Freeloading Family Member? Here’s a Plan!

Reader Question: My brother-in-law moved in with us several months ago. He’s 32, and 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 is hesitant to say anything. She complains about the situation to me, but she knows her family will be upset if we do anything. How can we handle this?

Responsible adults don’t behave like bums, and I don’t care what the rest of the family thinks. This issue is between you and your wife. You two are the only ones dealing with this, so it’s easy for others to chime in about what should happen.

You shouldn’t just kick the guy out, but you do need to get busy formulating a plan that will allow him to get back on his feet. Have a gentle talk with him about the situation and his future, and tell him things aren’t going to continue on the same path. Let him know he must have a job within 30 days, 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 must move out.

I know these things can be difficult, but sometimes you’ve got to take the bull by the horns and make something happen. It’s what’s best for him – and both of you – in the long run.

Dave Ramsey

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays online at Send your questions He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee.