Money: The Essay

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*Long post alert*

Money The Essay

Family … The people you’re meant to love unconditionally. The ones who are always meant to be there for you, regardless of how much you do wrong or right. The ones who are always meant to have your back …

My family is dysfunctional as fuck. I’ve accepted that. Although so much stuff goes on that I don’t agree with, for the most part, I keep my mouth shut, stay out of it, and try to avoid the drama. I love my family very much, but they’re not the family I would have chosen for myself. I guess we can all say that.

Last week, I was virtually abandoned for the millionth time by a Grandfather I didn’t know was dead and a family I’d never met, who also didn’t want to acknowledge my existence. On the same day, I spoke to my step-dad.

I told him about what happened to me that day – the obituary I’d found, missing my name as the third grandkid. He told me he wanted to make me happier. He’d paid a debt to my sister on my behalf.

At first, I was super happy. He’s a good guy, my daddy, and although he told me he didn’t want to play God between his two daughters, he could help, wanted to help and, therefore, did. His mother died before Christmas and she’d left money — his inheritance — which was then to be spread out between the grandchildren, etc. There was some serious drama surrounding that, with a potential third child that no one ever knew about, and one step-member of the family who would be left out entirely. To be fair, we didn’t actually think there would be any money left. Do you know how much care homes for dementia patients cost? It’s an absolute liberty.

Then the whole story came out.

The story behind my the loan repayment … 

10 months ago I borrowed some money from my sister. It was before I’d moved in with Bear, and a certain mobile phone provider (VF) left me in a situation that could only be described as FUCKED. They’d cancelled phone numbers on my account without my consent (or knowledge), and then charged me early termination fees for the pleasure. We’d argued about it for so long the ombudsman couldn’t help me, and I was informed by VF that if I paid the full bill (which ran into a FEW THOUSAND), they would investigate and give me any money back I was owed.

I called my mum, asking for help. What should I do? I couldn’t afford to pay it. I had some of the money, but not all of it, and it was 4 weeks before Christmas. I didn’t want to run the risk of losing my numbers and it was looking like that might happen. (I’m self-employed. Changing my numbers would be dramatic.) My mum and sister chatted for a bit and got back to me. My sister would loan me the money to pay it and I would pay her back.

I paid the overly large bill [because of VF’s error], and waited to be reimbursed. Two weeks later when I still hadn’t received a refund, I paid back HALF the whopping amount I owed my sister in one lump sum. I was assured by Vodafone that I would receive the refund in good time, information that I relayed back to my sister each time.

“It’s fine,” she said, “I don’t need it yet. We’ll sort it out.” 

She had £20k in the bank – money for her wedding and a deposit for the house/mortgage that she couldn’t get accepted for. My monthly earnings at the time were huge. I had some great clients, money coming in all over. My earnings were so huge, in fact, that I had been sharing my invoice amounts with my mum. I was proud. She was proud. She knew I earned enough to pay my sister back the money, should Vodafone take longer than necessary. I’d been working my ass off, and I’d paid off all my old debts. I got accepted for my first ever credit card. I was so proud. I was *so close* to being back to 0 again. No money owed, no debts, and then this bullshit happened. I had less than a week to get together a few grand, and my sister was the one who agreed to help me.

Money The Essay 1

Fast forward a few months and my mum came to visit me in my new boyfriend’s house. She cried. She cried hysterically. She’d had enough. My sister and her fiance live in her house, barely paying rent, she was struggling to pay the bills (although I think this was a little white lie for extra sympathy votes) and everyone was fighting. She was a mess. Her relationship was failing, her boyfriend living in another house because of my sister and her fiance’s presence. She told me that my sister was broke and getting upset about how she was going to pay for the last few wedding bits. I also knew the mortgage/house struggle was still going on. We talked for a bit and came up with a plan. My mum and her boyfriend were going to help me. My financial position had changed a little because that’s what happens when you’re self-employed. It’s up and down like a yo-yo, and although I’m somewhat prepared for a minor emergency and no longer have debts looming over me, I certainly don’t have a few grand in the bank saved up to pay for my mobile phone provider’s epic fuck up.

