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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I tell my struggling uncle he doesn't need to give me gifts?

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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I tell my struggling uncle he doesn't need to give me gifts?

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MSE_KelvinMSE_Kelvin MSE Staff
162 posts
Third Anniversary 10 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
MSE Staff
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

A couple of years ago my dad and his brother had a falling out, so I've not seen my uncle since, although we do occasionally speak. My uncle is still kind enough to send me money for birthdays and Christmases, despite not being in great shape financially and having two kids of his own. While I appreciate the gesture, I don't need the money and don't want my uncle to struggle any more than he has to, but I'm worried that if I tell him he'll think I'm ungrateful and patronising, or even that I'm trying to cut ties with him. What should I do?

Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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  • NBLondonNBLondon Forumite
    3.9K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    If the supposed dilemma holder is an adult - they can contact their uncle and use that as an excuse for "you don't really need to do that..."
    If they can't bear to do that - find out when the cousin's birthdays are and send the money to them.
    Wash your Knobs and Knockers... Keep the Postie safe!
  • edited 16 February at 6:33PM
    PollycatPollycat Forumite
    30.5K posts
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    edited 16 February at 6:33PM
    You should be able to word things so that your uncle fully understands why you're asking him not to send money to you and therefore doesn't feel that you are ungrateful, patronising or trying to cut ties with him.

    Is next week's dilemma going to be
    "I've been sending money to my niece/nephew but they've told me to stop.
    Are they being ungrateful? Are they being patronising? Are they trying to cut ties with me?"

    LOL :)
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    How does the OP know what the financial position of the Uncle is?
    Just because the Uncle does not choose to have a flashy car, holiday, or whatever there is that the OP's father has but the Uncle does not.  The Uncle may still be sufficiently comfortably off and just choose to spend money in a different way.
    Whether the Uncle should keep sending present money is really for the OP's father and Uncle to agree - the OP should just keep a low profile and be grateful and always send a thank you card.
  • REJPREJP Forumite
    222 posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Act like an adult.  Speak to your Uncle, explain you believe he does not have a good enough income to give you presents and that you appreciate what he has given you in the past.  Keep in regular touch with him and your cousins by phone, email or letters, don't just contact them at Christmas or birthdays.  Tell him he is important to you and that family matters more than presents.  There is a lot to be said for the saying "Don't be a stranger."
  • Worcester2020Worcester2020 Forumite
    2 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Tell him the best present he can give you is for your uncle to make up with his brother.
  • GladsGlads Forumite
    3 posts
    Fifth Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    MoneySaving Newbie
    If you want to forgo what your uncle gives you, you could tell him that the best gift he can give you is to spend the money on his children, your cousins. Just telling your uncle not to give you the money may otherwise hurt his pride. 
  • LouispastramiLouispastrami Forumite
    2 posts
    First Post First Anniversary
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Its always dangerous to assume that we know what is best for other people. Its one thing to say something like, "you know you csnt affordvit and I know you cant affiesbut so why are you doing it(or please dont do it), and different to just say " thank you "  the first would seem to be very patronising and arrogant. The other  will never cause offence.

  • PhilWardlePhilWardle Forumite
    1 posts
    First Post First Anniversary
    MoneySaving Newbie
    It seems mad that you are being given gifts from someone who really can't afford to give them. You state that you don't need them as you aren't short off money so that makes the decision easier to make.
    When our cousin's/nephews/nieces etc reached the age of 21 we stopped sending gifts and just send cards with good wishes and love. Why not suggest to your uncle that, as you are now an adult, that he stops sending you a present and sends just a card.
    It is a difficult situation as you wouldn't want to offend him. However I bet he would be relieved at not having additional expenditure when he can't afford it. 
    I hope you solve your dilemma.
  • hulchulc Forumite
    1 posts
    Part of the Furniture First Post Combo Breaker
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Why not return it later in the year as a present on his birthday?
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