Are you financially supporting your adult child?

We had multiple readers yesterday say they wanted to discuss whether parents were financially supporting their adult children. Obviously this topic is particularly relevant in today’s economy with high unemployment rates and the job market bleak for college students when they graduate.

So, are you financially supporting your adult child? Are you sending supplementary cash for fun things? Are you buying them groceries, paying their rents, letting them live at home? How old is too old to be getting parental support? At what point do you tell them they need to look for a cheaper place to live or a roommate? Is it different when they have families as well? Are you more likely to aid your adult child when they are trying to care for your grandchildren too?

(I will work in my suggested topics over the next two weeks.)

89 comments Add your comment

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
1:31 am

My mother has to help my sister out a good bit. Ex-husband is a deadbeat over $20K behind on child support. I’m glad my mom is in a position to help, but it concerns me for my sister’s future. Mom won’t be here forever, and my sister has become quite dependent on her.

TWG, on an unrelated topic I’ve been commenting on here for a few months now, and I’d never looked at your bio on here before until dealing with tonight’s insomnia, we apparently went to high school together. I think you graduated when I was a Freshman.

DB

March 16th, 2011
2:53 am

Interesting topic — I’m not quite there, yet. As long as they are in college, we will provide financial support. My son graduates in about seven weeks — and after that, I have NO idea. He is postponing law school for a year or two in favor of working either in the private sector (intern in a law firm), or spending the next 18 months working a political campaign. I’m sure we’ll be throwing some money his way now and then :-) I won’t fund beer or vacations, but I will help with health or car insurance, if asked.

motherjanegoose

March 16th, 2011
7:28 am

Yes, for daughter at UGA. For son, about $100 per month in car insurance and cell phone. As I believe everyone knows, mine work part time. Both kids are welcome to live at home while in college but choose not to. Our daughter is undergrad, so we help her out more…as we did her brother. At 23, he is basically on his own, except for above expenses. Dad has put new tires on his car or funded a trip to Costco now and then. If he gets in a pickle,we will help.

I know several folks whose kids are just out of college, with no job or not earning what they anticipated. Thus they had to move back home. We will cross that bridge when it comes.

MomsRule

March 16th, 2011
7:53 am

I have a few years before I’m in this situation. I hope to gain some insight from other posters on the topic.

I know that Dad and I will always help them if needed as long as they are on the right path and doing the right things. (school, working, etc) As we all know life can throw some unexpected kinks into even the best laid plans.

How old is too old? Good question. I don’t know as there can be so many variables.

I met someone the other day who has a 26 year old daughter living at home. I wondered about the dynamics involved. At the time I was thinking 26 *seemed* to old to be living with Mom and Dad. But I don’t know the situation.

MomsRule

March 16th, 2011
8:06 am

I have a late 30s friend who receives endless financial support from her parents. They enable her to make bad financial decisions as she knows Mom and Dad will always be there to pay for the trees to be cut down, or buy her new tires, or pay for her sons school clothes and supplies, or the fees for sports, etc. Not to mention the cash they hand her on a regular basis. The list really is endless.

But she continues to go for mani’s/pedis every other week, shopping, massages, etc. And they eat out probably 5 days a week. — if you can’t afford clothes for your kid, you should not be getting massages or your nails done. Oh and she filed bankruptcy a few months back too.

This woman is not a single Mom and she is gainfully employed.

This is a situation where I think Mom and Dad are hindering not helping their child.

motherjanegoose

March 16th, 2011
8:19 am

Now that I have had my coffee…

I got my oil changed yesterday and the station manager and I chatted about our kids. His oldest is the same age as my son. He told me that said son worked 18 hours a week at a chicken place, lived at home and basically slept and hung out all day. I did not offer any advice…are you guys amazed?

I do see twentysomethings that are not on any gameplan…how does that happen and what can be done?

There are also “girls” who get out of college and hubby cannot provide the lifestyle Daddy did, so they get a monthly allowance from Daddy to help out. This is something I do not understand.

If you are able and can help with a down payment on a mortgage for your child…let them qualify and make payments ..that seems very generous but putting them in a postion to expect things…I do not know.

Photius

March 16th, 2011
8:39 am

I have seen my brother in law, late 30’s, actually borrow a few hundred bucks from his parents because he was short only to pay in back on the next pay check; he used this as a teaching lesson to his 16 year old son about responsibility and how you pay people back…. I wanted to throw up. Grown man who has a steady job but simply doesn’t manage his money, disgusting. I have two friends in their early 50’s who still pay their children’s cell phone bill – the kids are late 20’s. This is horrible parenting in my opinion. In today’s economy with no jobs if the child is a recent graduate I see no problem with helping them live at home to save money until they land a position. The New York Times this morning has an article on youth in Ohio who simply cannot find work; it’s heart breaking.

Our boy is self sufficient, always has been fortunately. He joined the Marine Corp upon graduating high school and luckily has never asked us for a dime.

DagnyT

March 16th, 2011
8:39 am

I tried to move back home after college and my parents said “no”. They told me that if I didn’t break out of my comfort zone and take a risk then, when I was single with no attachments, then I never would. I am forever grateful for their wisdom in that regard because it sparked a sense of adventure and boldness in me and I have been able to move around and explore an exciting career ever since.

