How much help should I actually give to people in my family?

When I was seventeen, I moved out of my parent’s home and into a small apartment hotel.  I put myself through college with scholarships and loans and a lot of part time jobs. When my first son was 18, I arranged for him to move out and start his life in Santa Barbara.  In fact, all four of my kids have followed this independent path to where ever they are today.  That being said, this post is not about them or me directly.  It is about my partner and wife, T, and her plan to help her consistently unwealthy sister find the path to making money and therefore (T hopes) happiness.

Here’s the plan:  T is a successful investor.  She has rental properties that cash flow and a stock investment strategy that earned her 9.9% on her money in 2007.  She has gotten to this stage in her life by learning as she earns.  She puts in the work to understand each business she is a part of.  Speaking of which, we, also, own a very successful small corporation that has increased its income each year since 2002 by 30%.  Still, family is family to her  and so against all the advice that’s out there right now she has decided to help her sister by buying a rental property that they then intend to flip.  No matter that the real price of resaleable real estate property is falling at a continuous rate of about 2% a month.  No matter that remodelling costs are going up at about twice that rate.  No matter that it is going to be T’s money for the down, her FICO for the loan, and her credit rating on the line if the project goes under.  No matter because, after all, family comes first.  No matter that I can see this for what it is, a way for T to somehow earn the respect that she feels she doesn’t get from the sister, and the family.

But now that I’ve said all that I have to face the fact that now T is my family and no matter what if this is what she wants then I have to do whatever it takes to make sure she succeeds.   Does that answer the question?

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