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Years of Bailouts Fail to Help Sister Who's Drowning in Debt

DEAR ABBY: My only sister has been "borrowing" money from me every month for years. She has a ton of credit card debt and cannot afford to meet her monthly financial obligations.

Last year my husband and I paid her property taxes for her so she wouldn't lose her house. It was over $5,000. She promised to pay us back with her tax return money, but we never saw a dime.

I have given her information on debt consolidation programs and offered to pay for her to file bankruptcy, but she has done nothing to improve her financial situation.

She works and makes OK money. Her husband is disabled, but gets Social Security and a small pension. She also supports her adult child, who doesn't work, and she smokes like a chimney.

I have told her many times that I can't keep giving her money, but she still asks every month. This is causing a strain in my marriage. I don't know what else to do. Any words of advice would be appreciated. -- TIRED OF BEING ASKED FOR MONEY

DEAR TIRED: You are a caring sister, but what you have done out of love and charity has allowed your sister to continue living beyond her means. The next time she asks for money, remind her that you have already given her information about debt consolidation, and that you will no longer continue pouring your and your husband's hard-earned money down a bottomless pit. Then stick to your guns.

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