First I'd like to say I'm sorry for asking what is likely a common question that has been answered. However I did some pretty extensive searching using various key words and I'm coming up empty. I have learned a lot of useful information reading through the site so thank you for that.
I'm curious what a reasonable monthly remittance to the wife's mother is and general advice.
My wife and I are living here in the USA. My wife was sending 3k THB monthly to mom back in Thailand as a remittance. I was OK with this, but since about 6 months ago, this apparently has doubled and I just discovered she’s sending 6k now for the past half year. The Thai mom is in her 50s and has a little soup cart / restaurant permanently set up next to the local village temple and makes some money that way and it gives her something to do. She’s out in the provinces and a 45 minute drive from any big city. The small house she owns and lives in is old, but paid for. The Thai mom also cares for a 6 year old niece. My wife’s older adult single brother is capable, but not seeking employment and also lives at home.
Mom hit up the wife a few times since we’ve been married pleading for large sums of money on top of the monthly allowance and my wife actually got pissed off and stopped talking with her for a while. We still sent the monthly payment. It sounds like the mom has money management issues and has repeatedly gotten herself in debt with the local loan sharks. My wife had bailed her out several times over the past few years and is trying to be a good wife and not continue the enablement, but has doubled the monthly payments since she loves the family and feels she needs to send it. She also says she loves her niece and wants to make sure she is taken care of.
Mom had some medical issues and we recently paid a few thousand USD to help her get the operations she needed to improve her life.
All in all, with everything combined, we are looking at about 5k USD this year. I want to respect my wife and her family, but also don’t want to allow this to get out of control and I see the payment situation potentially going downhill. Now is the time to act. We are going on vacation to visit the family in Thailand soon and it’s my wife’s first time back in about 5 years. We want to assess the situation before we jointly make a decision. I fully expect to provide some support lasting for the rest of mom’s life, but I want to minimize it to a reasonable / minimal level as I have my own retirement to plan for also. I come from a family where we all financially take care of ourselves and our future so I am having trouble personally accepting this aspect of the culture but I do understand it exists.
I work full time and make an average income. My wife works part time and makes a minimal income. My wife does have an American degree and has said she would like to find a better job when we get back from vacation. I’m thinking about pushing for 3k THB a month plus other one off expenses as we see appropriate and we can possibly increase this sum when my wife gets a decent paying job. Mom continues to ask for things and it bothers me that her large extended family and brother do nothing to assist, but we are asked for financial help. It seems we need to set proper expectations which in my mind would be first mom making prudential financial decisions and second, the family helping as a whole according to the means. This is starting to seem reasonable, but unrealistic. What is your advice given the situation?
I also know of a few mixed families who are / have in the past sent large quantities of money back regularly and it seemed the farang partner was getting milked and in some cases involved the Thai lady moving back home after a few years with a new paid off home back in Thailand and a financially drained ex. I don't see this with my wife so far and don't predict it based on her character but don't want to end up in a situation that slowly edges to this over time.
Thanks for your advice.