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'My broke sister won't pay me back 3k. She says I need to have empathy since I'm richer. AITA?'

'My broke sister won't pay me back 3k. She says I need to have empathy since I'm richer. AITA?'


Nothing heats up already present tensions quite like a financial tiff.

"AITA: broke sister won’t pay back rich brother."

Two years ago, I lent my sister $3,000 to be repaid when our $30k inheritance from our grandmother came in. It was supposed to come in within months, but it took two years due to numerous reasons. During those two years, my sister and her husband went into debt to have a six-figure wedding.

Shortly after, it appears both of them started having issues with their incomes and have also been struggling with their debt. Her husband owns a few restaurants, apparently they aren’t doing well enough to support their lifestyle. Just a complete and utter financial disaster.

I patiently wait for the inheritance to finally come in, and then my sister messages me saying she is not going to pay me until she fixes her situation. They are selling their share of a business and I’ll get paid then. After some months of waiting I message her:

“Hey do you have an update on repaying me? I was supposed to get paid back after the inheritance came. My loan to you was just 10% of the inheritance. What did you do with the inheritance funds?”

I asked her what she did with the inheritance funds because unless it was used to pay down debt immediately, I don’t see any justification for not paying me. I heard she have invested a portion of it in the market. I strongly feel that paying me back takes precedence over investing (gambling?) it in the market.

Her response in full:


Do you sit in [location] and think hmmmm

Let me ask my sister for 3k

“What did you do with the inheritance funds”

"Like what are you on about?"

"It’s called, we are actively trying to fix our situation. So no I am not paying you 3k until I do. And that is my final answer. If you would like to complain more when your net worth is SIGNIFICANTLY more than mine I have explained very clearly that [husband] does not have a salary. If you message me again about this until I tell you that we’re good, do not expect me to speak to you again."

"I have been more stressed out than I’ve ever been in my life. And I will not have my multi millionaire brother be on my a$$ about 3k. Get some f#$king empathy."

My response back to her:

"True or not true you invested some of it in crypto? How much net worth do you need to your name before you pay me back the 3k? You literally got a 30k cash infusion. You couldn’t survive with 27k?"

"You think because I have money and you don’t, you can avoid paying me back on time. It changes the ethics equation for you. When I lent you the 3k to survive UNTIL the 30k came in. Then it came in and you had enough spare money to clown around in crypto. Nope that’s not ethical. You clear the debt. It’s about trust. A 3K payment is going to sting regardless. It’s only 6 months of a horse payment."

"It is unhealthy to have this debt hanging over our relationship. So settle it, and move forward."

So my position here is pretty clear. The debt was 3k. We received 30k inheritance from our sweet grandmother. If things aren’t dire enough that they have money to invest in the market from that 30k, then that is money that should be paid to me first. End of story. My current financial standing is irrelevant here, and is just an excuse to not do what is right.

Some are asking whether I have proof of original agreement. Yes I do, over text.

So, AITA? Do I need more empathy?

People got their typing fingers out, and quickly.

AgnarCrackenhammer wrote:


Your sister owes you the money. Plain and simple. The bank I got my mortgage from has a valuation in the billions, but that doesn't excuse me from paying them back.

Cattlehuyuk2323 wrote:

Anytime you loan a friend or family money, if you love them as a friend or family you must do so expecting to never be paid back and ask yourself what will happen when you aren't. Because anyone with decent credit can get a traditional loan from a bank. It's what they do. I am bad with money but I don't borrow it from anyone.

pottersquash wrote:

NAH. Perhaps I'm daft, but theres nothing in that statement that make me thingk they have money invested. Frankly, she sounds broke and debt to eyeballs. Who knows, but all you have is you heard she has money in market; that is just so starkly different from what she is saying. Maybe she is lying.

Your finanical standing is irrelevant here, but hers is very relevant. Even if they are in the pit by their own failures, if they are in the pit they are in the pit.

Its not that you should have more empathy, just just need more than hearsay than what she is saying which is basically, can't get blood from turnip. Heck, you might want to consider suing her cause if businesses are near collapse bankruptcy is coming and you want to get in line.

Wendy613 wrote:

YTA. I know I’m going against the grain here, but both your financial situations do matter. It sounds like your sister’s situation has changed and that you don’t really need the money she owes you. If that’s the case, then yes, you are an asshole to demand to be paid back right now.

Personally, I never loan money to relatives because I don’t want to find myself in your situation. We have gifted money to family that has occasionally asked for loans, and there was one person we told “last time” to, which was respected. You might want to consider forgiving this loan for your own peace of mind, in addition to it being a kindness to your sister.

JohnStalvern wrote:

NTA. You can choose to forgive the debt as a "donation" if that's what you want to do, or wait if you want to, but her failing to fulfill her promise to repay you is her issue. It also sounds like you've learned a sad and valuable lesson; do not ever front/lend money without the expectation that you may never get it back.

Choice_Pool5971 wrote:

NTA. If you really are a multi millionaire then you can shrug off that loss without a sweat. But next time she ever need a loan, you have a right to refuse because she refused to honour her commitment the previous time.

pukui7 wrote:


What is more important to you? Being paid back because it's the right thing for her to do? Or essentially writing off the $3000 to maintain a relationship with her? There is probably a lot more going on here, with a lot of other history.

But with your stark depictions of her financial situation, including the debt incurred for a wedding, while business is failing, you clearly have issues with her behavior beyond this money she owes. She also had very deep resentment towards you, seeing you as lording things over her.

TheDarkHelmet1985 wrote:

Ohhhh boy. This would really grind my gears. Anything other than an emergency is not a sufficient reason. Her poor financial management is not your problem. She made a deal to repay and has backed out. I haven't gone through all the comments but man, if I was in your shoes, I'd have a hard time not responding to her with something along the lines of....

"Well sis, I'm sorry you feel you are entitled to money that is rightfully mine and that I gave you when you were in need. You made a promise. You received $30k and now you simply are taking advantage of me because you think you can. Now, Because you won't pay me back, I am going to write the $3,000.00 loan off for tax purposes as it becomes taxable income when forgiven."

"You will now have to claim that $3,000.00 as income on next year's taxes. Moving forward and since you don't respect me enough to make an honest deal, under no circumstances at all will I ever loan you money again, whether I have the ability or not."

"The reason I have money in the first place is because properly manage my finances and live within my means. This charity to you ends today. Next time you think about asking me for anything, remember this situation and make the smart decision and keep it to yourself."

ChampionshipBetter91 wrote:

You won't like hearing this, but you may have to eat this loss. No, it's not right - she borrowed money and isn't paying it back. But it sounds very much like you trying to get it will allow her to paint herself the victim and you the big meanie and family get-togethers will be awkward. My advice? Stop asking for it. Don't let it go, but stop asking.

HOWEVER, it very much sounds like your sister and her husband are already a raging financial dumpster fire - they will be returning with their hands outstretched for more $. That's when you say, "Oh, absolutely no way. Remember, you STILL owe me $3K." Also, tell everyone about how you weren't paid back. Nobody likes people who do that - no one.

Sources: Reddit
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