Dear Coleen: I’ve won some money but it’s causing a family rift

Dear Coleen

I won a relatively modest amount of money recently – enough to pay off my mortgage and put some in the bank for my retirement.

This should be a happy time, as I’ve never had much money and my wife and I have struggled and worked hard to bring up three boys and see them through college.

However, my family can’t be happy for us. In fact, they think I should have passed some of the money on to them and I’m regretting telling anyone now.

I gave my brother some money to go on holiday with his family as they’re on the breadline and have never been abroad, and I’ve given my sons some money to do with what they please.

Some other relatives have been bad-mouthing me and it’s caused a rift in the family.

I didn’t win millions and I want to provide for my wife and myself in our old age, which seems reasonable, but I feel I have to justify my decisions.

I’ve been told certain people think I’m mean and selfish.

Have you got any advice?

Coleen says

I honestly think you just have to ignore it. When the thorny issue of money rears its head, you really see people for who they are, and it can be a shock.

Over the years I’ve had many letters from people aggrieved because they haven’t been left anything in someone’s will when they believe it’s their right, and it can divide families.

If your relatives can’t be pleased you can now have a lovely life free of ­financial stress after working so hard, it’s their problem, not yours.

It’s your money to do what you want with and you don’t have to justify your decisions.

You deserve this and you shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s kind you gave money to your sons and to your brother and his family, but what are you supposed to do, give it away so you’re left worrying?

I think jealousy is at the root of this – while money is fabulous, it can also be toxic. I don’t think you should have to justify yourself to relatives but, if you want to shut it down, just tell them you didn’t win enough to give it away to everyone. Enjoy your windfall.

hi.sevahi

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