ZachsMom

March 16th, 2011
8:43 am

I had to move back home with my mom when my house got foreclosed on and I got divorced. Ex-husband is currently about $10,000 behind in CS, medical bills and insurance for our son (now 16) I was lucky that she allowed us to live with her for what I could afford to pay and helped with taking care of Zach while I went to school. She is going to retire this year, something I don’t EVER see myself being able to do. My husband and I but have steady jobs (I have 2) but come just break even every month. We have a lot of debt from past unemployment and what we pay to credit cards should be going into retirement.

My son has watched us and is currently looking for his first job. I hope that he will never have to make the choices that I did and he won’t have to move back home. But I hope that I will be in a position to help him if he needs it.

justmy2cents

March 16th, 2011
8:44 am

@MomsRule- my mother does the same thing for one of my sisters. Thousands and thousands of wasted dollars enabling my sister to never grow up and learn how to manage finances! It drives me NUTS! She helps the other one out too, but not to the same extreme. Continuing the trend, she helps out the granddaughter too…knocked up, 19, failing college, not working, living with my mom…yep, another winner there!

I am still trying to figure out if my sisters and I are truly related or if I am adopted LOL

JJ

March 16th, 2011
8:48 am

Well, I’ve always told my daughter, as long as she is in school, I will support her. But if once she quits school, drops out, or completes her education, she has to get a job. When she comes home this summer, early May, she has two weeks to find a job. If she cannot find a job, I will take her car away. She needs to work, and pay for her gas, and auto insurance. She will also now have to help pay her way through the remainder of her college education. I got her through the first two years, now it’s up to her.

I bought her a car last summer. If she wants another car, or a new one, she will have to get it on her own. I told her I would only purchase one vehicle for her.

My mom helps me out here and there. Like Jarvis’s sister, my ex is a deadbeat and he owes way over $50K in child support and college education $$. I will NEVER see a dime of it. So Mom helps out when she can…..tires for my daughter’s car, emergency auto repairs for me, and she equals it out with my brother. If she buys something for my daughter, she will buy something for his two daughters.

Mom takes us on family trips. She will pay for gas to get to the beach, she will pay for the condo, and groceries. We pay for dinners and activities. She took us on a 10 day vacation several years back, with a 7 day cruise to Alaska, and three days in Seattle. She paid for the cruise for all 6 of us, and she paid for lodging when we were in Seattle. I am very thankful she is able to do this. We have gone on some very nice vacations as a family over the years.

[...] Are you financially supporting your adult child?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)So, are you financially supporting your adult child? Are you sending supplementary cash for fun things? Are you buying them groceries, paying their rents, letting them live at home? How old is too old to be getting parental support? …and more » [...]

teacher

March 16th, 2011
8:53 am

I am so thankful that I never had to ask my parents for money. They certainly gave me a lot by paying for my education and college. I am glad they taught me to work hard and supported my independence. I know they are glad that my husband and I are self-supportive.

sharon

March 16th, 2011
8:57 am

We told our children that as long as they were in school working towards a degree or advanced degrees they could always come home. I was very fortunate that my son had a job before he graduated from college. I love the advice “Dagny T” parent’s gave him. I agree with him 100%

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 16th, 2011
9:04 am

Amen, Teacher. And even more than that, it is nice to be able to spoil my parents with nice things and know that if they ever need financial help I can provide it. They let me live at home while I went to college – that was their contribution to my education and I am forever grateful. They had to sell their house out from under my sister (in her mid 30s at the time) so they could retire. Thankfully my sister never had children and she and her husband are able to limp along financially (neither has any ambition to do anything beyond working in retail), but she still gets a lot of hand holding from my folks on every day issues (like shopping for clothes, getting a haircut, cleaning her house, etc) and I think my folks pay for a lot of little things when they see her and give her extra money. I guess the question is this – was she like this always and that is why she lived at home for so long, or did living at home for so long make her like this? I cannot imagine being so dependent. I took my sister and BiL on vacation last year and this year will be taking them to a very nice island for a week – I pay for everything….am I further hurting her ability to be independent by doing this and not making her contribute?

Ajaylove

March 16th, 2011
9:08 am

Well my child is only 8, but I’ve been telling her since she was about 5 that when she grows up she is going to move out and get a job and take care of herself, then when I get old she’ll have to come a take me around on errands. Sounds harsh, maybe, but I want her to have in mind that she will have to be responsible for her own life. Truthfully we will help out w/college where we can, but I don’t plan on footing the entire bill. She will have to work, get scholarships, loans, etc. I’m 36 and the people I know whose parents did it all for them, are still doing it all. But the ones, such as myself, that had to learn to manage mostly on our own at an earlier age are in a position to help others. Responsibility and self determination are the key, IMO.