Part of the reason my mum was so upset was because my sister had been taking the piss out of her for some time, and the situation wasn’t fair. My sister and her fella were living at my mum’s house, essentially rent-free, at the age of 27 and 30. Mum discussed the idea of helping me with the repayment with her boyfriend because apparently, my sister had been slagging me off a little behind my back. They were going to help me pay it back. I would then pay my mother back the money, but not all of it. Why? Because my sister has taken the piss for such a long time, you could NEVER say that the situation between her and I was fair. I’ve had barely any help from my family throughout my adult life. I’m quite a self-sufficient little puppy. My sister, on the other hand, has never had to pay serious bills. No rent. No council tax. No water bill, electricity bill, gas bill, nothing. She’s lived with my mother, getting her dinners cooked and her laundry sorted, for her entire life. She’s had driving lessons paid for, cars provided whenever she needed a new one, which seemed to be a lot, clothes bought for her, electronics, toiletries, books, DVDs, you name it. She still does. She lives at my mum’s house like a teenager.

 

I don’t ask for any help. I’ve borrowed money from my parents on a couple of occasions in my life, and I’ve made damn sure I paid it back as soon as I could. I can’t stand that shit being held over me like I’m doing something wrong. At this time, however, I needed a little help. It’s not just me now, there’s Bear and his son too. Moving in together is saving us money in the long-term, but short-term a lot of stuff went tits-up. Big stuff broke and needed to be replaced, the kid needed stuff, invoices were late in being paid … I just couldn’t afford to give her the lump sum back in one go, and it became very evident that VF was NOT going to give me any more back than the measly £300 they already had.

Then *that* phone call happened.

My step-dad had taken money from my nana’s inheritance and paid my sister back on my behalf. Close to three-quarters of the money I was to receive, to be exact.

So, my sister now has the original lump of money that she was going to get, plus almost three-quarters of mine.

But I owed her that money, right? Technically, yes. And that’s why I’m trying my hardest not to get damned pissed off about this situation. HOWEVER, as far as I was concerned, my mother had paid my sister off, with the help of her boyfriend. (Her boyfriend has been around for 15 years and has seriously overcompensated with my sister. He treated my sister more like his kid than his own actual kid, who he rarely speaks to.)

The deal was that my mother would let me know when she was skint and I would then send her money, to make up the part-repayment she wanted back from me.

Are you keeping up with all this? 

Money The Essay 3

Imagine my surprise when, out the blue, my dad tells me that not only does he know about this loan, which I was told NOT to tell him about, but he’s paid it off for me … out of the money that I should have got from my Nana.

Now I’m angry. I’m sorry if I come across like a crazy bitch, but WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? I have watched my sister get everything she wanted, everything I wanted, and then some more on top of that, for my ENTIRE life. I have watched her get everything she wanted hand-delivered on a silver fucking platter while I scrimped and saved and got fucked over by every person I trusted. She didn’t even get her first job until she was 21. I’m pretty sure my stepdad was still giving her maintenance-style payments up until that point too. I know there was an argument going on that I wasn’t meant to know about, and it was to do with my dad still paying for my sister AFTER she’d ‘come of age’, and his missus not being happy about it. Quite rightly too, if you ask me.

She went running to daddy, crying about how broke she was. I don’t think Daddy knows that little sister had £20k in the bank less than a year ago, and I don’t think he knows how much they’re spending on the wedding, or other stuff, like stupid car parts. I also got the impression that Daddy only knew half the story.

He seemed to know that I’d borrowed money and hadn’t paid it back. That’s it. He didn’t know what it was for, that I’d already paid over half the amount back to my sister (in one lump sum), and that I never got reimbursed for my phone provider’s fuck up. After agreeing that they owed me over £2,000, and then £1,800, and then £1,500, the amount that VF actually paid me back was £300. I know … Shit, right?

