When to Say No: A parent’s guide to giving adult children money

Mother giving child moneyWhen I work with clients who give money to their adult children, I am always curious why. Since preparing a comprehensive budget is part of the counseling process, the topic often comes up. The adult child may still be living at home or recently returned to the parents’ household. Or, parents may be giving money toan adult child that lives on his/her own.

Often what I see is parents either borrowing money to supplement their child’s income, or diverting money earmarked for their own emergencies or retirement to help out. Neither scenario is good for the parents because they can’t really afford to be generous without putting their own financial security at risk. Is this what your adult children would really want if they only knew?

If you give money to your adult children, you have lots of company:

The National Endowment for Financial Education completed a study a couple years ago that showed more than half the parents surveyed (59%) financially helped out their adult children who were not in college. If not in school, then presumably these young adults should be working, right?

Money was given most often for living costs, transportation, and even spending money. When asked why parents help, most replied they were “legitimately concerned” about their child’s financial well-being, while others stated they did not want their children to struggle financially like they once did.

Good reasons to be sure. But my concern is how does the adult child learn to be self-sufficient or learn to live within a budget if the parents are always willing to hand over money? Especially if the parents become financially unstable or indebted just to support adult children.

Have you ever given your adult children money?

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Initial considerations

iStock_000011225926SmallWhen your adult child comes to you asking for money, where do you begin? My advice is don’t start by pulling out your checkbook. Instead, look at the situation more closely.

First, think about whether you can really afford to help your child.

Are you living on a fixed income that barely covers your own bills? Have you been saving for emergencies of your own? Do you have a retirement plan that you should be funding? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, look at helping your child in other ways.

Second, examine the reason why your child needs money.

Is this really a short-term crisis or more of a chronic condition? If your child can’t manage money, overspends on “wants” or has other issues that lead to money problems (possibly mental health issues or substance abuse), the situation warrants further investigation and different solutions. If you simply hand over the money, you can count on more requests for cash that will further drain your finances.

Some helpful guidelines

Establish with your child if this is a gift or a loan.

  • Consider if you can afford the gift; otherwise make it a loan.
  • Set a repayment schedule going forward. Talk with your child to determine an affordable and realistic payment and loan term.
  • Decide on consequences for missed or late payments.
  • Have your child commit to changes he/she will make to repay you on time.

Ask if your child is making any sacrifices.

  • How did this financial crisis come about?
  • What is your child giving up to meet this financial crisis?
  • How will your child prepare to avert the next financial crisis?

Consider other ways to help besides writing that check.

  • Maybe your child can move in with you temporarily until finances improve.
  • Perhaps you can temporarily provide childcare to reduce living costs.
  • Maybe you could provide a reference for job applications.

adult childrenExplore outside resources to help your child.

You could compile a list; then have your child make the phone calls.

Referring your child to LSS Financial Counseling is a great place to start. By talking with one of our Certified Financial Counselors, your child will have an objective third person looking over his/her finances. Our counselors will also make recommendations to get your child back on track financially. And remember this help is free and confidential. So, what do either of you have to lose?

Don’t be afraid to say “no”

Finally, don’t hesitate to tell your child no when you simply can’t afford to hand over money. As parents, your financial stability is just as important as your child’s. And you have less time to make up for any financial hits to your savings or retirement accounts when you put your child’s needs before your own.

I am not suggesting that you should never help your children with money. But perhaps you can make it a teachable moment to get your child on the road toward self-sufficiency, rather than relying on you as a cash machine whenever a money problem comes along.

If you or your son/daughter could benefit from creating a plan for a financial crisis, contact us today. We offer counseling by phone, in-person or online. Appointments are easy to prepare for and your child (or you) will leave with a clear picture of their situation and what next steps should be. To schedule an appointment call 888.577.2227 or start online counseling now by clicking below. The online version of our counseling allows you to enter in all of your information online and a certified counselor will get back to you with an action plan in 2-3 business days.


Check out “How To Get Your Adult Children To Leave the Nest” for even more suggestions. Our own Program Director, Darryl Dahlheimer, was interviewed!

By Barbara Miller

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Posted in Kids, Overspending, Relationships
76 comments on “When to Say No: A parent’s guide to giving adult children money
  1. Hi! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Can'tsayno says:

    I have a 23, 19, and 17 yr. old. My 17 year old is still at home. I give my kids every dollar I get, I’m always struggli, but I find myself offering .them all I have. and then worry myself the pieces over how I’m going to get by.

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Hello there. Would you like to speak with a financial counselor to discuss this? I think talking with a counselor would be a really good idea. A counselor could look at your situation ojectively in a non-judgemntal way and give you some ideas for moving forward. Email me at financialcounseling@lssmn.org

    • Lolita Johnson says:

      I too am guilty of giving my adult children when they ask or when they paint a lack of funds… And mine are 47, 46, 42 and 34. I would probably be 100,000 richer had I not! Ugh!!!

      • You are not alone! This is our most popular post of all time so many, many people are likely in the same boat as you. Just think about how you will handle them asking you for money moving forward and especially if it’s affordable for you. 🙂

  3. Nancy says:

    My husband has been wanting to retire for a year. But family is always borrowing money. I finally told his daughter no because she has not paid back the last loan. Now she is mad at me…she is 32 yrs. old , bought 2 vehicles last year and had reposessed. Had another baby and moves all the time….we are in our 60 and 70s and cannot keep this up. She told everyone that we didn’t care if she was on the street. Now she doesn’t speak to us….my husband is upset. How do I help him to understand we can’t keep this up. Thanks

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Hi there, can you email me at financialcounseling@lssmn.org. We can talk about this offline and would love to discuss your situation and give you ideas for moving forward. Talk to you soon!

    • Jennifer Walch says:

      Hi Nancy,
      I’m working with Kate Swenson to do a TV story about this topic. Would you be interested in talking with me about your situation? I think many people are facing similar situations. My e-mail is jwalch@kdlh.com.

    • Steve says:

      please remember your grown child is an adult. I myself am having the same issues with my step-son, who is 32. He can’t keep a job for more than a month and it’s always the other person’s fault. My wife and I argue about the matter of him being homeless constantly. He is never responsible for his actions and his issues seem to always fall on our plates. Drugs, alcohol and good times seem to come first with Jeremy. He has no money but always has his cigerettes and whatever he needs that’s not good for him.
      So Nancy. YOU and your HUSBAND must stand strong. Seek your daughter the help she needs at church or the red cross. There are programs that can help her to get back on her feet. She just has to be willing to seek this help. My Stepson will not do it, thinking he’s too good for it.