BlondeHoney

March 16th, 2011
9:08 am

I thank my lucky stars that my two boys are completely self-sufficient and do not come to me nor my ex for financial help; in fact, they are always asking ME if I ever need any help they will be there. One has a great job with T-Mobile and the other is an Ensign in the Navy, a nuclear engineer. Ironically, it’s my parents who always have had bad financial habits so I learned early on I was going to have to take care of myself, no coming home to mom & dad for help. In fact, my brother had to get power of attorney over mom’s finances; he manages her money & gives her a very strict allowance. If he dodn’t do that, she would either be homesless or living with one of us and that will NOT do :)

justmy2cents

March 16th, 2011
9:10 am

@ Angry- as long as the parents continue to support her, she will continue to take and take and take….

Yes, you are furthering contributing by enabling with the free vacations. Make her cough up some dough!

(please note, no snarky tone intended)

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 16th, 2011
9:12 am

I have seen two people mention the military…..how wonderful it is that your children are serving their country. Bravo to you and them. For anyone out there dealing with a grown child who is having trouble finding work….please thoughfully consider the military and all it has to offer.

JOD

March 16th, 2011
9:18 am

Our families are very generous, and it goes both ways. We like to treat our parents occasionally, and vice versa. I will say that when I wasn’t working, my parents did offer to pay for surgery for our dog that we couldn’t have afforded otherwise (at that exact time), but we paid them back after I started working again.

I do hear about people in their 30s who are just moving out of mom and dad’s house, and usually they are moving in with someone else. I will tell DD that she needs to be on her own for awhile, learning how to do things for herself. We will always support her, but will need to be a self-sufficient individual (dare I say ‘adult’?).

JOD

March 16th, 2011
9:21 am

Sorry – should have specified…’support’ as in emotionally and spiritually, but not financially. I would expect us to do things for her (because we want to) and hopefully she will want to do things for us, too.

Techmom

March 16th, 2011
9:24 am

I hope I’m able to help my son some even after he graduates from HS. We told him we’d help with college assuming he is progressing, keeping up with his grades and gets a part-time job. Beyond that, I certainly hope the economy is better by then and he’s able to find a job (he’s 15 now).

My parents were awful financial managers. When I was 18, I desperately needed a reliable car. Because I had very little credit, I needed a co-signer for a car loan even though I could afford the payment. My parents had to admit to me that they couldn’t because they had just filed bankruptcy. I ended up finding a used car and got a smaller bank to finance me without a co-signer so it all worked out but I was crushed that even though all I needed was a signature, my parents couldn’t help with even that.

My husbands parents are awful as well. They own their own business, make decent money and yet don’t know how to save or put money away for slow times (I am horribly afraid of what will happen if one of them gets hurt and can’t work and also what will happen come retirement time). We’ve been asked to float their mortgage payment a number of times over the years. All the while they still pay my husband’s younger brother’s car insurance and have allowed him to move in and out several times. I think b/c my husband grew up with his parents before their business took off, he knew what it was like to live in a chaotic financial situation and has always supported himself (started working at 16, full-time + college at 18, etc.) They have definitely enabled his brother who is now 27, living at his parents’ home with his fiancée and their 4 month old baby (b/c his fiancée’s mother kicked them out).

So I guess I’ve seen it all and my hope is that I can be there if something really serious comes up but really I want to give him the tools & encouragement he needs to stand on his own without having to depend on anyone else.

Kar

March 16th, 2011
9:25 am

I’m in my forties and my father would be giving me an allowance if I’d let him. Consistently he sends money over the year saying that if I’d live closer we’d go to dinner or to help by a major appliance.

I’m self-sufficient but not living the luxurious lifestyle and I’m very ok with that. Still though, he likes to claim that we’re “a team” and that we’re working together for say new carpeting or a washer machine. Basically his viewpoint is that I should take his money now rather than later when I’d have to pay an inheritance tax. Meanwhile he grumbles over the price of this and that which makes me more adamnent not to take it.

Robin

March 16th, 2011
9:26 am

No, kids are still in grade school. The only reason I would offer support to my adult child would be for an unforseen major life tradgedy that was not self inflicted.

The adult children I know that are asking for $$ help have always been that way. I have a friend that I have issues with for this very reason. She asks for my opinion, and yes I give it to her! She and hubby have 4 kids and she choses not to work. They lost their 1st home several years ago in foreclosure and their parents bought (mortgaged) the one they live in now. They spend lots of money on eating out and entertainment. Unfortunately, I can see where they are going to probably run into more trouble soon becuase the parents can only help for so long.

It sad that that these same people will never be able to do good for the parents that raised them, but only continue to take. When mom and dad are gone or they finally see the light and say NO, what then?

I feel so blessed to have been able to do things for my parents and in-laws as a thank you for all they did in raising us to be good, financially sound citizens.

CRB

March 16th, 2011
9:27 am

I remember I painted my parents’ house once when I was in my early 20s and just starting out. I needed money and they weren’t going to give it to me for nothing. So we agreed I’d paint the house for a set price and that’s how I earned the money they gave me. I landed my first real job shortly after that.

If one of my daughters ever needs money, I’ll probably do something similar.

