Red Responds: Writing On Her Sister’s Behalf

Dear Red,

Thanks for your wonderful, insightful, and eye-opening answers. I am writing this on my sister’s behalf because she is asking for guidance and she is way too busy to do it. I will explain below. A few years ago, my sister (a dental assistant) and her husband (a banker), got involved in real estate summer rentals in the vacation town that the family always visited. Even though they were struggling financially maintaining their own home plus vacation properties, they were doing ok because of the boom in the market. When they sold part of the properties, my sister thought they had finally made it!

However, last September my brother-in-law got involved in the purchase of a deli business which they are now running. They have NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER. My sister has always supported her husband but this “new” situation is putting a lot of strain in their 25-year marriage; the stress is also making her sick, and they are always bickering. Even though they prepared themselves for this moment and have also kept their regular jobs, now that the summer season is here, there are many issues involved in the food business which they were not aware of. My brother-in-law is hopeful that they will get the “hang of it” and will eventually be very successful and rich! Also, their teenage children and my children are all working there and helping them out, because they have not been able to hire experienced help, so the kids are doing their best to keep up!

At this time, my sister wants to call it quits but before convincing my brother-in-law, she wants to know: Did they make a mistake? Should they persevere? Will they be successful? Should they abandon this project and sell out?

Both of them are good people, and understand very well that life is about taking chances and being their own boss, however, they never expected anything like this.

Your guidance and input is sincerely appreciated.

Laura – concerned sister

Dear Laura,

The good news is there are two paths your sister can walk down with success in the financial arena surrounding this endeavor.

First, if your sister really wants to throw in the towel, the business can be successfully sold. It’s not going to make them rich, but I’m not seeing a loss – which, in my world, is a success.

Secondly, your brother-in-law is right. If they persevere, it will be a thriving and successful business. Granted, one built on blood, sweat, and more than a few tears.

It seems to me that your sister’s heart is not in the deli business. It’s not her dream. And right now, she’s not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If they keep at it, things will improve, both with the business and the marriage.

Your sister needs to have a talk with her husband. While she is doing her best to be supportive, she is also harming herself with that effort. It’s all too much stress for her. While they have learned a lot in a short time about this endeavor, there seems to be a very push-pull thing going on when it comes to the deli.

Your brother-in-law is not ready to give up. This means that your sister will face a bit of a challenge in convincing him to throw in the towel. Granted, she can do it. But it would be better if he came to this decision on his own. If she really wants to end this endeavor, rather than talking him into letting it go, she may want to try removing herself from some the stress by letting him take the control and responsibility.

Your sister and her husband aren’t working together in their customary harmony. Ultimately, their relationship is more important than the business to each of them. Unfortunately, the business is ruling the relationship. This is what she needs to discuss with her husband.

Did they make a mistake? I really can’t say that they did. If they give it some more time and start working with each other once again instead of for the business, they will have a well-earned success. If they let it go, they got one heck of an education, both personally and professionally.

Brightest Blessings,
Ext. 9226

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