“We Did not Blame or Recommendation”: Do We Show Our Wealth When We Give Cash to Mates and Household?

Dear Quentin,

What is the best way to give substantial gifts of money to family and friends without being viewed as “wealth on display”?

We have some family members and friends who are struggling to make ends meet, especially as a result of the pandemic. With funds we decided to help them financially and we sent sizeable checks. In order not to highlight family members who had problems, we gave each one an identical amount.

There were no “conditions” attached to their later editions. We have not commented on their financial situation, blamed or given advice. It was just helping, with no strings and no judgment.


“But one recipient subtly stated that we were displaying our wealth. We were surprised. ‘

But one recipient subtly stated that we would flaunt our wealth.

We were surprised. Our full intention was to reduce financial burdens. They fought for life; we had extra. Quite easy. But that comment made us rethink how our actions were interpreted.

We also donate to well-known charities and local aid organizations, but our strong preference is to go direct our donations to help our family, friends and causes. We believe that giving back and helping those in need is a moral responsibility, especially when it comes to families. But there for the grace of God …

But what if that giving works against our relationships? Does “giving” now need a declaration of intent?

Do good

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Dear Do Gooder,

When giving money to your adult children, writing a check for the same amount of money for each party can be the easiest way to avoid allegations of favoritism. However, writing a check to extended family members and friends can easily create problems. In these circumstances, it is better to make discreet inquiries and ask, “How can I help?” By doing this, you are giving the potential fifteen a chance to say, “Yes, it’s okay to have this conversation.” And you also give them freedom of choice in making this decision instead of making them passive recipients.


“Money has a destabilizing effect on relationships: it can upset the delicate balance.”

It is also better to be fair in warning people of your intentions. When you get a check out of the blue, people feel uncomfortable, and although you say there were no conditions, they may not be aware of it. Plus, they might be indebted to you one way or another. Money has a destabilizing effect on relationships: it can upset the delicate balance of a relationship, which is based on other factors such as mutual respect, love, loyalty, and sympathy. If the recipient of the gift believes there is an opportunity now or in the future, this is a problem.

There are many ways to customize gifts to the individual needs of a loved one. MarketWatch has published a series entitled “Gifts That Pay Off” about gifts that add value to a person’s life financially, rather than depreciate it over time. But the main tenet here is good: you are trying to do good and spread your happiness. For every half-dozen close family members you give a gift of money to, there will be one who finds a problem with it. While it’s always good to take stock of your actions, I don’t think you should let one insulted person spoil you for everyone.

There are likely five other people who would love the financial relief – and if a family member or friend thinks you’re showing off your wealth, they can always return it.

You can email The Moneyist with all financial and ethical issues related to coronavirus at [email protected]

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