Dealing with family dynamics in financial matters can be challenging. A user asked, Am I a jerk for not giving equal pay to my in-laws vs. my parents? We want you to give the final verdict!


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The Original Poster (OP) is a married woman who recently won a large sum. She says it’s not a life-changing, quit your job and never work again type of amount, but it’s significantly more money than she has ever had in her account. 

What Does OP Decide To Do With The Money?

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OP says “My husband and I talked at great lengths about sharing the money, what it would look like, and alternatives such as paying for a family vacation.

They Decided To Gift Each Household

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We decided to gift each household of our immediate family $20k each. So my MIl/FIL received $20k, both of my SIL’s (one is married and one is single), my brother and his family, my mother and my father and step-mother all received equal amounts regardless of whether they were married or single, kids or no kids.”

What Happened Next?

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One day, one of her SILs told OP that her MIL wasn’t exactly happy with the distribution of money between the two sides of the family. She complained that they should have received $40k to make it fair since OP’s parents are divorced, and they each got $20k.

What Do OP Have To Say? 

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Since OP had only one sibling, the couple thought their way of distributing the money was fair enough. Moreover, they expected it to work out nicely and evenly since each side of the family was to get $60k total between each of the three “households”. 

What Does OP’s Husband Say

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OP says, “My husband is embarrassed and annoyed that his mom isn’t being more grateful and while it wouldn’t break us financially to give them the extra it feels unfair to my parents to get less just because they aren’t married anymore.”

She wants to know if she’s a jerk for not giving her in-laws double the payment her parents received individually, even though it’s within her means to do so. 

Not A Jerk At All

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“Your MIL is entitled and ungrateful. She should be thankful. You were generous enough to gift her $20000. Most people who received a lot of money like you did would keep it for themselves but you and your husband decided to share it with family which is admirable. Your MIL should be thanking you for your generosity and reflect on the fact that you didn’t have to give her anything at all.”

It’s A Gift, Not A Payment

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“First off, it was a gift, not a payment.

You had a very unbiased rule: 1 per household regardless of partnership status and child status.

The way MIL would have it, you would be giving $20k per person – so that means those in couples would get $20K each, and in the long run your parents combined would still get more money since your dad (?) is remarried. 

Also, it was *your* winnings. The fact that you shared it with anyone, let alone anyone aside from your own immediate family, is generous.”

This Convo Shouldn’t Have Made It Till Here

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“You have one sibling to give $20k to, he has two. As stated, each side of your family (yours & his) received $60k. Your’e not being a jerk but your MIL sounds ungrateful. Also, your SIL should have never mentioned she’d said that. It was probably a private, mother/daughter convo that wasn’t meant to go any further.” one user said. 

Another user had a slightly similar viewpoint – “Your MIL might have just said it in passing to SIL and doesn’t actually mean it, it shouldn’t have reached you really as it’s now made MIL look awful. She probably just noticed that your parents got 20k each and took it the wrong way a bit. It’s a fair observation (if not an ungrateful one – don’t you love money and family!), I’m sure she doesn’t actually want the other 20k and is grateful for what you gave. I think the fact it worked out equal in both sides of the family makes it work. But it’s one of those things where parents get funny about the other parents.”

It’s A Personal Choice

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“You can give away YOUR money however you choose. No one has any right to tell you what to do with your money. Anything anyone gets is an amount they should be grateful for. MIL is being rude, ungrateful, selfish and many other things.”

$20k Is For Each Household, Not Individual

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“Simple solution. His parents can get divorced then they can get their 20k each. But in all seriousness, the 20k is for each household. The money isn’t just going to your dad, but also your step mum and contributes to their home. Your mum gets 20k for her family and home. Likewise, his parents have 20k to their home.” 

‘Money’ Is To Blame

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A user commented “From what I’ve observed, anything involving money or inheritance can make rational, nice family members act a fool though. I’d just forget about it unless she says something to your face. That would be very tacky and I’d have some choice words to say to her if she did!”

“People really show their true colors when money is involved…now you know how they really are: ungrateful. Giving them more would cause more harm than good, stand firm and tell them they’re not entitled to any of it.” another said. 

What Are Your Thoughts?

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So, what do you think? Is OP being a jerk or not? Drop your views in the comments section!

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