      • Ck says:

        Or he knows you will always bail him out, which is the easiest route. Talk with him and let him know you will not be providing any money in the future. Don’t wait until they come asking as then it creates a bind for them….let him,know ahead of time so he can prepare himself by getting a job or cutting any unnecessary spending now.

        Do NOT feel guilty. Your child is an adult and will eventually realize he can do this himself and he will begin to take great pride in doing so. We went through with our daughter and she has learned…the hard way, but she did do it when she knew there was no other way. Stand firm. Do not back down even once!

    • Ck says:

      Sounds like she has learned to use emotions to get what she wants. Be firm. She will get over it eventually. What if you two were to suddenly be gone from this,earth? Would you want your daughter to have to learn how to be financially responsible all by herself while grieving…no. So, teach her now. She will be a much better person for it in the end.

      You can offer to help her create a budget, but she will be responsible for sticking to it. Don’t get involved in writing checks and such for her. She is a big girl. Let her do it. And do not back down. It will take some time, but they do,learn to make better spending choices when they are forced to only spend what they earn. We were able to help our daughter this way….just know you can’t give in, not even once no matter how badly you want to fix it all for her.

  4. Diana k says:

    I am a single mom with 2 children. My oldest son has graduated a film school and is trying to build his career in filmmaking as a freelancer. He often ends up with no money and I come to rescue him. It happens every year.
    I had some saving and could afford to pay for a great school and a final project. He is trying to generate some income, but seems like he is not trying too hard.
    My youngest daughter is 16 and is already working part time as a swim instructor. She is working and studying hard and saving for university.
    How should I explain to my son that he needs to look for a job that pays bills and start making some savings too.

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Hi Diana, thanks for the comment. I am going to send your question to a counselor and have them email you back. Thanks!

  5. Janise Miller says:

    I have a 43 yr old daughter who uses this term frequently “Mom you have to give me $xx because I don’t have it” We’re not talking $10 or $20-we’re talking $500 or $1000. If I say no, or I simply don’t have it, I get the guilt trip. Suggestions?

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Hi Janise, thanks for the comment. I am going to have a counselor email you some suggestions today. Thanks!

    • Ck says:

      Why on earth would you feel guilty? You worked hard and earned the money. Did she? You budgeted,your money and saved it. Did she? What right could she possibly have to ask you for any money at all. Good grief. She is 43.

      Next time she asks tell her NO. Tell her to either get a job or stop over spending. Tell her can teach her to budget if she would.like. That usually sends them running for a while until they figure out they really are,going to have to learn this skill since you are being firm about not handing out ANY money to her anymore.

      It will irk. Trust me.

  6. Elaine says:

    So glad this site was available to me. Sure wish I had read it sooner. My 34-year-old daughter borrowed over $5000 6 months ago for an attorney in a child custody battle she was in, and also moved in with us. Now she is moving out and says she will pay it back next year with her tax refund. My husband is mad and says that she needs to pay something monthly.
    It seems like our daughter is mad at us for something all the time and I just don’t want my family members to be like that so I don’t want to push the issue. At the same time, I am retiring in a month and can’t afford to let her just keep the money. How can I recoup my money without causing a family battle?

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Hi Elaine,

      Thanks for the comment. I am going to have a counselor email you today.

    • Ck says:

      Maybe you could go to your daughter and explain your financial position. Then ask if she could make smaller monthly payments on the loan until her tax refund comes in so it doesn’t put you in a bind. Even if it is 50 bucks a month it would show good faith on her part. When the tax return comes in then you can expect a balloon payment. Not knowing the situation, but most people don’t get 5000.00 per,year in a refund so dwindling down that amount would really help come tax refund time.

  7. Debbie says:

    Hi, I am engaged to a man whose grown children call him at least 2-4 times a month for money. His son is 21 and lives with his girlfriend and his daughter is 27, married and has 3-children. He has always given them money whenever they ask. We both are 60-yrs old and due to circumstances beyond our control lost everything that we own but 1-car and our jobs. We currently live with my sister and pay her rent. My fiancee makes good money but over half of it goes to his x-wife. It seems his children have always been in the habit of running out of money and going to him for it. I am starting to feel angry with them and him because we have nothing…the have cars, homes, furniture, etc but yet we are giving them money and therefore can’t afford to start building our lives again. We are not spring chickens so must start that process now. I just don’t know what to do. His kids know that we don’t have anything and don’t seem to care. In fact his daughter called last night asking for him to wire her money at 8:40pm. Like she didn’t know she needed it earlier that day? He got up after a long days work and ran to a Western Union to wire her gas money. This is to someone whom got $10000 back on her tax return and spent it all on new furniture and a $1000 TV. I am starting to resent his children and I don’t want to. My fiancee is a really good man and they make guilt him into this. What do we do?

    • Kaycee says:

      That’s the same issue I’m having. My kids make me feel guilty when I don’t give them what they want. What they don’t realize is that it’s putting financial hardship on their father and I. I have monthly bills to pay and with them not repaying us, really makes it difficult to meet my commitments. Kids can be so selfish! It’s time for me to stop enabling this behavior. I hope your fiancée does the same too for your sakes.

      • Ck says:

        You just stated that “what they don’t realize” is the burden it is placing on you. Maybe it is time to share that with them and if they truly love and care about you they will quit asking for more.

  8. Kaycee says:

    We are in our mid-50’s and have two adult daughters – one is 26 and the other 24. The 26 year old works and pretty much supports herself, but there is the odd time she will ask for a loan. The problem is, she never pays back what she owes us which causes problems between my husband and I because I keep giving in. The second daughter is 24, still living at home and recently lost her job. She has made no attempt whatsoever to find another one but yet keeps asking us for money left and right. The money she received in redundancy is soon to run out since I’m paying her cell phone bill and insurance every month out of it. She knows all this yet still hasn’t taken any affirmative action to find a job. We insisted that part of her redundancy money is spent on community college classes so that she can re-tool/learn new skills to be more marketable. In the meantime though, she needs to find some kind of work. I often feel they are both taking advantage of us (me) and wish they would understand that they need to learn to stand on their own two feet. I have now reached a decision that we will no longer loan/give them any more money. It’s a really tough decision for me to make because I don’t want to see them struggle, but I think it’s for their own good. They never ask their Dad for money because they know he will say no, so they always turn to me because I keep giving in to them. Would appreciate any advice. Thank you!

