Dear Jody: On rich and unhappy

By |2007-10-11T09:00:00-04:00October 11th, 2007|Opinions|
Everyone wants something now that I have money

Q: I have had something happen to me that most people would feel grateful for, but for me, it is a nightmare. I inherited money from my uncle. (My uncle never had kids. He and I had a very close relationship.) The amount was considerable, like I would never have to work again in my life if I didn’t want to; however, I don’t have any plans to quit working as I love my work.
So, you might ask: What’s my problem? Well, I have so many friends now, and more family than I had ever seen at any family reunion. My family knew that I got the money because it was an open kind of thing; someone in my family must have told even my friends as it has spread like a wild fire. My cell phone doesn’t stop ringing, my e-mail box is full, and people are at my door like flies in late fall. There are so many hints for help and outright requests for money. I feel like I should ask people to take a number. The crazy thing is that I don’t even have the money in my hands yet. It could actually be a year, the lawyer said, before I ever see that money. I tell people that, but most don’t even believe me when I tell them. I feel like I’m sitting on an ant hill covered in honey.
What really gets me, though, is that my good friend, “Chad,” has hit me up for a lot of money. He said that he is in danger of losing his car because he can’t make the payments. (Something he didn’t say anything about before he found out about my inheritance.) I told him I didn’t have the money and wouldn’t have it for quite awhile. He didn’t believe me, at first. He said that I was holding out on him. Then, when I explained that it takes a long time for estates to be settled, he finally believed me but said that I had a good job and money in the bank. I told Chad that I didn’t want to get into my savings, that I might need it at some point. (At the time he bought his car, he was worried that he might have trouble financially if he bought that car; it was very pricy.) Chad told me that maybe I would be willing to help him by co-signing a second loan for him, then –get this– I could pay off the loan when I got my inheritance.
Frankly, I am feeling like I just want to take my inheritance — when I get it — and put it out on the side of the road and let the vultures have at it. It’s not worth the grief. I’m not a greedy person and want to share some of my money. I have all along planned on giving money to my parents and my sister — they are the only ones who have not asked me for money. I have been thinking of several charities that I have always given to and would like to give extra to them. But, I really resent people like third cousins, people that I have met once at a party four year ago, and — believe it or not — my dentist. (He found out through my mother who also goes to him.) I don’t want to leave my house, turn on my computer or charge my cell phone.
Jody, do you have any ideas how to get all these people out of my life?

Rich and Unhappy

A: In order to take care of yourself, you need to accept the fact that you will probably lose some friends and upset family members over this. (You are not alone, this happens with people who come into money). You will need to come up with some good responses, something like: “I can’t believe you would ask me that; how rude…then, just stare at them.” If on the phone: Say the same thing, then ask, “Do you have anything else that you want to talk about?” Or tell the caller that you are busy and must go. On the e-mail, just say “no.” Don’t get into apologizing or explaining. You will soon find out what family members you want to have in your life and who your real friends are. Good luck!

Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between the Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: [email protected] (Letters may be edited.)

(Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly. Letters may be edited.)

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.