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Dave Says: Get the Brother-in-law Out!

Dave Ramsey - August 14, 2012

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My 27-year-old brother-in-law is living with us but isn't contributing. How do I convince my wife that he needs to go?

Dear Dave,

My 27-year-old brother-in-law moved in with us some time ago. He doesn’t have a job or contribute anything in terms of helping around the house or with bills. I think he needs to move out, but my wife isn’t so sure. She complains about the situation to me, but if I say anything, it makes me the bad guy with her family. How can I convince her?

Chuck

Dear Chuck,

I think you need to sit down with your wife, not all the other players, and gently explain to her that you’re just enabling his bad behavior by allowing things to continue this way. Responsible adults don’t behave like bums, and I don’t give a flip what the rest of the family thinks. It’s your house, and this issue is between you and her. You two are the only ones having to deal with this, so it’s really easy for others to chime in about what should happen. But hey, if they’re so concerned with the guy having a place to stay, maybe one of them should take him in. I’ll bet that idea would shut them up in a heartbeat!

I’m not advising you to just kick the guy out, but maybe you could formulate a plan that will give him a little time to get back on his feet. Have a loving talk with him about the situation, but let him know things can’t continue on the same path. Let him know that within 30 days he has to have a job, and 30 days after that he has to move into his own place. Write it down on the calendar, if it will help, but make sure he understands why you’re doing this and the date he has to move out.

I know these kinds of things can be difficult, but sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make something happen. There’s no reason it has to become an ugly situation, as long as you and your wife get on the same page and you do things in a helpful and kind way.

—Dave

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