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Karen, thank you so much for your request for some advice regarding the money situation with your two daughters.
      First, I want to congratulate you on making a very difficult (but sound) decision to no longer hand over cash to your adult daughters! Clearly, this situation has been ongoing and very stressful for you since you are the one the girls come to. But you also understand why they come to you – you always give in and say “yes!” Now that the decision has been made, the real challenge will be to enforce it.
      I suggest that you and your husband sit down and to devise a strategy to enforce the new rule of “no more free money.” One option would be to tell the girls to go and ask their father whenever they come to you for cash. But that only works if he will definitely tell them no! Another option is to have a family meeting to set some limits and begin to change your daughters’ expectations about mom and dad being an ATM machine. Tell them straight out “there will be no more cash hand-outs.”
      Then, set a timeline for your younger daughter to find a new job. If she fails to do so, her consequence will be no more cell phone or insurance payments when the redundancy money runs out. Again, you must stick to your decision!
      You may also want to start charging your older daughter some rent to instill the idea that now that she is an adult, she should be more self-sufficient. Depending on how much she earns and her other expenses, you may charge a nominal amount ($150 per month) to make the point. When your younger daughter starts working, do the same for her.
      Fortunately, it does not sound as if the requests for money have been a financial hardship for you. Anyway, I certainly hope that’s the case!
      And to help you stay motivated to teach your daughters’ more financial responsibility, just remember that the more cash you hand over to them, the less money you can save for your retirement future and emergency savings.

    • Ck says:

      I struggled with the same thing. I was the easy one. What solve this,problem for me was to say that their dad and I were handling our finances differently now. All decisions regarding loans were now handled together so they would need to come and sit down with both of you to discuss the loan. This solved this issue for me, because they knew their dad would say no. Having both of us there when requesting money gave me a backup support system so I didn’t let my emotions or guilt get in the way.

      They quit asking and learned to stand on Their own two feet. Be sure dad is tough and firm on his no before sitting down its child though.

  9. Shelley Kennison says:

    Hi, I just found your website and thought it very helpful. We have an almost 25 year old daughter. She has moved back home 2 times in the past 3 years. She is currently living with a roommate, but lost her job because of her attendance. I helped her try to get unemployment, but she was denied. I helped her get a credit card when she was 18, but she maxed it out and didn’t make the minimum payments. We have given her 2,600.00 the past month to pay and catch-up her bills. Now she tells us that the creditor, whom she didn’t pay, garnished her bank account which bounced her rent, etc… (the money of which we gave to her to cover everything) She calls me up crying about everything and my 1st intention is to give her more money (which we cannot afford, because my husband is currently out of work and we are living off my paycheck and his unemployment). Should I let her figure this out on her own, or help her out again?? What are your suggestions. Thank you.

    • Tonya says:

      I have son who 24 years old living with his wife.Both of them work since 18 years old.I believe, both of them makes fair amount of money every months. But my son calls me only asking for money. Is this right?

    • Ck says:

      She needs to accept the consequences for her own actions. That was a really sneaky thing for her to do, especially since you two are strapped as well. Say sorry and do not let her move in with you. She will find friends or couch surf for a while before getting and keeping a job to pay her own bills, just let her learn the lesson. It really is what it is going to take for her.

  10. Teresa says:

    Your article was great, however lacked consequences for not paying loans back. Thanks

  11. Nina says:

    my 27 year old college graduate son is working in a job that you DONT need a degree for and lives with a few roomates. he has car payments,school loans etc. but makes stupid mistakes like not paying parking tickets. i moved out of state and feel guilty that i did. Asked him how his day was yesterday and he told me that they towed his car and he owes $600 to get it out.
    I said no to helping him because he is just plain irresposible. Feeling quilty

    • Ck says:

      Don’t feel guilty. He is learning a lesson that there are consequences for not paying his tickets. That is in no way your fault at all. Do you believe in your son? If yes, then tell him so. Tell him you believe he has the brains and power to handle this on his own. He can and will do it.

  12. kawe says:

    I have a responsible son and daughter in law. They are both 38 and have a home and 4 children. They both work, my son away from home and my daughter in law works from home. Believe it or not she even home schools. They do not ask me for money, however this is my only child and I give them a portion of my salary monthly. I have been frugal my whole life and my son is as well. They have a huge garden to help with cost of food and they bought a fixer upper because that was what they could afford. My grand children do not get a allowance, but do age appropriate chores. They post bigger jobs that the kids can do and earn monry. This is how the real world works. We live in a high cost of living area. I am proud of all of them. So I hope I am doing the right thing. They do not have a emergency fund and thats one reason I give to them. They do save some of if but with the cost of food, gas and utilities going up so fast, they mostly use it to help with those costs.

    • Kate Swenson says:

      One’s own personal spending choices should always, always, always be based on the budget and on values. Wanting to support your children is a perfectly fine choice. It might even be a noble choice. And if your budget supports your desire, then there’s no judgment involved in that. Just as one person might think spending money on a new mountain bike is a bad decision, a mountain biker can feel just fine about meeting their values just as long as they can afford it.

      I also don’t get the sense that you are in any way “enabling” them. They sound like they are making responsible decisions with their finances and, especially, decisions that you feel good about supporting, both emotionally and financially. So I think that if you are meeting your own spending values in such a way that you are able to afford it in your budget, then I think you are doing “the right thing.” Feel good about that and support on. 😉 Have more questions….? Give us a call at 888.577.2227 to speak with a financial counselor. Thanks!

    • Ck says:

      Why not put the money away in a college fund for the grandchildren instead. They sound like they would be fine on their own….why he is accepting the money is beyond me.

      Let them know you decided to save for your grand babies college and start putting the same money away for their future instead.

  13. Tina marie says:

    My daughter is asking for monetary help to pay part of a school loan with no mention of when she’ll pay it back. She already had problems in the past with wage garnishment for non-payment of this loan and had to get help from her father who did so with the condition she continue her education. Problem is she is mounting up her educational debts. She is working hard and raising her two children with their father while going to school and now announced that she will be going after a double major. I fear this is really to ward off payment of the loan. She has received school loan money quarterly but instead of using it to pay the loan, she purchased a vehicle. She has implied that it is my responsibility as a parent to pay half and her father the other half. We’re divorced. but I don’t agree since ten years ago, she left home, moved in with her boyfriend, dropped the University, had two children and then two years ago started taking online classes. I am retired and concerned about my own finances.

    • Kate Swenson says:

      For starters, in my opinion, it is most definitely NOT your “responsibility as a parent” to pay for your child’s education. There are countless people in this country who pay their own way through college and/or take responsibility for their own student loans. I can’t comment as to where the root of that expectation comes from for your daughter, specifically, but I can say with absolute certainty that there is no hard and fast “rule” that supports her expectation.