*** Want to know something even funnier? VF has gone the same thing to me AGAIN. Exactly the same error. As well as seriously denting my credit score, I had a bill of over £2,000. They agreed that £1,700 of that wasn’t correct and would be written off, and then they “lost” the phone call in which that conversation took place. The lost the chat transcript which stated they’d made errors and hadn’t taken payments when they should have done. They agreed that they had taken some payments and NOT applied them to my account and then lost those conversations and notes too. Once again, out of the £1,700, they originally told me I would be credited with (BEFORE any compensation amounts), I’ve only received £300. You couldn’t make this shit up.

The absolutely fucking frustrating part about all of this? I thought my mum had paid the money to my sister. I asked my mum if she needed money when I spoke to her. I even asked Bec if all was okay and if she needed anything. I offered to help with wedding bits and pieces … At not ONE point was I told that the money hadn’t been sorted out. I wasn’t even aware that my sister had been pissed off. She sure as fuck never told me.

I would NEVER have let this go on for 10 weeks, let alone 10 months, if I’d known. I kept asking my mum if she was doing okay for money … Why couldn’t she have said to me, “No, I haven’t given your sister any money.” I would have given my sister money. I owed her money. I helped pay a bailiff off for Bear (long story, he didn’t know about it, dead business partner kinda deal), and that was a whack of money too. I paid that because mum said she was okay. She didn’t need the money yet. The deal was I would give her money when she needed it. She’s had a spending problem for 20-odd years and can’t always be trusted to have money in the bank. I once helped to take over her finances and get her back on track. It was a little setup that helped us both.

I WOULD HAVE PAID MY SISTER BACK! 

I PAY MY GODDAMN DEBTS!

I’m not mad at step-dad. I’m eternally grateful to him. What I’m mad at, who I’m mad at, is my sister.

My sister knew this inheritance was coming. I didn’t. Well, I kinda did because my mother told me by accident. She then told me that there was no money and that she shouldn’t have told me anything about it. I wholeheartedly agree. Money complicates everything. I actually thought that maybe I had been left out of the will and no one wanted to tell me. That’s kinda the way it looked. I think, at one point, that was what she thought too.

My sister knew I would have paid her money, perhaps not in one lump sum, but in two or three amounts, if I’d have known it hadn’t been paid by my mother. I’ve given her money, paid for stuff, and bought stuff for her over the years. I’ve never asked for anything back. But I’ve always helped her out as best as I can, and I always will.

I have absolutely NO idea why my mother and her boyfriend would sit down and tell me they would pay off my sister, in front of Bear, and then not do it. I have absolutely NO idea why my mother wouldn’t have told me the money hadn’t been paid after each time I asked her if she needed money — the repayment deal.

This all happened weeks ago too. The money changing hands and plans made, I mean. If I hadn’t called my step-dad and cried my eyes out that morning, he wouldn’t have told me at all. My dad paid my debt off to my sister, using the inheritance from my nan, even though I thought my mother had paid it months ago and I’d been offering up my repayments, three weeks before anyone thought to mention it to me. And I know they’ve had the money. My mother’s boyfriend waved a wad of cash around in my face the other day, boasting about how much he’d been earning. In front of Bear too. It was so embarrassing.

And then, when I text my mum and sister to tell them I knew what dad had done, they both ignored me. Read the message, blue ticks, no response …

(Remember: I have no phone number. I can’t make calls. I can’t receive calls. I can only receive wifi calls via Facebook and Whatsapp. VF cut me off entirely … )

*****

I don’t know how I’ve managed to come out of this looking like the shitty person. My sister hasn’t spoken to me properly for months, and I genuinely have no clue why not. I would have sent her money, right there and then if I’d have known about this or her money struggles, and I have asked my mother repeatedly about the money situation … Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me this money had not been paid? I’ve never shirked a debt. I’m unreliable and disorganised, but I’ve never taken anyone’s money and ran. Learning that I STILL owed that money to my sister was embarrassing, especially when it was Dad telling me. I’m a grown up. I’ve borrowed money off my dad ONCE in my life, and even then I paid it back early. It was MORTIFYING. I was so grateful to my sister for helping me out I’d been getting Bear to do her tats for free! I was covering his bills and suchlike to pay/say thank you. And he was giving her fella a MASSIVE discount because I asked him to.