Reio

March 16th, 2011
9:28 am

I Have A 27 Year Old Daudgter At Home. She Finished Nursing School In
June. Passed Her Boards In August(2nd Try),And Is Working As An RN At A
Hospital. Good Young Woman, Cautious,Makes Good Decisions. She Can Stay As Long As She Wants. So Long As She Continues To Work And Make Good
Decicions. Don’t Ask For Money From Her Or Place Any Financial Demands
For Groceries Or Utilities…I Don’t See Trying To Kick her Out Ever, As Long As She Does Not Change. Now, Her Big Sister(29), Well, That’s Another Story Intirely. She Lives In Atlanta(Above Her Means),We’re In
Birmingham. Talks To Mom All The Time, But Won’t Call Me Unless It’s My Birthday, Father’s Day Or She NEEDS SOMETHING. Go Figure.

Spacey

March 16th, 2011
9:32 am

I have a good friend that was under obligation from his parents to move home after he graduated for at least a year. They set up a budget for him (required savings). They matched anything he saved over their requirement while he paid off his student loans and worked.
He wasn’t thrilled with it at the time, but it gave him a chunk of change to buy a house. They gave him their old minivan which he still drives! It seems like a good lesson in hindsight.
If my children want to come home and work after school then it will be by my rules. They must work, they must budget, they must save and they must have a plan for leaving. I’ll expect to see their bank statements, etc…
Don’t like it, don’t live at home.
Although, I’m LOVING what DangyT’s parents said!

Rawdog

March 16th, 2011
9:33 am

I’m 30, gainfully employed, but still live at home due to some bad decisions with credit cards in the past. I pay all my own bills including cell phone, car insurace, new tires, food and beer. I guess I realized that my parents won’t be around forever so why not enjoy the time I have left with them. Their house is 3 mins. from my work and it’s hassle free not to sit in traffic idling and burning gas. Most of my friends live in apartments/condos and struggle to get by. Why struggle?

Diane

March 16th, 2011
9:41 am

My mom has helped me out financially a few times. Once was when I was getting divorced and she helped me with the lawyer bills. Then, she gave my brother the same amount that she gave me for the bills. She also gave us both some money recently because she wanted to. I don’t ask for money unless I am desperate (the air conditioner died in the middle of the summer) and I always try to pay her back. Of course she won’t take it and evens it out with my brother. Her thought is give to us now because she can’t take it with her. Of course, she knows that I’m always there for her when she needs me.

TinaTeach

March 16th, 2011
9:41 am

@ TechMom- My in-laws were the same. They owned a business but never put up any money for anything. They signed for massive amount of student loans for my SIL (who never should have gone to college in the first place) and now that she’s dropped out, they may end up on the hook for them because she’s working at Home Depot. They pay her car insurance and until recently they were paying her rent off and on.

Because of this and a few other reasons (i.e. a ballon mortgage on the business, failing economy), they had to auction their business (also their home) and now live with us. They are still paying my SILs car insurance and are afraid that they will have to pay for her rent again. She is 24 this year.

So now we are supporting my in-laws, though they reciprocate with child-care. They continue to help out my SIL but haven’t given us money for their part of the cellphone bill ($20) or for Dish ($7) since the beginning of the year. I’ve pretty much let it slide because they make up for it by buying food and my MIL cleans a lot too.

COMPLETLY BLESSED

March 16th, 2011
9:42 am

I was 18 when I had my daughter and was a single mom from day 1. I worked hard while I was pregnant to save money and moved out with my daughter and my cousin into our first place while i was on maternity leave. I worked 12 hour work days and my grandma would come over while I was at work and do my laundry sometimes, or bring a hot dinner over for us. I would come home sometimes to a clean house (not that there was much to it) but she would do it because she saw me working so hard trying to do the right thing and do everything I could to make a good life for me and my daughter. My mom would offer to do things like pay half her sports fee and sign up, or help with buying school pictures. They did it because they wanted to and they were proud to see me doing my best to stand on my own to feet and raise my daugter. Now that sweet little girl who was truly God sent to help me get my life together is almost 13. I’m not married with another child who is 4. I’ve got an amazing career and am able to give back to them for all the sweet and wonderful things they did for me. I guess the moral of my story is, I think it’s good to help your child when they are trying to help themselves, but by doing it all for them you are encouraging self destruction.

COMPLETLY BLESSED

March 16th, 2011
9:43 am

oops now married

JoeV

March 16th, 2011
9:45 am

@Reio

Holy crap. Why do you capitalize EVERY word? That is utterly obnoxious!!!

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
9:48 am

@Rawdog, I can understand your point of view, it was just one that I never shared. I returned to my parent’s home for three months after college just long enough to find work.

I wanted to be on my own. I’ve always needed my independence, and those were good times. I was making all of $17K my first year out of school (1997, a while ago but not THAT long ago), but I made it work. I moved into a house with 3 friends in the crappiest bedroom.

The term, “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” is a true statement in my opinion. I learned to manage money and take care of myself.

Some things were more important to me than living completely comfortably, and independence was one of them.

Lady Strange

March 16th, 2011
10:04 am

I very recently had to move back home with my mom after my divorce, loss of home and subsequent financial issues. I don’t plan to stay there forever, just long enough to get my finances sorted and back on my feet. My mom was living alone before that and I think she’s quite happy to have the company of me and my son. This way she gets to see him more often too. I do pay all my own bills and buy my own food, etc and I help my mom out where I can. It’s nice to have parents that will help out if you really need them but I won’t let my mom support me. She has enough on her plate just caring for herself.

