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DearSugar Needs Your Help: Should I Ask For the Money?

DearSugar and Not Wanting to Seem Selfish Samantha need your help. She and her fiancé need to buy a house, but they don't have the money for it.

Dear Sugar,

My fiancé and I got engaged this past Fall and are having our wedding this Summer. I'm the only daughter my parents have, and they insist on paying for our wedding, which we are so grateful for. We share an apartment now, and as most young couples do, we were planning on saving up all we could this year, then using that plus the money we receive from wedding presents to buy our first house. That plan has kind of backfired, though, because just this week, our landlord told us that he's selling the building, and we have to be out of our apartment by June (a month before our wedding).

As it is right now, we don't have nearly enough money saved to put towards a down payment on a house. We thought we could borrow the money from my fiancé's rich dad, but he said that we're old enough to pay for things ourselves and shouldn't be asking for handouts (he's kind of a selfish jerk). Everyone we talk to says to ask my parents if we can borrow the money and pay them back with gifts from the wedding, but I feel so bad, knowing that they're already shelling out $40,000 for this wedding.

We've thought about staying in our apartment until June, and then moving into another apartment until after the wedding, but it seems really pointless to go through all the trouble of moving to a place when we'll be moving into a house by August. What should we do?

—Not Wanting to Seem Selfish Samantha

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maddiemay maddiemay 9 years
I also agree w/ Karlotta-- It's very offensive reading some of these comments, especially when the poster is a real person asking for advice. This doesn't mean she has to like it, but being respectful in your comment is just common courtesy. Regarding the actual question, I think you should postpone buying a house if you don't have the money you need. You don't want to rely on money you don't have in hand and are hoping to receive. I rushed into buying a house a few years ago and ended up moving and STILL have it and it's so annoying. I know a lot of us like instant gratification, but I think you'll be happy if you wait in the long run. Congrats on your wedding and good luck!
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Actually you are the selfish jerk not your father in law. I can see his point. I agree with the 20 or so responses I have read so far where I do disagree to a point are the comments that spending $40,000 on a wedding is stupid if your family is in a position where it will not put them into financial ruin then I think it is fine. Be a grown up and save the money yourself.
girlfriday girlfriday 9 years
I think everyone's already said what I would say - i.e. stay in an apartment. You'll feel amazing when you put that down payment on a house that you earned by your hard work. And believe me - I know how it feels. 3 months after I moved into an apartment after finally moving out of an abusive situation, my landlord turned the building condo and I had to move again. It was a really rough time in my life - I was struggling financially and emotionally - and finding and moving to a new place was super stressful when I didn't think I had any energy left. But I did it in the end, and you will too. Anwyay, what I did want to comment on was the 40K wedding cost. Now, honestly, to me, this is about 40 times more than I would spend on my wedding. HOWEVER, we should remember that there are huge cultural differences when it comes to special life ceremonies like weddings. In many cultures, especially South Asian and Middle Eastern, it is not unheard of for middle class families to have 1000 guests at a wedding. In fact, it is sometimes considered rude to not invite everyone who is related to anyone who is related to you. So, I am willing to grant the possibility here that her parents are paying $40K for a wedding that, in their culture, speaks as much or more to their "honor" and "social standing" as the brides desire for a big wedding. It's just a thought...
onesong onesong 9 years
I tend to agree with Karlotta, although some of the posts on here are so ridiculous I really don't see an answer other that "You're an idiot!" (I'm thinking of all the "I'm a cheater, should I stay one?" posts) That said, sweetie, you gotta put your dreams on hold here. Absolutely do not ask for a loan from your parents. You need to move out of your apartment now, and hold back for 6 months or a year before buying a new house. I'm sorry that moving is such a pain (it totally is!) but it's now a fact of life that you need to deal with. If it's that important to you to get a house in August, then you do need to take out a loan. As was pointed out by a couple posters, you already know that you're going to be recieving a good deal of money from the wedding, so you know that the bulk of the loan will be paid off in two months or so. Myself, I would advocate simply holding off. You had a plan, and now it's screwed up, yes, so you need to roll with the punches. Not everything in life is going to go according to plan! You were turned down by your fil (which, honestly, I think he was totally right in doing), and your parents are already spending an absolutely obscene amount of money on your wedding (lucky ducky!). You've got a ton going for you here, so relax and take responsibility for your life and your dreams. You and your future hubs are going to be in the house you eventually buy for a long time, so really--what's a couple extra months?