      As difficult as it might be to come to this conclusion, your daughter really needs to be taking responsibility and accountability for her own choices, including (and maybe especially for) her financial ones. It most definitely is not fair to you (in my opinion) that she makes any financial choice of any kind based upon the assumption that you will be footing the bill for her, whether it’s paying for her college education or going out to dinner—especially without any conversation regarding that assumption.

      Additionally, purchasing a car with school loans is not the most responsible financial choice, either. I fear that your daughter is on the way to learning some difficult financial lessons the hard way; but they will be lessons that will ultimately be healthy for her to learn. You just might have to facilitate that learning. Set clear expectations and boundaries for yourself, communicate them to your daughter, and then you can take some solace in knowing you took the “right” steps, regardless of what she chooses or how she feels about her choices. Have more questions? Give us a call at 888.577.2227 to chat with a financial counselor. Thanks!

  14. Joanne says:

    My 34 year old daughter is married with 3 small children. She is on disability and her husband isn’t able to hold a job for long (8th grade education). She has food-stamps, but they don’t last the month and there are times when she has no food in the house for the kids. I have periodically given her $40 to get some groceries, and I, of course buy birthday and Christmas gifts. My husband, not her father, gets furious about this and I am contributing more to our income than he is. She sometimes returns the money but he just sees red every time. I said the kids don’t have food and he says, they need to suffer – I said, the kids? They are innocent here and we can afford this amount – he says, yes, the kids. I don’t buy clothing, jewelry or the like – I’m not a spender or a shopper. I’d rather spend my money, after bills, on someone else not myself. He gets upset when I buy groceries and he bought an $800 television that we didn’t need. I can’t stand that I feel guilt from both sides when I’m in this situation. Any advice would help.

    • Kate Swenson says:

      Hello…my name is Cherrish Holland and I am a financial counselor from LSS. Thank you for asking the question on our website. I decided to respond to you directly since this is such a personal topic. You are definitely doing your best to manage a difficult situation. You are sandwiched between the concern and love for your daughter and grandkids, but also between the guilt of doing something that your husband doesn’t agree with. That is definitely tricky.

      I have been thinking about your question for sometime and here are a few suggestions:
      • Encourage your daughter to reach out to any other resources that she may qualify for—especially with the kids. A great website that helps match benefits to individual families is http://www.mn.bridgetobenefits.org. If food is specifically the problem could she access a local food shelf to get her through the end of the month? Here is the website to find local food resources in her community http://www.hungersolutions.org
      • Instead of giving her money, could you purchase a set amount of ‘extra’ groceries for her each month? This could be part of your regular shopping or a special trip to the grocery story that is just for additional food that she may need. If you husband has problems with giving her money maybe this would be a solution. It’s food not money. Also—if you set a specific amount—say $100/month that you will provide her in extra groceries not cash. Let you husband know that this is your plan and you won’t to give her any additional money, just this food. Sometimes it is easier to have a budgeted expense every month to assist someone instead of her needing to ask for help and you responding. This may be a way to help that is more proactive and will be one conversation with your husband instead of him getting upset every time she needs money.
      • Guilt is a very difficult thing that can really eat away at you. Again—you are in a very difficult position. If you have an Employee Assistance Program at work you probably have mental health services as a benefit. Sometimes it is just helpful to have someone to talk all of this through with. A mental health counselor could help you look at options and tools to improve communication between you and both your daughter and husband. If you don’t have an employee assistance program you may want to talk with your Doctor or insurance company about options for a counseling referral. This may really help you with the guilt and stress that you are feeling.

      You are doing all the right things in asking the questions and getting advice. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. My contact number is below.

      Have a great day!

  15. Salina Real says:

    Wow, I thought I was the only one that had this problem… Between my husband and I, we have four children… I have helped my children when I needed to, but my children never ask for anything. I do give them $300 for their birthdays and $300 for Christmas, as well as his children… We have helped my oldest a couple of times with staying in our house when he has been in between apartments… However, his children are always ready to take, take, take without any responsibility of paying anything back… His daughter in particular, cannot support herself due to too much partying and shopping… She left her boyfriend of 8 years, moved in with another one right away. Well he left her within 6 months. Now she is being evicted today. She owes 4,000 again… two years ago, we gave her 3,000 for back rent, she never paid back a penny… We just paid 2,000 for a lawyer so that she can take her kid out of the State…. I told my husband that I am done giving her… In the mean time, she parties every weekend, has a drinking problem and an anger problem and attitude problem… We keep giving her money for groceries because she has a 5 year old and never has money or anything, but always looks like a million bucks with the new and very sexy clothes… Oh! Yes did I mention that her license is suspended… My husband solves all her problems even though we live in a different State… I have tried to make him understand that he is doing more harm than good, and I cannot be sympathetic because I was working, and left my house at 15…. I am about to divorce my husband, we have been together only for 7 years, and all I get from his kids is headaches all the time…. Please help!


  16. Patty says:

    I have a adult child that is getting ready to move out, he has enough money to move but the problem is he’s job he’s only been there a couple of months and the job is temporary and he is already asking me to help him out. He is 19 yrs old and this is he’s first job. He doesn’t get along @ all with his Dad they constantly fight. I would like any suggestions you may have for me.

  17. Kate Franklin says:

    My son is 30 years old. He has been living rent free for years. He always have money problems, car problems and just not paying his bills which are not many nor contribute to the house. He has had good jobs with the state and quit or be fired. I have paid his repossession bills three times, and the list goes on. Nonetheless, he deceived me and started dating my adopted daughter. Once she turned 18 they were a couple and she was pregnant. They moved out and have been living from pillow to post free here and there. My son gets good jobs and find reasons to quit. Now he wants a new car, apartment and spend his student loan money on whatever, and expect me to help him. Since, I choose not to adhere to his commands, he gets mad and start talking foolishly. Keep in mind a baby is due in a couple of months, there is no place for the baby, but he wants a new car, hair cuts and pays his cell phone bill. When he comes around now it is all in motive, Gave me a puppy, but complaint that he needs a place. I feel bad for the baby, but he needs to stand up and be a man. I have to stop the take take take and never give back. I love my son and would go in my pocket just because he never stops the bulling me. I really need help with this, because now he has a baby on the way and all he cares about is him. It kills me when he gets mad and can’t get his way he says things like” I will just do it on my owe” I will just walk and not spend money for gas” I won’t tell you my problems anymore” Don’t worry I am find.” I am SICK of feeling responsible for his actions and his little plans is not working anymore. Love me because you truly care and not because you have a motive to butter me up for a personal gain. However, my problem is the baby is coming and my son doesn’t keep job to keep a apartment. Yet he wants a new car and not pay any note. Yes, he has a car and stop making payments. I am really surprised the car did not get repossessed. All he pays is his I-phone, making payments, his hair cuts and everything else is in collections and have been for years.