Eve Allabout

March 16th, 2011
10:14 am

I am 28 and supporting my lazy, worthless, won’t-even-look-for-a-job father who thinks it’s OK to start drinking beer at 10:00 in the morning (if he’s up by then), collect unemployment, eat my food, and steal gas from my car. Can I trade my dad for one of your 20-something year olds?

Photo Mom of 4

March 16th, 2011
10:22 am

Interesting. We have a 19 year old who hasn’t finished high school, doesn’t have a job, and doesn’t have a car. When she asked us to help with a car, we told her that we’d be glad to help as long as she was able to show us that she was finishing school and had a job. The help we offered was to give advice on loans and what cars she might be able to afford. However, since she’s not going back to finish school and still doesn’t have a job, she’s not even getting that help. We’ve always tried to show them that we help those who help themselves. Apparently we’ve missed the mark on this one since she’s still living rent and responsibility free with her other parent.

doormat

March 16th, 2011
10:28 am

Okay question/opinions/experiences

My ex did not pay CS for years upon end – I finally started getting it and now just collecting arrears. 2 children – both on their own – one working the other not. The one who is not working does not go to school/work and wants to drink/drugs/smoke/sex and thinks that is okay and that I should give her the arrears as she needs money. I told her that is MY payback from all the years ex did not pay…..she says it is HERS. Mind you they never had to work when they were younger – had everything – did everything including nice vacations, holiday, etc. while I did without.

Told her if she was doing something with her life I would help BUT not this way…..

Techmom

March 16th, 2011
10:29 am

@TinaTeach – that’s exactly what I’m afraid of. The only good thing is that my in-laws have 3 children and since my MIL and I do NOT get along, I really think our house would be her last, last, last resort. We simply don’t get along. I’m sure they would end up with my SIL.

@Rawdog – are you working to pay off your debt and do you have a plan to move out. It’s nice that you have the opportunity to live with your parents and get things straight BUT ONLY if you’re actually planning on moving out and not simply taking advantage of their generosity while you continue to spend money eating/drinking out, buying games or gadgets or whatever. Also, how are you contributing to their household? Are you cleaning and doing yard work? Helping with special projects? Even if you aren’t paying rent, you should be paying for your stay somehow.

the watch dog

March 16th, 2011
10:30 am

That is a very complex question, supporting or aiding adult children. I speak only from my own experiences. I gave significant support to two children while they were in college. Since that time they have supported themselves and families. I still would send money like for special occasions.
Giving adult children money that makes them more dependent is liking pouring money down a “rat hole”.

Now, myself, I was in my 30s and living at home, I made my mother soooo nervous being there that she financed the down payment on a house for myself, and I have been in it ever since. Sometimes it works for adult children that show dependence on their parents and sometimes it does not.

Mattie

March 16th, 2011
10:37 am

We are among those still supporting our kids. The eldest is in grad school, doing an unpaid internship and teaching part time. The other two are in college now.

They have all had summer jobs from the time they were old enough, but that money was used to pay for gas and personal expenses. The middle son is home this week looking for a summer job now, the youngest has one lined up already.

The eldest is getting married in June. I told him once he does, he will be picking up his insurance, cell phone, etc. expenses, and he asked me for a total, as he honestly had no idea. Sigh. Lucky for him he is marrying into an extremely wealthy family…

Pissed off Brother in Law

March 16th, 2011
10:40 am

My sister in law is about 47 years old and has refused to work for the past 20 years. She was married with a husband that made decent money and who thought she was responsibly managing their finances. Bought nice clothes, ate out a lot. Then one day, she tells him that they’re being foreclosed in a few weeks, their credit cards are maxed out, and she has been borrowing money from everyone. I wonder why he started drinking again. They separated.

Although she has a college education and training as a professional chef, she refuses to work. She has guilted her retired parents (my in laws) into paying for rent for her lux apt, her car, spending money etc. And they cannot afford it. She has also pressured them to cash in their 401k and retirement funds to continue paying for her living expenses. So now they have NOTHING left for retirement. She still refuses to work. So my 70+ year old FIL is now looking for a job so they can continue supporting the deadbeat SIL.

I’ve tried talking to them but they don’t listen. I’ve spoken with multiple social service agencies as I believe this is both emotional and financial elder abuse but I’ve been told that my only legal option is to have them rendered incapable of making financial decision. Crazy as it sounds, my only hope is to get a financial journalist (Suzie Orman type person) that will specifically address the situation and confirm to my in laws that their actions are not sustainable and are not helping anyone.

If anyone has access to such a person, please let me know.

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
10:40 am

Eve, you need to kick him out of your house. I imagine he has a history of leeching off of women? He’s now just pushed in onto his daughter.

M1chelle

March 16th, 2011
10:42 am

I believe that you have to start setting expectations for kids when they are young. My children (15, 11, and 9) have the opportunity to earn allowance to pay for “extras” they want. If they don’t complete their chores, they don’t get the allowance. If they want extras, they have to use their money and if they don’t have money saved, then they’re out of luck. I believe it’s important for them to understand that they must learn to save and work for the things they want. So, when they’re older, they won’t expect that their parents will always give them money.