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Wow, I hope my daughter doesn't grow up thinking this is how life works. $40,000? Not even if I could would I do that. It's just not necessary.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Oh and Julielie...obviously no one is judging you for your parents insisting on spending a ton of cash on your wedding! That doesn't make you sound like a Bridezilla at all..just a hapless pawn of your parents...jkjk! ;) And also, wealthy people who have a ton of cash to spend on their weddings...well they earned the cash, so no, we shouldn't judge! It's just that in this case, it seems like the poster was unhappy that everything wasn't working out *perfectly* when some sacrifices might need to be made to meet all her expectations. If you have $60k to spend on a wedding, and that seems like a good idea...why not, god bless capitalism!
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I think the reason people sounded harsh was because the poster called her father in law a "selfish jerk" for not lending her money, and because it is hard for people to imagine spending $40k on a wedding, then complaining about no longer having money for a down payment. It should come across more as "tough love" than cattiness, but just because it is not what the poster wanted to hear does not mean people were trying to be cruel! To the poster: If you *must* put this house plan into action soon, then I would ask your parents if you could put $30k of the wedding fund into a down payment. If you let them know how important the house is to you, perhaps they will offer to loan you money, who knows. What Asia and others said about owing family money is true though, and I really can't see why you can't live in an apartment for longer and save up the money yourself! I don't think people are trying to be mean, and I know many weddings do cost $40k these days, though I have no idea, no matter how rich you are, why you'd bother spending that much cash in one day. To understand why people are so harsh, just put things into perspective: I paid for my entire undergrad education at a top private university myself, I am paying off student loans, and I can't get married right now because both my boyfriend and I are broke. He is working on a PhD, and won't get more than a grad stipend for the next four years. My family recently loaned me $1k to meet basic expenses (food, rent), and I owe my boyfriend at least that much money also. This is NOT a good position to be in, and I can't wait to get out of it. I can't imagine putting myself in this position if I didn't absolutely have to! For people in similar positions, it is hard not to just be harsh on you, but obviously that isn't very fair. Don't be sad by what people have written, just take it as a reality check that if you have to "suffer" a little, you'll be okay! I hope you get this all sorted out, and I hope you can choose whatever gives you the least amount of stress when you get married!! Good luck!
emalove emalove 9 years
I think scaling down your wedding and using some of that $$ for your down payment is the best idea. If it was me, I would talk to my parents about everything and see what kind of ideas we could come up with. And I agree with Karlotta that a lot of the ladies on these forums are WAY too harsh and judgmental sometimes...it's really annoying.
BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 9 years
Well, a $40,000 wedding with no place to live, or a smaller wedding and a down payment on a home. Sounds like you should be making a decision. Who needs to have a $40,000 wedding anyhow?
lintacious lintacious 9 years
this is why i think the price of wedding is stupid. why the hell do you need a $40,000 DAY when now you can't even afford a place to live!! Forget the wedding, elope, and put down an awesome down-payment on a beautiful house.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
holy moly 40 G's for a wedding, when you cant even make a down payment on a house, i know its someone elses money but good lord! My wedding cost 3 grand and it was AMAZING, move into a new apartment, and get off your "rich" father in laws back...frikking ungrateful and ridiculously immature. good luck...
remedios remedios 9 years
And I don't care about the cost of the wedding. If your parents want to give you that for a gift, say thank you (as you are) and don't feel bad about that. It just shouldn't be then used for a house, since that's not what they've offered. But it's great that they can afford to and want to give you a wedding that you're going to really love.
remedios remedios 9 years
While I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for help when you need it, it doesn't appear that you need it. You can move into a new apartment, stay there for another year or two, save your money and buy a house. While it would be nice to get a house earlier, it didn't happen that way.
