I’m 24, male was born in Western Europe, currently living in China. The main reason why I’m in China is my girlfriend who I met back at my home town and she happened to be Chinese. I’m full time post graduate student who works part-time on weekends and evenings. My girlfriend works full time. Our shared income can be estimated as 12000 RMB(2000 USD) / month.

My future father-in-law has been running small factory that produces snacks. Last two years his business was not profitable, so he took several loans to modernize his factory. His revenue is still not that good for now. Last month he borrowed 2000 USD. Several days ago he borrowed 500 USD again. I and my girlfriend know that he would not return that money. He borrows this money not to make a simple living buying food or paying bills. He asks this money to “support” his factory: first time to pay some of his debts the second time to have some kind of guarantee to apply for new loan…

We strongly feel that the money we give him will not save his factory, but that money is still a part of our income that we earned working hard. How do we refuse him when he asks for money again?

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    This is not really a personal finance question, but more of a cultural issue. I assume you'd know how to say "no" if your father-in-law was from your home country. For Chinese, saving face is very important and closing the factory will be an admission of failure. But the fact that he cannot deal with that should not bring your own family down as well. I think you should have your girlfriend/fiancee deal with that, and if you're Ok with that - present you as an asshole and a horrible person who wouldn't give him money. That's what I'd do, because that's the best option (in this situation). – littleadv Jul 1 '16 at 5:38
  • And you'll be considered an asshole and a horrible person in any case, regardless of the fact that you're completely in your right to protect your own family's financial interest, so just deal with that. You'll have to at some point, so better sooner than later :-) – littleadv Jul 1 '16 at 5:39
  • @littleadv thank you for answering. I couldn't find any subgroup here about Chinese culture or culture in general, so I ended up wring here. I will listen to your advise. – Ilia_Mochalov Jul 1 '16 at 5:50
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    A good trick is: Person X asks you for money. Your reply: Ah, that's bad luck, I was just about to ask you if you the same thing. ... Then, at really great length, explain why you need to borrow (say) $3,500. Make it an amount a bit bigger than what Person X was asking for. Just go in to really great detail and keep talking and talking and talking and talking about the details of why you need the $3500. – Fattie Jul 1 '16 at 11:32

In these situations, one solution is to use the "I was just about to ask you the same thing..." response.

This is kind of a famous way to deal with people asking you for money, whether it's someone asking to borrow "$10 at lunch time" or "$3000 for a car" or the like.


Person X asks you for money, say $2000.

Your reply: Ah, that's bad luck, I was just about to ask you the same thing...

Follow this immediately - just keep talking - by launching in to a really incredibly detailed discussion of why you need to borrow money (pick a slightly larger amount, slet's ay $3500). Just "keep talking" and don't let the other person get a word in. Go in to great detail about just what you need the $3500 for and why.

It's a good trick.

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    That sir is brilliant. +1 from me. – Pete B. Jul 1 '16 at 12:10
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    Thanks Pete! it's a great trick, very "Scottish". An old Scottish bloke "Jim" who was a family friend (and a great ballroom dancer, of all things), explained it to me. (RIP Jim!) – Fattie Jul 1 '16 at 12:12

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