  18. Ruth says:

    My son has basically never been financially indpendent studying but not finishing courses of study. Now he lives in Israel (I am in USA) and has wife and baby. His wife is a sensible girl studying to be a teacher. My son works part time one or two hours a day. I am bankrolling his entire family! He has been diagnosed with OCD and is seeing a therapist but not much change.

  19. Sandra St.Hilaire says:

    I am 70 yrs old and my son borrowed $7,000.00 a few yrs ago and promised me over and over again that he was going to pay me back, that was my emergency money and I really need it. What can I do to get it back, he will not even answer my phone calls. I am devastated.

    • That is a tough situation because he’s your son and you love him. First, figure out the best way to get a meeting set up with him one on one &/or bring someone else you trust with you as an unbiased third party. Then I’d be honest with your son that the money was a loan and not a gift and that you need him to start making payments as soon as possible because that was your emergency fund and it’s creating a hardship for you. In the meantime, if you would like any help with your budget and ways to make the most of your income, you are welcome to give us a call (888.577.2227) to schedule a free financial counseling appointment. Good luck and give us a call if you need more help!

  20. Sally Adams says:

    I have been sending nominal amounts of money ($10) to my cousin’s children at their birthdays and Christmas in cards since they were young children. . They didn’t have strong grandparent involvement and it was easy and pleasant to do. I am older now (68), and some of them are turning 21 soon. I would like to stop this tradition at this point, but don’t know what to say to them. Could you help?

    • Since they’re adults now, I would just sit them down and be honest with them. If the reason is that it’s putting a strain on your finances, let them know that fact, especially if you’re on a fixed income. Explain that you’d love to keep helping, but that you don’t want to cause any financial harm to yourself so you need to stop that tradition. Then let them know you’re there to support them in other ways. I’m sure they’ll understand and appreciate your honesty.

    • Ck says:

      My mum gave all the grandchildren birthday money until they were 18 and then just a birthday card, sometimes a little something she made like her nice crocheted dish rags. The kids all knew the cutoff age and were fine with this. They,love gma and know,that retirement put them on a much tighter budget, plus the medical expenses for Papa who has cancer.

  21. Lisa says:

    I have a 37 year texting almost every week for small amounts of money. It’s always for groceries or gas. If I say no I get” we haven’t eaten” or if I don’t have gas I can’t get to work and I will lose my job.

    • It sounds like you need to discuss with your child the piece about making sacrifices. Is your child doing anything to try to avoid asking you for money or is s/he just overspending and then coming to you because s/he ran out of money? Your child should work on preparing for financial crises by reducing spending, building up savings, and maybe even finding ways to increase income.

  22. cy says:

    My daughter is pregnant with 2nd child and since her husband has been out of military, has not had a job lasting more than six months, the first grandchild has to do without a lot because of this,,,,and I feel horrible. I have bought items for them painted their home and once gave them money,,,which they did pay back. They as I see it really cannot afford a second child, and when I asked her about what they were going to do about contraceptive she told me it was in Gods hands. Well as I said she pregnant. Her due date is in a couple of weeks and she is going to do without things and it breaks my heart. She did go to school and get her license as a stylist (at my urgency) so she will be able to work, her husband has been (trying to get into truck driving school but for the last two months she has made excuses about why its taking so long. They now have two cars both in dire need of repairs (one currently not working)and whether they have car insurance is a mystery to me. What I want to know is how do I handle this. I want to wring the husbands neck and kick his bum out but my daughter says she’s in love with him. I am confused.

    • First, that’s awesome that they paid you back after borrowing money. That doesn’t always happen! Secondly, I know it’s hard, but your daughter has made her own choices that are putting her in this current position. So you may have to just be there to support her as a mom and continue encouraging their employment (for her, as soon as she is able). I would definitely ask her about having car insurance as not having it is a huge liability. Also, encourage them to save up as much money as they can and/or sell some unused/unnecessary items to make the needed car repairs. Or if you’re willing to help them with those repairs and you can afford it, that’s completely up to you. Just keep in mind that providing that help can lead to them depending on you instead of them being proactive and saving money for emergencies.

    • mememe says:

      “In Love”. The explanation behind so many poor decisions.

  23. Angel says:

    i have two children, my son is 33 and my daughter is 30. My kids all have great educations, my son is a journeyman electrician and is married to a school teacher and they have one son. My daughter is a school teacher and is married to a school teacher and they have a son as well. My daughter and son in law manage to save money and have just built a brand new house, never asks me or my husband for a dime. My son however has lost his job, rents a dumpy little one bedroom house, they talk about having a second child they cannot afford, my daughter in law has a temp contract at the moment but usually just subs. They never have any money. We have lent them 17,000.00 to which they paid us back 2,000.00 of it, 3 years has gone by, no payments to which we had agreed on. My son has been doing odd electrical jobs, to make ends meet, which has been working for 6 months, now he is back to asking for money again. my husband wants to retire in 5 years or less. We are saving for our retirement, our son does not seem to hear us when we say, no we cannot keep lending you money, instead he sends us pictures of his empty fridge and empty cupboards, yet he smokes and they eat out alot, i see liquor bottles in their house. I worry about my grandson not having everything he should have so we buy him stuff, like a desk, a bed, clothing, and we don’t mind doing that, but our son never pays us back, he owes us a sum of over 40,000.00. We couldn’t even keep track anymore, we couldn’t look at the debt, it made us sick. We love our son and we hate seeing them struggle. We have been saying no but then we give in because we worry about our grandson. What do we do, how do we get through to our son that this is not okay. He is now looking for another job. But we are so worried he will not be able to keep it, they drive old vehicles ready to break down. worries us sick. My daughter on the other hand drives new vehicles, has money, a brand new house, i do not compare my children other than in my own head. my son just claims he has bad luck. i doubt he has insurance on his car. He was driving on a donut last time we looked. He has a journeyman electrician ticket, we shouldn’t have to be worried about their future but yet my husband and i are forever scared, waiting for the next text asking for money. its not 30.00, it’s always 300.00 or more, we just bought an alternator for their van. my son said he never asks for money for a long time, the alternator money was just two months ago. now 300.00 again. We need help. My husband cannot live our life the way we should be able to, neither of us is happy. we are constantly depressed. we used to be proud of our son, he has a great job but for 3 years, paid 45.00 an hour, yet he never made payments to us. then we found out 6 months later, that he quit that job because he didn’t get along with his boss. he is always smarter than us, knows more than us. We are tired and don’t know how to cope with this situation anymore. i hate this conflict. i don’t want to go see them but i miss my grandson. he is only 6 years old, its so awkward going to their house, we feel like we should be giving them money when we are leaving there. they have nothing. We have bailed him out of fines, tires, car payments, car parts etc, he always says, mom is i don’t ask you for money, who can i ask? So upsetting. Never ending. our daughter says Stop giving him money, say no. but we think about our grandson and we cave in all the time. if they arent happy, we aren’t happy. Parenting is hard.