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
karlotta - You are so absolutely right!!! I've been thinking they exact same thing lately!!! And NWTSS - She (karlotta) is completely right on how to approach your parents, life etc., the only caveat that I would add is - try not to be too judgmental of your future father-in-law. He may be the biggest SOB on the planet or there may just be some method too his madness. So, Congratulations, good luck and best wishes!!!! This is your time so enjoy it!! Cherish it!!!! And don't forget that the one day in what is hopefully a lifetime of marriage.
Eternity Eternity 9 years
I'm not sure where you live and what the housing market is like, but you should look into an FHA loan and go directly to a few banks to ask about first time homebuyer programs. You don't need to save up for a year to buy a house, you just need decent credit and a job. (I know from experience)
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
if i ask someone's opinion or word of advice, I can't be mad if they keep it REAL with me! To the writer: i dont think you're a brat because you're having a $40k wedding. i think that's an average amount (in my opinion). this isn't about your wedding, (trust me, shine on your wedding day . . .i'm happy for ya). but i think when it comes to life, and being an adult, you have to jump off that ledge and fly. you will appreciate your house better if YOU and your soon-to-be buy it. family ain't no joke when it comes to borrowing. it will be cool right now, but then what if you guys are late on payments, or your hubby loses his job (knock on wood). then your whole family will know about it, and will talk smack. #2: maybe God is trying to tell ya something (i'm not sure if you're a believer.). Let's be real: your fiance is probably great. and i hope he stays that way, i really do. but what if he flips the script on you once you're married??? and let's say your parent's loaned the money, that you still owe??? and he burns off, and the money isn't repaid, more importantly, you're heartbroken . . .i really don't wish this on you. and are you really ready to be bothered with homeowner's associations who pick at you because your grass is 1/4" taller than the neighborhood standard??? look, get married. take beautiful pics. move into another apartment. save your monies, and live with you new hubby for a bit. i don't think anyone on here is trying to be mean, but you have to understand that there are so many types of women on here. there are some who are ultra independent-like me. there are some who dont have $1,000 to spend on a wedding, so they cannot imagine what your parents are spending. there are people who are ultra practical . . .you know, the moms who can aford GapKids, but shop at Kmart on sale, or even worst Goodwill . . .just to save a buck. and i know i will get crucified for that comment, but oh well. my opinion. get over it. good luck, and if you are a believer, pray on it for a while before asking for money.
hope2be hope2be 9 years
I've read everyone's responses and I have to agree with the majority. I don't agree that everyone is trying to be catty/b!tchy just because they're being honest with their opinion. Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and some people are not blessed to be so eloquent or very tactful, and that's just it. As much as the sentiment of 'try to have it all' is great, I think that it's not fair to do so in the expense of other people when you yourself can actually get the loan by yourself instead of involving a family member. How about going to a bank to get the loan? If you have good credit, you're probably going to be able to get the 0% down payment (although your monthly payment is probably going to be high). If you can't afford to pay a good chunk of your income to mortgage, I'd suggest to wait until you do, don't go for those ARM payment. So many foreclosures, it's not even funny anymore if the government has to step in to take care of it. NB: I disagree w/ the government stepping in, because this is similar to making a bad investment. I hope that no money out of the taxpayers go out to help these people. Sorry, I agree to help the needy, but I refuse to help those who purchased a half-a million dollar house when they can't afford to pay the mortgage payments. Or sell because the price of houses have been dropping. Why not be like the rest of sensible people and wait until you can afford that half-a-million dollar house? The rest of us have to rent apartment/houses/etc to save up, and these people have been living in their mansion now they're waiting for a government handout. That's complete BS (but that's just my opinion). I digress. Lending money to a family member is tricky, and most likely it ends up to be a 'hand-out.' So your future father-in-law has every right to decline because it's his hard-earned money, and there's a probability based on his refusal that you guys may not have shown to be really responsible financially. MAYBE. There's no one telling you to not borrow from your parents, but I think you know that doing so after your parents have spent tens of thousands of dollars to foot the wedding bill is a little inconsiderate. But they're your parents, surely they're the ones who know you the most, so being selfish/inconsiderate in front of them probably won't surprise them much. They might feel disappointed but hey, you're their kid, so they should've known about you and expected nothing more. Maybe you need to delay buying a house because there's no regulation that you have to have a house after a wedding, or get a 6 month-lease apartment so that you'll know for sure how much money you'll be receiving after the wedding. In my experience, my cousins expect quite a bit of money coming their way from their wedding party, but usually it's LESS than expected. So my suggestion is to play it safe. Get a new apartment or rent a house (if you really want a house), for either a month-to-month rate or a six-month-lease (I've found enough places having a month-to-month lease). Count the money from the wedding (hopefully it's more than what you expect so you can buy that house immediately) and save up some more if you want.
