A sibling quarrel over who pays for whose family vacations has divided the internet.
A well-off family member has for years treated a poorer sibling to a vacation. But now a third sibling, who is “doing OK”, has questioned the arrangement, asking when their family will be entitled to benefit from the well-off sibling’s generosity.
Users of the discussion site Mumsnet are divided over the rights and wrongs of the case, with 55 percent voting the post “unreasonable” and 45 percent disagreeing.
With the soaring cost of living forcing many people to sacrifice luxuries such as vacations and leisure activities, tensions among friends and family are likely to rise.
A 2017 study of 2,700 Americans by financial services firm Ameriprise Financial discovered that although a relatively low 15 percent of siblings have conflicts over money, when they do clash, it’s mainly about their parents, at 68 percent.
The study found that the top issues that cause rifts among siblings are whether a sibling supports their parents more than other siblings, how an inheritance is divided, and if parents are being unfair in their financial support.
“Beyond these disputes,” it says, “other topics that cause sibling spats include different money values or spending habits (56 percent), varying levels of income (46 percent), and issues involving repaying money (33 percent).
Posting to Mumsnet’s “AIBU (Am I Being Unreasonable) forum?”, user wasabipeas describes a tense situation between three siblings they refer to as “A, B and C. All married with DCs [dear children].”
They describe the three siblings as, “A is very well off, big house, lots of holidays, skiing etc.
“B is doing ok, has a holiday every year but camping/Eurocamp or self catering sort of things.
“C has the least money of all of them, due to working in a low-paying industry and wouldn’t ordinarily take DCs ‘away’ on holiday but would do day trips locally etc.”
“For the last few years, family A has offered to take family C on holiday. Not joining their usual long haul but Centreparcs or a week in a cottage which Family A pays for.”
The user then explains how after siblings A and C recently returned from their vacation, sibling B said “half jokingly ‘I look forward to it being our turn for the free Family A holiday scheme one day'”.
They continue, “C tells A what was said, A contacts C and says that it’s not about free holidays so much as giving kids who wouldn’t otherwise have a holiday something, where as B’s kids get a holiday every year, so this isn’t ‘t something that B is going to come to as long as they are able to give their kids a holiday. A is cross and B being entitled, B is cross at their kids being excluded, C is stuck in the middle of it.”
People on Mumsnet had strong views on the sibling spat. “B is a brother. C is a stirrer for telling A what was said” said one person, “B is being very unreasonable” said another.
One user commented on the possibility that sibling B might be feeling the pinch due to the current financial constraints, “B is probably facing a no holiday future, like a lot of people who can currently ‘only’ afford cheap breaks and is a bit uneasy about it.”
One user empathized with sibling B, “C is not stuck in the middle; C is shit-stirring. I can understand why B FEELS excluded, but is acting a little entitled, with the ‘half’ tongue in cheek comment. A was lovely to have taken C and family away, but I wonder whether A would be so quick to offer another time after the unnecessary, low level sibling drama/tension it has created.”
Another user agreed saying, “I imagine B is feeling left out. It might not be about money, it might be that all the others get to do a thing together and they’re not invited. Why would you need to give A a heads up? Let them sort their own relationship.”
The Ameriprise Financial study found that “most respondents (63 percent) say their asset levels are very different from their siblings”.
“Even though they may have contrasting viewpoints, siblings shouldn’t let their differences prevent them from talking about money,” said Marcy Keckler, vice president of Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise Financial. “By bringing financial topics to the table on a regular basis, siblings can get in sync and feel more confident when working out family financial kinks together down the road.”