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The Ps and Qs of Friends, Family and Money

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  • The Situation: Your sister, who makes more than you, always insists on picking up the check when you two go out.

    If you're temporarily cash-poor—say, you're in school or going through a divorce—then take your sibling up on her kind offer to treat you and know that you'll return the favor when you're back on your feet. But if it's a chronic situation where she makes more than you and refuses to let you pay, then "find a way to reciprocate that makes sense financially," says Rowley. When she hands over her credit card, "invite her over to dinner at your house or offer to babysit her kids so that she can have a night out. You're still paying her back—but in a way that you can afford."

    If you continue to feel uncomfortable with the dynamic, then sit down with her and express your feelings. Then brainstorm things you two can do together that don't require one of you to always pull out your wallet. This is also a good way to settle the money issue once and for all, especially if you sense that she may feel resentful about shouldering all the costs.

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The Ps and Qs of Friends, Family and Money
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