    • That is a really tough situation because you love your son and want to help, but it’s clearly putting you in a bad financial position. There are ways you can help without giving him money and that’s what I’d encourage you to do. If your major concern is about your grandson, then give help in regards to him instead of cash. Help out with babysitting, transportation, things like that instead of giving money. Be honest with your son and let him know that continuing to give him money is putting your retirement in jeopardy so you can’t do it anymore. It may be tough and he may get upset, but if you don’t draw the line now, you’ll end up in an even worse situation. Totally agree that parenting is hard. It may be helpful for all of you to do a free financial counseling session with one of our experienced counselors as well. Give us a call at 888.577.2227 or get started online at http://www.lssmn.org/Debt-Counseling/Get-Started/Online/

  24. Anna says:

    My son is 24 and has never worked. He is intelligent and able bodied. He is a high school graduate. My mother and I pay his rent from her Social Security. He was on food stamps for 3 years, but that was recently cut off. He doesn’t drive because I cannot afford to buy him a car, much less pay the auto insurance. He asks me for $5 to $10 constantly. It got so bad and so stressful that I had to change my home phone number and block him on every social media account I have as well as send all of his emails with demands and mean comments to spam. I don’t know what to do, but touching my nest egg (money I inherited from my father, which he IS aware of) is scary to me as I am a teacher and make about $40,000 per year and I have a seven year old daughter that I support 100%. Reading this, I sound like an enabler and I probably am. I struggle with guilt over not giving him food money anymore. I purchase a $50 bus pass for him to use and he claims that he uses this bus pass to look for work, which I doubt. What can I do? Everyone in my family, including his father (we were divorced 20 years ago), tell me to cut him off. He curses at me, calls me mean names in his email and I honestly don’t know what to do. His lease is up in August of 2017 and I have already notified his apartment complex that we will not be renewing it. What should I do when he tells me that he is hungry? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. This stress is not healthy for me.

    • That’s a really tough situation, but it sounds like you already know that you should cut him off – as hard as that may be. And if he’s treating you disrespectfully that makes your situation even worse because you’re going out of your way to help him. I’d let him know that as much as you love him, you aren’t able to financially support him anymore. If you meet with him in person, I’d suggest bringing someone you trust with you. If he says he is hungry, encourage him to find income and/or get food support or go to a food shelf/food bank. As you said he is intelligent and able bodied and it’s time for him to take responsibility for himself. Be strong!

  25. Susan says:

    My daughter is being evicted, again. She has two small children and works as a bartender a few shifts a week. I’ve been telling her to get a real job, with no results. Now she wants be to either come up with 1300 or let her, her kids, her dogs move in with me! I feel so bad for the kids, may have to change schools. My new husband is against her moving in because she and I have a stressful relationship and he knows it would get worse but I can’t see my grandkids living in a shelter. I can’t sleep and don’t know what I should do. I’ve had counseling about her in the past so I really know what I should do but it’s heartbreaking.

    • As you said it sounds like you know what you should do and that your daughter needs more steady income. If you are worried about the children, perhaps offer to let only them stay there until she secures a place to live. But she will have to make sure that they have someone to watch them (depending on their age) while you’re at work, etc. I would encourage you to provide support for your grandchildren, but not financial support to your daughter – UNLESS you can a) afford it and b) know that she will pay you back sooner rather than later. It’s your call about providing financial help, but sometimes when you let your kids move back in with you that can last a LONG time. So just be cautious about that.

  26. Jane says:


    I don’t see a problem with parents giving their grown kids money if they are more than set with a very comfortable retirement for the next 50 years.

    I know personally, I would give my child money every time they asked if I had it. I know what stress money can be when you don’t have it. You say 50% of parents do but it doesn’t teach them to be financially responsible. It is difficult in todays market and it is established that this generation is not doing as well as the one prior.

    I may not teach financial responsibility but I teach that family loves you and when help when you need it. That is what secure really means to me.

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. It really depends on the individual family’s situation and how much the parents are able to help. At the same time, if the adult child is CHOOSING not to work or spending money on non-necessities and then asking for money from parents, that’s where I think parents should NOT step in and help financially. And sometimes love is in the form of tough love because as long as we’re capable, we all need to learn to live independently and be responsible for ourselves.

  27. London Calling says:

    Wow! I am 51 years old and in a horrible situation. When I got together with my husband six years ago I was doing relatively well. I owned and still own (by the grace of God) my house and I had a job that paid me enough to meet my financial commitments without difficulty. His job paid quite a lot less than mine and he had a big debt. In fact, when we started going out was when he entered a six year debt management plan. At the same time his employer sponsored him to go to university.

    Four years ago we got married in the April and by the October I was made redundant from the job that had been so good to me. I still do the same work but for a lot less money. Salaries have crashed and the few jobs that still pay well are going to young people with no experience. He completed his degree two years ago and received a very good promotion at work. I found out that the pay rise was very substantial and that was earning more than my original job had paid. I say ‘found out’ because he neglected to mention his pay rise. The sad thing is that for a whole year, he gave me no money towards the bills and he only bought groceries twice and I had to tell him to buy them. This caused me to feel very sad because I had been supporting him – keeping a roof over his head, putting fuel in his car, feeding him and paying for our increasingly rare nights out. He had promised me from day one that when he qualified and his debts had been paid that he would look after me. Well, two months ago he left me. Just up and left. Next month will be his first salary payment without debt deduction. He used me for six years. I cannot believe that I didn’t see this coming. He seemed so sincere, so genuine.

    I have been off work with stress and my employer paid only half my salary yesterday. I had no money for food and was wondering what I was going to do. I was panicking. I have no valuables. I prayed to God to give me an idea and He did. I went to the jewellers yesterday and sold my wedding and engagement rings. It was all I could do to keep from crying in the shop.