*****

This situation has really upset me, and it’s all my own fault. I shouldn’t have listened to, or trusted, my mother. The one time I actually needed real, serious help from my family — my YOUNGER sister, no less — and I’ve fucked myself. I look like the big, bad wolf, running away with my sister’s money and not paying it back. Well, half of it. Less than half, in fact. (My dad actually paid her back MORE than what I owed, I think … )

He kept asking me what I wanted to do with the money I had left – the quarter. He kept asking for my bank details, but I told him we’d figure it out later on when we saw each other. I didn’t feel right accepting it. If I did, it would be as if I accepted the situation. I definitely don’t. I would NEVER have not paid my sister back. I’m not that kind of person, and the fact that my FAMILY would think of me like that is actually fucking offensive.

I don’t agree with the less than equal way that my sister and I have been brought up, with one of us struggling financially, and the other living rent-free, care-free, and with a £20k in the bank. Well, not now with the cars and wedding and all. My mother, my sister and I found ourselves house-hunting at the same time, a few years ago. I moved in with Bestie because my mother deliberately looked for, and opted for, a 2 bedroom house. One room for her and one for my sister. No third bedroom for the second daughter, who was also technically homeless at the time. (I moved back from the other side of the world.)

I told my dad I didn’t want the inheritance money. I don’t feel right accepting it. I appreciate his help more than he could ever understand. I love that he had my back like that, but the way the situation went down was really bad. It shouldn’t have gotten to that point. I should never have let it get to that point. I shouldn’t have relied on someone else. I should have badgered my sister more, even when she ignored me. It would have taken me a couple of months, at most, to get this situation fixed if I’d have known. I thought my mother was giving me a break … Bear’s sick, remember? There’s only one of us full-time earning right now.

I’m also now furiously saving money to pay my dad back the money he paid my sister on my behalf.

The money that I would have received had the potential to change my life, or at the very least, get a bigger, better place for my new little family to live in. It’s not going to do that. It was given to my sister, who now has an actual life-changing amount of money. If someone had responded to me or my texts, I could have paid the money I owed my sister BEFORE this point. Then that inheritance money could have been life-changing for the both of us.

*****

This morning I learned that my sister finally got accepted for a mortgage. A house offer was also accepted. I am beyond ecstatic for her, but I’m struggling to muster up the strength to show it right now. I was text-snappy. I’ve not really heard from her in weeks, months, in fact. She doesn’t need anything. That’s why I haven’t heard a peep. On a day when half of my absent family publicly rejected me in an obituary that I had to read a year and a half after my grandfather died, the same day that our / her dad paid off my debt to her, she barely even bothered to read my message. I think I’m okay to be a little pissed off about that.

The deafening silence from my family over the last few months finally now makes sense. The plotting and the whispering behind my back, it’s all out in the open now. I’m the big bad wolf, once again, and little sis is back in the golden girl spot. The places switched for a while, but we’re back to where we should be. She’s getting married, and now she’s moving into her very own house too. I’m living in a tiny apartment I can barely afford, with a boyfriend who may or may not have dementia, and I can’t remember the last time my family text me to say, “How are you?” 

Sorry, but I don’t want the fucking money. I will work for every goddamn fucking penny that passes through my hands. I’m totally cutting off my nose to spite my face, and I’m standing firmly by my decision. I’m tired of always coming out of situations like this looking like an utter piece of shit.

The end. 

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