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
10:45 am

@Tina, Wow! I find you and your husband’s lives fascinating. You guys should make a documentary. I’d watch!

M1chelle

March 16th, 2011
10:47 am

@doormat. I agree with you. You paid for their expenses when their father did not. Those arrears are reimbursement for what you already paid for – education expenses, food, clothing, shelter, etc.

DB

March 16th, 2011
10:47 am

I think there’s a difference between “support” and “help”. Supporting takes away the ability of the “child” to learn to make good decisions on their own. Helping means giving them a hand to get them past a crisis.

My dad is so funny — he was lamenting last summer that our “inheritance” wouldn’t be as much as he had hoped. I told him that as long as he left enough for the funeral, that was good enough — and even if he didn’t, I’d make sure the flowers were pretty :-) He said that I didn’t understand, that it made him feel bad that he wasn’t able to leave us an “estate”, and I told him that I’d rather he spent every single dime of his and mom’s hard-earned money on enjoying and taking care of themselves, so that he didn’t feel he had left anything on the table when it was finally time for him to shove off.

I don’t understand the kids who bitch about their parents spending “their inheritance”. Totally foreign concept for me.

Günther's Mom

March 16th, 2011
10:53 am

Eve – I trade you – it’s easier for me to kick out a good-for-nothing man my own age than my own kid. I’ve done it once and I’ll be glad to do it again. And Günther isn’t so bad – he’s good looking and has potential – maybe you can set him right.

Skreet

March 16th, 2011
10:54 am

When I graduated high school my mom told me “good job and good luck in college, you can come visit but you cannot live at home ever again.” What seemed like tough love was actually a wonderful blessing in disguise. I get a Christmas present and a birthday present each year from my mom and that is it.

Mom3Boys

March 16th, 2011
11:00 am

My oldest is a senior in college, but has already begun interviewing. I don’t imagine him coming home. He has worked the whole time in college, and we help him when we can w/ extras. He wanted an iPhone instead of what we had, so he got his own.

My little brother has made a series of bad choices since he was 14. He still lives at home at 40. I don’t anticipate him ever achieving independence. This example has encouraged my sons to think long and hard about choices and consequences.

JOD

March 16th, 2011
11:10 am

@M1chelle – I like that idea. DD is still young enough that it’s fun to help where she can, but at some point she might need a little compensation.

@POBiL – Have you considered a financial advisor, like someone from Edward Jones? Would they listen to someone like that? It sounds like an awful situation.

@DB – Amen!

@Lady Strange – As DB said, there’s a big difference between ‘helping’ and ’supporting.’ Helping each other is what family is for! Good luck getting back on your feet!

JJ

March 16th, 2011
11:20 am

@DB – I’m the same way……It’s not MY inheritance, it’s my Mom’s money. I would much rather have her spend it and enjoy it while she can, than to worry about what she is leaving my brother and when she’s gone. She enjoys taking us on nice vacations.

jmb

March 16th, 2011
11:43 am

My 19 year old daughter has been working since 16 and paid for all of her school clothes, entertainment, gas etc. since the day she starting working. We did give her a used car for graduation and continue paying the insurance but that’s it! I’m very happy with the young lady I’ve raised.

light

March 16th, 2011
11:56 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

Blessed to Prosper

March 16th, 2011
11:57 am

I came from a single parent home where my mother worked more than 40 hours a week, not only to make ends meet, but to give me additional things beyond necessity.

I had an aunt who would give me nice things such as designer clothes and shoes, when she cleaned out her closet. I started working at 15 because I liked shopping and wanted to continue wearing designer clothes.

I started college, and continued to work, but was forced to contribute to the household bills since I was still living at home. I wanted a car, so my mom put a down payment on my first car, and I had to make the monthly payments.

Paying some of the smaller households bills and paying my car note, taught me how to manage my money and bills. I think it’s imperative that parents start lessons of responsibility early, as kids will not learn any where else better.

I am blessed to have a good job and pay my bills and I am very grateful to my mother who taught me how to do these things. I could never repay her for all that she’s done. My job now is to help her. Everything I do to better myself is to help my mom even more. I pray that I am just as responsible and influential with my kids as she was, and still is.

Kids, parents should not have to take care of us for the rest of their lives.

Kate

March 16th, 2011
11:59 am

There is certainly no shortage of shameless freeloaders out there taking advantage of their parents, but as the daughter of a rather controlling mother, I can attest to the fact that helicopter parents will use financial support (needed or not) as a means of retaining control over their adult children. My older brother made the mistake of borrowing a large sum of money from our parents so that he and his wife could buy a house. Although he paid them back in full (and with interest) my mother still felt his house was at least partially hers and she had the right to show up whenever she pleased and harshly critique my brother and SIL’s housekeeping and decorating abilities. Although my mother almost had me convinced that I would NEVER be able to support or take care of myself without her, once I moved out of their house (in my early 20s) I never asked for, or accepted, a dime from my parents no matter how much I could have used it since I knew the strings attached to any money they gave me would stretch far and wide. Of course there is nothing wrong with helping out a family member in need, but I firmly believe one of the greatest, and unselfish, gifts you can give your children is their independence.

