If it’s only been a few weeks or you’re not particularly close, I wouldn’t automatically conclude that you’re angry.
Try calling, emailing, or texting the brother you are closest to just to say hello. You don’t have to talk about your aunt’s death or Beth’s plight. But if the brother you are talking to calls you because you have not contributed, do not apologize. Just repeat what you’ve already said, namely that you haven’t seen either in 30 years and have already broadcast something yourself. Then try to change the subject to what is going on in your own life.
If your brothers choose what you do with your money, they are the ones with the problem, not you. Your brothers may not approve of your frugality. But they really don’t have to. They are siblings, not spouses.
I suspect you are reconsidering things a little. It happens. You refused to do what everyone else did, which can lead you to question yourself. Even if your brothers get angry with you, time will probably go by.
Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, my question for you is: would you rather be thrifty? Or would you rather not be awake all night and worry that everyone is mad at you?
There is no right or wrong answer here. If your thrift is important to you, hold on to it in the future. But if such requests are relatively infrequent in your family, it may be worth going with the flock just to avoid sleepless nights.
It’s not about what’s wrong or what’s right. It’s about what is most convenient for you. But that is up to you to decide, not your brothers.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial advisor and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com