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What to Do When Your Family Doesn't Have Your Back

What do you do when you’ve started making a plan for your money—doing things the right way—and your family criticizes you?

That’s exactly the issue Alicia faced when she called in to The Dave Ramsey Show. "My in-laws are starting to give my husband a hard time about our choices following your money principles," she told Dave. "It’s very different from the way he was brought up, and they don’t really understand."

Alicia, 29, and her husband, 34, have been married for three years. So, as you can imagine, Dave had a strong opinion on this subject.

"Let’s pretend this was a friend of yours who said they didn’t like the type of car you bought," he said. How would you respond in that situation? "It’s none of their business, and your husband needs to tell them that."

"You’ve reached the point where you’re making decisions, as adults, for your household, and it’s no one else’s business. It’s called being a grown up," Dave told Alicia.

The real problem here, Dave said, isn’t the in-laws—it’s Alicia’s husband. "He’s not responding to their pressure. He’s starting to think he’s crazy because they’re saying he’s crazy. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, but he’s the problem."

Dave believes their future will look much different once her husband takes a stand. "I have a prediction for you: If you’re kind and firm and just say this subject is off limits, without causing a major relationship rift, I think they’ll eventually start calling you on the sly and asking you how you did it," Dave said.

Alicia also struggled with the fact that their family is supposed to be their cheerleaders. But, instead of hoping for their success, the family has become their biggest critic. "I also feel envy coming from them because we are winning," she said.

"That’s part of winning," Dave responded. "People say ’You’re so lucky,’ but luck has nothing to do with it! I worked my tail off for 25 years and now I’m an overnight success. Aristotle said, ’There’s only one way to avoid criticism: Say nothing. Do nothing. Be nothing.’ So you’ll always have to put up with mediocre people when you go win, whether they’re family or not."

"That’s part of winning. People say ’You’re so lucky,’ but luck has nothing to do with it!"

Dave said the best thing they could do, as a couple, is to start setting boundaries. "They’re crossing emotional boundaries by picking on you guys for something that means a lot to you—when they should be cheering you on."

"You pretty much hit the nail on the head," Alicia said.

"So this is a grown-up moment for you guys, and you have to say they no longer have permission to hurt your feelings on this subject. Because they’re losing with money, so their opinion isn’t valid. You can still be kind to them, but you don’t have to listen to what they say."

You can watch the entire conversation between Dave and Alicia below, courtesy of The Dave Ramsey Show video channel.



For more of the The Dave Ramsey Show, check out the show on YouTube Live.



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Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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