b

March 16th, 2011
12:03 pm

Good question. We are struggling with that right now. Oldest is graduating from college next month. Grad school acceptance just arrived but doesn’t begin until Oct. Decided fine to come home until then as long as working. We will not pay tuition for grad school. Will still carry health and car insurance and cell phone. Since no loans for college, grad school loan should not be a problem. Still up in the air about living expenses. After grad school, we will probably have the same discussion but unless there is no viable job, we won’t be subsidizing.

mom2alex&max

March 16th, 2011
12:13 pm

@doormat: no way. That money is YOURS. It is reimbursement for all the stuff (food, clothes, board, education, etc) that you have already paid for. Stand firm.

Becky

March 16th, 2011
12:19 pm

My parents never helped me after I moved out, nor did I ever ask..As has already been mentioned, as long as they are in school, I would be more than willing to help out..DB is right, there is a difference between supporting and helping out some..

To those that are saying the ex is way behind in child support, I think that now it never goes away..My sisters ex went on disability a few years back and she has been getting child support every month since then for her 31 year old..That might be some consolation..:~)

As for parents buying things for you here and there, if they want to and can, that’s great..I think as parents, you always want to help your children..Both of my parents are gone, so this isn’t an issue for me..:(

Have a coworker that lives at home with her Mom and her 21 year old son lives there as does the coworkers 45 year old brother..They will all be there until the Mom dies and then none of them will know what to do as the Mom babies all of them..The brother only works about 30 hrs. per week, drives the Mom’s car and complains all the time that he doesn’t have any money..Mom pays for all the gas in the car, car ins. all the food, and his cell phone bill..The Mom does all of the laundry for all of them..

@DB..Your last line is so true..Kids bitching about their parents spending their inheritance is so true..The coworker’s brother wants the Mom to sell the house and both cars, so that he can get “his money” now..WTH?…

catlady

March 16th, 2011
12:20 pm

Have I helped my adult children? Yes. And will as needed. Do I agree with every decision they have made? Not at all. (Heck, I don’t even agree with every decision I make!) Would I give them money to avoid having to work? No. Will I give them money if they just want something unnecessary? No. If they have an emergency need, or if I can provide something special but not expensive for my grandchildren (like lessons, for example)? Yes. But they are becoming more sensitive to my needs now, as an aging, not-in-great-health adult.

And they can always get some of the fresh or canned vegetables from my garden–no problem there.

[...] about Seattle Foreclosures News issue #1 Are you financially supporting your adult child? – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) – blogs.ajc.com 03/16/2011 Are you financially supporting your adult child?Atlanta Journal [...]

Denise

March 16th, 2011
12:40 pm

I had to move home for 6 months after I graduated from college because I didn’t have a job and that was the biggest hit to my self-esteem ever. I felt like the biggest failure! I had been on my own pretty much (full scholarship, Dad paid some of my bills, Mom did not) for 5 years and then I had to come home and go back to ask for spending money for the movies. Horrible! Not the staying at home part. My daddy was lenient and didn’t care what I did (I did because I was living in his house and I had my mind right.) Anyway, I didn’t work for a month; spent that time faxing resumes and trying to get a job. That didn’t work out so I went to work at a school supply store…with a degree in chemistry and a degree in chemical engineering…anything to have my own money! I was blessed with a job as a chemist 6 weeks later but I wanted to move back to Atlanta to be back on my own (and to be back by my boyfriend…don’t judge me, I was young and stupid. LOL). I took a low paying job to move back here. But I was on my own. Thank God I haven’t had to ask my parents for money! Prayerfully I will be able to stay on track. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to need HELP. Who can predict when you need HELP?

Now, there are people, like my brother, who put themselves in a position to need more than help. For example, his wife didn’t work and he worked in a restaurant as a cook. She brought 2 kids into the marriage and they have a kid together. (They are separated now…whole other subject). So they had 5 people eating and running the electricity on a cook’s salary. Hmmm…who do you think was filling in the gap? Not HER family! And no, she is not disabled. She can work. I know Mama has given my brother about $20K and Daddy gives them money and pays for most things for the boys (school supplies, uniforms, team sports registrations, etc.). Yeah, my brother works everyday. He has a better job, making much better money and he’s getting better at managing his money but there was a time when what he got was support…because he was stupid and not handling the business of his family right. THAT is the kind of “support” that puts a bad taste in your mouth. Oh yes, my parents complained about it…as they pulled out their check book. And yes, I participated. I felt guilty that I had so much and he had so little. I’m over it now.

DB

March 16th, 2011
12:47 pm

@Becky: It’s so sad — growing up, we had a family friend that often caused my parents to just shake their head in disbelief. He was utterly charming and completely irresponsible — four wives, no financial sense whatsoever, and his mother lost her paid-for house after he convinced her to take out a mortgage to pay off some of his debts “and he would pay the monthly payment”. He didn’t, she lost the house, and ended up living with a sister until she died. He ended up “living” in a 4th rate motel room and died there, buried in the county cemetery. I think the old-fashioned word for it is “feckless”. *sigh*

@catlady: Laughed at your comment (”Heck, I don’t even agree with every decision I make!”) Isn’t that the truth?! Goodness knows mistakes have been made — the trick is not to keep making them!

