Posted by Dave on September 20, 2011
This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
For those of you that haven’t read my previous posts on my current living situation (here was my post in June, and my post in August) I currently have my 24-year old sister living with me. As you may be able to surmise from the title of the article, the end of this arrangement is near. After several discussions near the end of August, my sister decided that she couldn’t live with the rules that my wife and I had imposed and would be much happier living on her own. As of November 1, my wife and I will be regaining our guest room. On the flip-side, rather than living for free and having the opportunity to pay off her debts, my sister has decided to pay $750 per month in rent to live in a basement apartment.
My wife and I knew that it would be difficult for my sister to follow the rules, but we thought she would last 6 or 8 months (somewhere around Christmas), rather than the 6 weeks she ended up lasting.
On one hand, we’re disappointed that my sister was finding the experience so unbearable that she would rather leave and live with a significant number of debts than live with the rules we had laid out. On the other hand, my wife and I have found that we are not “roommate” people – we value our independence and realize we were taking the freedom we had for granted prior to the our current situation.
So, what went wrong with the situation? I think that there were two main reasons why the situation didn’t work out:
- We were perhaps a little too strict money-wise than my sister was able to accept. Part of the reason we were so strict was to teach her how to stick to a concrete financial plan that she would be able to translate into something that worked for her when she moved out by herself. Another reason why we were so strict was we placed a certain value on what we were giving up by having my sister live with us and we expected her to “pay” us back by getting rid of her debt as soon as possible.
- She wasn’t ready. The entire time she was living with our rules, she was resenting us for being so hard on her, rather than looking at the opportunity she was given. I think that after a few years to mature, she will (hopefully) realize that we weren’t being “mean”, but were trying to help.
We realize, that we could have relaxed the rules and allowed her to stay with her own rules, but we didn’t really want to enable her out of control spending, while resenting her for being in our home where we were doing fine prior to her moving in.
So, this little social experiment has come to an end. My wife and I are counting down the days until we regain our freedom, and I’m sure my sister has a similar countdown on the go.
Would you have relaxed the “House” rules in this situation?