DEAR HARRIETTE: I come from a large family, and I am the baby. I was born many years after most of my siblings. I was the "surprise" child, so to speak. I didn't get to know my siblings much because most of them had moved away before I was in elementary school.
Now that I have done pretty well in my career, a few of my siblings have started to call to ask me for things. At first it was great to connect, since we are all adults, and I would like to know my siblings. But then it became a little too common, and they would call only when they needed money. I am happy to help my family, even if I don't know them all that well. But I don't like feeling that I am the family bank, and the only time they come around is to get money. How can I build a relationship with them without the promise of a payday? -- Cashed Out, Denver
DEAR CASHED OUT: Be upfront with your family members. When they reach out to you, tell them how happy you are to get to know them now that you are all adults. Suggest that you get together one-on-one or even as a family reunion. Express your joy at this new fellowship you are creating. But also draw the line.
When asked for money, define the amount you're comfortable sharing. Tell them that you are happy to give up to a point, but you are unable to give any more than that. Explain that you are working within a budget and that you do not have any more money in your budget to give to them.
Recently, I interviewed financial expert Patrice Washington (realmoneyanswers.com), who says, "No means no" when it comes to what you tell family members when you have no more money. When you are able to say that, you create financial freedom for yourself and introduce a new dynamic in which to engage your family and loved ones.