Anenimenie Anenimenie 9 years
If you don't have the money, your best and least stressful option is to find another appartment for a couple of years. If you're really set on having a house, there have been some good suggestions in the comments: Maybe scale down your wedding (you can have a lovely, memorable wedding for a lot less too :) and ask your parents to loan you what's left of the 40k for the house? That way you wouldn't put an extra financial burden on them as it's not a gift. You could arrange for the two of you to pay your parents something back every month? Just sit them down and get your parents' advice. What do they think is your best option?
Nitrobezene Nitrobezene 9 years
I think you should keep saving up until you have enough for the down payment. It's alright to move again to another apartment, but it might take a while to get the money you want all saved it... just depends on your work background(how much you make, how often you work, willing to give a raise, etc). Keep working at it and good luck!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
The weird thing about DearSugar and GroupTherapy is that sometimes it's easy to forget that a real person is reading your comments and might be very hurt by them. I try to think of that in most cases, but it's hard to imagine how you would respond to a post if it was your best friend writing instead of an anonymous person. If I thought my friends were posting all of these I admit I would be a lot softer in many responses, because I really like them and don't want to hurt their feelings. Here, you don't know if you like the people or not. All you have is 2 paragraphs of text, and it's impossible to bring years worth of sympathy for a person to the table in a response. For example, this poster wrote that her FIL was selfish for not lending them the money. I think that ticked a lot of people off, and is responsible for some of the less-than-friendly replies. I think that might have overshadowed some of the nicer parts of the email, in which she states that she's very grateful to her parents for funding her wedding etc. But I do think there is value in posting your problem to a public forum rather than your friends, as you will truly get opinions from people who don't know you or any of the others involved in the situation. Of course, there's always going to be some anger if people don't side with you or validate the problems you are having. I don't think that means we're catty or anti-women. Sure, sometimes there is true cattiness or meanness, but on average I would say most people here do our best to tell it like we see it. I agree if you post something, and you don't like the responses you get, it's easy enough to just write all of us off as "haters", because we didn't say what you thought we ought to. But I'd like to think people post here for honest opinions, not because they want us to validate what they are already feeling.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
Ok I guess ima be a catty bitch but whatever its my opinion. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Live within your means, if you cannot afford a house now the look for another apartment and continue saving money. Why must you move to a new house right after you marry? You may need to borrow money from your parents in the future so i think u should hold off asking unless the offer. If my parents were paying for my $40k wedding theres no way I would ask for a loan. Your an adult now so you need to learn how to budget and save. Life isnt easy so u should expect ppl to always give you things. Buy the house when u can afford it, buy it with ur own hard earn cash as a married couple. And i dont thing the forum is filled with catty woman, life is not filled with cupcakes and cotton candy, I think we are trying to give realistic advice. i rather hear the truth then sum sugar coated lie.