    I used some of the money to buy a basket of groceries and put the rest in the bank. It wasn’t much because my rings were tiny (small hands) and they weigh the gold but I was grateful. I am not financially irresponsible as many of you are suggesting. I’ve worked hard since the age of 17 and I’m known as the ‘bargain queen’ in my family. I am very good at pulling my belt in. I don’t buy things on impulse.

    Please don’t assume that all adult children who may need financial help are lazy spendthrifts. It isn’t always the case. I don’t know what the future holds and barring a miracle there is a very real risk that I could lose the home I have worked so hard for. Reading these comments has really put me off approaching my parents for help. I wouldn’t want to be seen in such a negative light by them or my siblings.

  28. Debra Joiner says:

    My husband& I was planning to get married I gave him 250.00 to pay deposit on utilities instead he took money and paid his daughters car insurance bill and told me he took care of the deposit only to find out a 2 months later after we were married he lied he continues to pay he bills but will not pay any for me is this ok or is it ok for me to be upset she doesn’t live with us she lives with boyfriend has a job they party slot but expects her daddy to be at her rescue when she needs money never calls or comes to visit only for money

  29. Edward Schilling says:

    My wife has an adult Grandson with a wife and 3 of her children asking for help and money. They had all their money stolen from her purse and they have no home or jobs at this time. I am reluctant to pay for a motel for a week and then they have to stay longer and having no place to stay. I will be forced to pay another week at the motel. We are on a fixed income and we have medical bills and expenses also, food, house, electric. We have some savings and we may need it later for our health and welfare. What advice can you give me, Please. I say we can’t use our extra money because of their carelessness.

    • I agree with you that you shouldn’t pay if you are unable. As tough as it is to say no, your own health and safety need to come first and it sounds like you would be putting yourself and your wife at risk if you help them monetarily. Instead of paying for something, what can you offer in terms of help? Would they be able to stay at your house temporarily or could you watch the children here and there if needed? Or even just the children while the parents work out stable housing? Do they have friends they could stay with or what about their parents/siblings? I’d encourage them to check into local resources to see what help they could get as well. Is there a shelter or food shelf? They should also check with the County to see if there is perhaps food support or emergency housing help, which they could also check into the Salvation Army if that is in your area. If you’re in Minnesota, United Way 211 is a great resource to see what’s in your area. Otherwise, they can check with the County to see if there’s something like that which provides referrals to local resources. I’d also be sure that whoever is comfortable – your wife or the both of you – talk to her grandson and his wife and let them know that you want to help, but that you can’t afford to and that it would put you at financial risk yourselves. That way they will know that you care, but that it’s just not feasible on your fixed income. I hope this was helpful and I wish you all the best of luck.

  30. Tricia Patton says:

    My husband and I have been retired five years. We have four adult children and are blessed with many grandchildren. Since we retired, we have reduced our giving to birthday and Christmas for everyone keeping everyone including the daughter and son – in – laws equal with gifts. Recently, our youngest son became very ill and lost his job. His wife took out cobra for him but a separate insurance policy for herself and the children. I learned this when she texted me with the information asking us to pay our son’s cobra. She and my son have lived very well with many amenities that could be cut. We agreed to pay two months of the cobra. To do so, we had to take it from our 401k plan. It is now almost 3 months later. My son is still hospitalized. He asked us about paying his cobra. I said we couldn’t do it. My daughter called. He had called her. He is so sick and asked her if she would pay it. What should we do? His wife refuses to pay this policy. Isn’t this her responsibility? Medicaid was applied for but denied.

    • Sorry to hear about your son’s illness. It sounds like a difficult situation you’re dealing with regarding your daughter in law and it also sounds like you have done the right thing in saying that you aren’t able to pay. Though difficult, you should never help someone at the cost of causing a financial crisis for yourself. I would encourage your son to talk to his wife about her paying his Cobra since in marriage expenses are shared and health is a priority. I’d also suggest they call United Way 2-1-1 or visit http://www.211us.org/ to find their local UW 211 to contact. If it’s in your area, 211 has information about healthcare resources.

  31. Culpablebystander says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but here goes.

    First: Jane and Elaina, you rock. If I end up not posting this, it’s because you’ve restored my faith in humanity.

    Now them:

    There are huge differences among the cases being discussed. To wit:

    [puts on the Judging Hat…]

    * LondonCalling, assuming she’s for real, is a survivor of spousal exploitation. I’d go even farther and call it a particularly vicious scam (I wonder how many wives that slimeball has gone through so far?) Not her fault. And I find it very interesting and a little alarming that nobody responded to her.

    * Joanne is another spousal abuse case IMHO. Interesting that her husband gets angry about her buying groceries for her grandkids but thinks it’s perfectly fine for him to buy an expensive TV. I wonder how he’d define the word “family”?

    * Tricia’s DIL is too selfish to be married. Her son did not ask to get sick and lost the job he had because of it. His wife is awful. Not the son’s fault.

    * Debbie’s stepkids just sound kind of shallow and lost. If they really are buying luxury items and then whining for money, they may be completely clueless about money and life in general, but it’s still on them.

    * And then there are the reported cases of dirtbaggishness. This is the internet so I’m just going to shut my eyes and assume for the sake of argument that all these sad tales of ungrateful grasping brat-kids and helplessly generous parents are true.

    Clearly, these cases are very different, as Jane and Elaina know!! The only thing they have in common is that they all involve adults who A., need money, and B., have living parents.

    What I worry about with threads like these is that some parent in a similar situation… oh, lets be creative and say that it’s LondonCalling’s mom, just for grins… will read the sad tale of some adult-child lowlife who scrounges booze money from his long-suffering parents, and decide that all cases of a grown child needing help are exactly like that and deserve the same reaction and the same response.

    They’re not and they don’t.

    Having said that, I do have a suggestion for those who feel compelled to help their genuinely shiftless adult children but find it a financial struggle: have you ever had to sit through a budget meeting? Remember how utterly not-fun those are? How about telling said adult kids that yes, you will help them, but given your own circumstances this help must be regular and scheduled, planned right down to the nearest nickel so that you’re never caught short and unable to help…

    …and then pull out a spreadsheet (not Excel, the old-fashioned paper kind), a calculator, and a pencil, and begin the budget meeting. Take at least two hours. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of weekly, biweekly, and monthly disbursements. Calculate sales tax on bags of Fritos. Enter many many equations into your ancient TI calculator. Transcribe the results with that trusty pencil. Make mistakes and be sure to erase them so thoroughly that no smudge of graphite remains. Be slow about it.

    If your kid is the self-obsessed spendthrift moocher described in many of these posts, this process will be as appealing to him as gum surgery and he will decide that there must be a less painful way to acquire beer money. And if he doesn’t, at least you now have everything figured out and written down.