fadedblue fadedblue 9 years
first off, i think people are being pretty harsh with the wedding comments. that's really not the point here. and i don't think you need to attack her personally based on things you've only assumed from her letter. tough love is one thing, being plain mean is another. but anyway... the advice given so far about moving out now and finding another lease is a good one. and while your future FIL's denial might have seemed selfish or maybe he IS just selfish, who knows, there is truth in his words. since you're old enough and mature enough to be married and to financially plan/save towards purchasing a home, you should also be able to take up the responsibility of dealing with the hiccups that come along your way. it's okay for things to not go quite as planned. you may have envisioned you and your fiance in a home by august, but given that things have now been pushed off track, you just have to roll with the punches. you say you've been saving money this whole time, so i can only assume you felt financially confident enough in the progress to warrant purchasing by august wherever you're living right now. working on that savings is more important than having a place by a specific date. i think it would be worth your while to push back your personal timeline and allow yourself the space to save up again after the wedding gifts than to ask your parents for the money. i'm sure they would be willing, you ARE their daughter, but these are challenges you'll need to learn how to face without relying on others. i'm sure that it'll prepare you better in the long run in dealing with other finance-related issues later in the marriage. and who knows? maybe the market will be better a few months later down the line...it may work out in your favor in the end!
the-makeup-blogette the-makeup-blogette 9 years
if it is possible, cut down on your wedding expenses, and it is just for one day, a house is more permanent and meaningful investment. and use the $40,000 on your new house, or new apartment, whichever. it seems more sensible. your parents are very generous with you, that's nice! but i think your father in law has every right not to loan you any money, after all you guys are old enough to be married and independent in terms of money. he does has his point, he isnt selfish.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
I think the cattiness and putting people down come from all the comments of people who gasped at the $40,000 for a wedding. That is NOT the situation here. Her parents are entitled to offer up as much as they want -- it is a gift. My parents offered up a hefty chunk of change, and they directed that they wanted it to be used for the wedding. There was no "Here's the money, decide if you want it for a wedding or a down payment." My parents wanted it so we could have a big wedding so that THEY could invite THEIR friends. I'm not going to have ever even met half the people at my own wedding, because it's my parents college friends, my FMIL's coworkers, etc. So I don't feel guilty or spoiled having a big, lavish wedding, because it's not really what I want... it's what my parents want. I stand by my original comment that it is going WAY over the top asking her parents for the money, and if you're mature enough to get married, you're mature enough to come up with money on your own. Lots of us will be living in apartments post-marriage, there is no rule that you are entitled to a house after your vows. In our housing market, I would be SHOCKED if we could afford even a townhouse before we are in our mid-30s, making a significant amount of money as a doctor/oncology researcher, because a 2 bedroom townhouse in our neighborhood goes for over $1million. We'll be living in apartments for 10 more years, and that's FINE. We're not less of a married couple because of it. I think it's reasonable to call commenters catty and harsh when they attack her based on her wedding, but not on wanting a downpayment on the house AS WELL. Clearly, she IS selfish -- I mean, she called her future father in law a selfish jerk just after he wouldn't lend her the money. If that's not bratty and self-centered, I don't know what is.
karlotta karlotta 9 years
I wouldn't be part of this community if I thought it was only composed of judgmental and nasty people; I'm not making a general comment on everyone here, but there are a few, who have responded to some of my own questions too, who enjoy throwing snide and standoffish remarks around and putting others down, instead of putting themselves in their shoes and really trying to understand. I'm sensing some jealousy lurking around in the corners; good for her if she has a chance to get help from her parents in as many ways as she needs; I wish it was the same for me, and for everyone, but I'm not going to hold it against her if her parents are generous and supportive! Life is hard enough as it is... And... isn't family there to help their children settle down in life? I also don't really understand why people are being so hard on NWTSS, since she's not wondering whether she should ask for a GIFT, but for a LOAN - which, according to what she's saying, would only be for a couple of months. I find it perfectly reasonable, and I suppose if she's wondering whether she should do it or not, it's because 1. her family can probably afford it; and 2. she's not that big of a "spoiled brat", or she would just have gone straight to them and demanded the money instead of coming here with scruples and questions. I suppose it's all a matter of opinion, of course; I just find her reasoning very logical and pragmatic, when you consider that moving costs money, and that doing it twice within six months, with a wedding in the middle makes no sense compared to asking for a QUICK LOAN and GETTING THINGS DONE. I'm sticking to my guns on this one!
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