    Hey, it’s worth a shot!

  32. caroline says:

    I’m retired and my 36 year old son lives with me and took out several high interest loans to pay people he owed from some’dark days’ in his past. He struggles with repayments and as I had savings in low interest accounts I paid some of his loans off. He’s been off work sick for a few weeks and being self-employed has earned no money and can’t pay his creditors. I’m getting short of savings but he still expects me to help him pay. Short of leaving the country, how can I make him grow up and not depend on me

    • That is a tough situation and I’m sorry you’re going through it. It sounds like you need to have a heart to heart with your son. Let him know that while you’d like to, you just can’t afford to financially support him anymore because eventually you will run out of savings and then there is the potential for getting into debt yourself. I’d encourage him also to get financial counseling. If he is unable to pay, there is always the option of bankruptcy – even though we always suggest that’s the absolute last resort if he can’t earn enough money to pay off his debts. If he’s interested in financial counseling, have him call 888.577.2227 for a free session. There is not going to be a perfect answer for him, but at least he’ll hear his realistic options at this point.

  33. Maria says:

    My son is 30, he lives with me. there is always one reason or another that he can’t pay the little rent I charge him. Or he has some sort of emergency or has to pay someone back etc. I’ve lowered his rent so he can make ends meet…I’ve helped him do a budget and so on…. it’s exhausting as it benefits me to lend it to him – then I let him off paying back and ‘start from scratch’!
    I earn above average. He knows this. I always manage to pay my bills and sometimes treat myself – he is aware of this. And I can get loans or credit if I need it. But I have had my share of bad debt and being blacklisted but I have spent 10years getting out of debt. I though I have set him an example of how to pull yourself out of debt and become sensible with money.
    His argument has been that I am just more sensible than him.. that he didn’t have anything when he was younger and wasn’t taught to save and think ahead…that I now have the money and if I lend it and he pays me back-what’s the problem…but as I said he doesn’t always pay me back as things become to difficult and I say we can start again. He hasn’t ever really leant money to anyone but a tenner here and there. He and his friends also have a borrowing from each other mentality.. he cannnot understand why I get so upset and have to have a long talk with him when he falls short and doesn’t pay what he promised me. I’ve explained to him that he needs to get a grip and stick to his budget and we write it all down and make a plan …thenit all goes wrong.
    My point is this: yes I can afford to do this although I don’t get to be where I want to be financially- so what IS the actual problem? Apart from the ‘he needs to learn to cope when you can’t help him/ or you die’ answer…I mean what is it really that makes me so angry with him when the money is in my bank and I can says yes.. what upsets me so much? Why is money such an emotional thing? How can I explain to him how insulting it is and how hurt I get when he lets me down..is there anything on the internet explaining the strong link between money and relationships and WHY It is not as simple as ‘if you’ve got it what’s the problem?’? I hate him thinking I don’t care about his emotional welfare and just care about money. It’s so not true and I want him to read something that explains WHY borrowing money has an affect on relationships. Thanks for listening!!

  34. Diane says:

    I recently said “no” to my youngest when he asked to “borrow” $50. Actually, I said I would exchange it for a written budget. Not a big, long document, but take a half hour and write down your income and expenses. He went through the reasons why he didn’t need to do that by text, then called me. He took an attitude, even. It was so hard, and hurt me-but I stood my ground. First time, really. No budget, no money. I am so glad I did, because he knows now that I’ll say the same thing next time. If you are “budgeting pretty well” then you have groceries. However, he does need help with a budget and irs gets a bunch of his money for past due taxes. His problem as well. I’d like to find a professional who will help with penalties and interest. I’m sure he feels like he’ll never get ahead, and that worries me-the stress it causes him and for money – it’s just not worth it. I feel responsible, however, because I feel I really dropped the ball in this area. Still, he’s an adult. I was 30 too. Life is tough, get used to it now, and don’t rely on others unless it’s an emergency. You/they will feel better about yourself/themselves for being self-sufficient.

  35. Cynthia D Pollack says:

    My partner was diagnosed with Early Onset 6 years ago now he is aged 72 and we have accepted the diagnosis and are coping day to day. We have been in a loving relationship for 7 years . We decided to tell his adult children (from previous marriage divorced 40 years ago) the adult children are between age 34-50.
    What has begun to happen since telling his adult children of his illness they are beginning to ask for money and it’s because they say they are struggling financially and they are asking amounts of 20,000 to 30,000 which am finding it all so uncomfortable and disheartening and I cannot help but feel they are taking advantage. The years we have been dealing with the diagnosis requires care and private health services as well as medication to assist him with a quality of life he deserves after working all his life. I can see he is distressed and emotional so when they come to him asking for finances am not certain as to how to deal with it all. We do not have children together however we have a loving relationship.
    Any suggestions on how I should respond or is it not my place or business to say anything given they are his daughters from a previous marriage.

  36. Ben says:

    Hello, great article. My mother – who is on a fixed income – has been supporting my 50 year old brother for the last two years. She has also allowed his 30 year old daughter and her boyfriend to move in with her rent free so they can save money. I have had many conversations with my mother about her enabling practices but she continues to allow them to take advantage of her. The whole mess is very hard to watch. My brother needs to get a job or go on welfare and his daughter and boyfriend should be paying half the utilities along with some amount of rent. At this point I am at a loss as to what I can do to convey to my mother the damage she is doing to herself financially and the enabling she is doing to her son and niece. So hard to watch.

    • Thanks for the note, Ben! Yes, unfortunately we have heard too many times about situations like this and it’s really tough to watch. The only thing you can do is offer suggestions and/or emotional support to your mother and hope that she is able to stop the cycle before it’s too late. If you’re comfortable talking to her about it, that would be the first step. Otherwise, if you’re NOT comfortable talking to her about it, if she’s willing, you could suggest financial counseling. That way she could meet with an experienced financial counselor; the counselor would create a budget with your mother and they would discuss options and actions she needs to take to be financially stable/well, which likely would include the suggestion of charging rent for others living in her home and sharing her utilities. If you decide to chat with her and she would like help from a professional, have her give us a call at 888.577.2227 to schedule a free and confidential session. I wish you and your mother the best!

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "When to Say No: A parent’s guide to giving adult children money"
  1. […] their own feelings of guilt are too often a barrier.  However for those who are interested, the following are some tips on learning to say […]

  2. […] they provide monthly financial assistance to one or more adult offspring. Of those individuals, 59% are giving aid to adult children who are not enrolled in college. To make matters worse, about one-third of parents don’t specifically know what the money is […]

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