TinaTeach

March 16th, 2011
12:52 pm

@ jarvis- That’s funny! I think my life is insanely boring and routine. But I’m happy with it :o) (for the most part!)

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 16th, 2011
1:02 pm

“He said that I didn’t understand, that it made him feel bad that he wasn’t able to leave us an “estate””

Wow, my father has been quite clear since as far back as I can recall that if he dies with any money in the bank it means he failed at having a good time in life. But seriously, I am not expecting any inheritance at all. My dad has a pension and he lives a good life on it – he isn’t saving anything. Inheritance? Bah. When people in my family die you can tell they had fun cuz there ain’t a darn thing left. :)

TCH

March 16th, 2011
1:40 pm

I bought my first home @ 27, and was laid off @ 29. At the time, I told my dad I was thinking about renting my house out and moving back home. He told me no. He said he would help me if I stumbled while searching for a new job, but that I was an adult and adults don’t run challenges. At first I was a little hurt – after all, I am a daddy’s girl. But then, there was the realization that he was right, and that made me improve my interview skills and increase my career goals.

MomsRule

March 16th, 2011
1:50 pm

Excellent share TCH! And such a good lesson!

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
2:02 pm

@Tina, I think you guys are so interesting. A polyamorous couple with a child that is supporting/housing the husband’s parents.

Some might think that this would be a disfunctional situation, but at least from what you put on here, it seems to be a really normal healthy life.

deidre_NC

March 16th, 2011
2:04 pm

i have been a single parent for years….with low paying jobs for a while. my grandparents helped me out when i needed it, mainly with extras such as sports stuff for the kids. i was very gainfully employeed for several years and then was laid off right when the ‘recession’ hit and it took me 9 months to find a new job. and a much lower paying one at that. by then i had maxed my credit cards and savings (hard to live on unemployment as lots know) but i have been very lucky in that my kids have always worked as soon as they were able to do anything for pay. i have helped them at time, y sister has helped me at times, my kids have helped me at times. we all just help each other when one needs the help. the kids all help each other at times. i really have no problem with my kids living with me as long as they are working and helping with the bills and the house/yard work. my son mows my grass and wont take pay for it even when i can afford to pay him. i cant imagine my kids ever taking money from me for doing something to help me (there are things i cant do due to physical problems) but we all have helped each other out financially at different times. i was raised in my younger years with very extended family living under one roof, so i guess that doesnt bother me. my kids have all moved out now, but i have a 19 yo who has been my kids friend for years living with me. he got into drugs and went downhill and then picked himself back up, he works and pays a share of all the bills and does work around the house. he wants badly to get his own place and will as soon as he can, bu he just simply is financially able to at this time. as long as he goes by the rules (and that goes for any of my kids who may need to move home) and contributes to the household in a significant way i have no problem with my kids living here if they need to.

as far as living here freeloading…no way. there has to be some contribution.

Becky

March 16th, 2011
2:06 pm

@catlady..:~) being able to have canned or fresh food would be good enough for me..

@Thersa..Not sure if this is a good suggestion for a topic, but was wondering..I have a neice that lives in Texas and she’s a vegetarian..I’m not sure to what degree, but I just found out over the weekend that her 20 month old daughter has never eaten meat..Just wondering what others think..

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
2:14 pm

LOL. That read really funny. Obviously your child isn’t supporting your husband’s parents :-).

TinaTeach

March 16th, 2011
2:15 pm

@ jarvis- You’re right, many people do see it as disfunctional and outside the norm but I can say we have the same problems as many married couples (work stress, money stress, worry about our kid).
We both grew up in tri-generational households so having the in-laws with us really isn’t any different from the way we grew up.
As far as being polyamourous, it doesn’t work for everyone. You have to open, you can’t get jealous (well a tiny bit is okay!), and that if the other spouse say “no” you have to go by their word because your marriage comes before getting to play around with anyone else. It works for us.

jarvis

March 16th, 2011
2:20 pm

@Becky, while it is weird to me that the baby hasn’t ever eaten meat, it’s not that terribly unusual on a global scale. Nearly a billion Bhudist and Hindu children have never eaten it either.

What’s REALLY strange is that there is a vegetarian in Texas.

Kar

March 16th, 2011
3:08 pm

My father had a financial advisor talk to his Sunday School class about planning in their golden years. When someone asked how much of an estate they should leave, he said bluntly,

The last check [to them] should bounce. In other words spend it all. You could hear the jaws hitting the floor, they couldn’t think that way.

Denise

March 16th, 2011
3:22 pm

Becky, my friend and her “husband” (yeah right), eat meat but don’t let their kids eat it. “We’re going to stop eating it so we don’t want to get them started”. Oldest kid is 6. And yes, vegetarian and Texas is really the odd part. :-)

Wayne

March 16th, 2011
3:24 pm

@Denise: how long have they been eating meat and telling the kids they aren’t to do so?

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 16th, 2011
4:04 pm

@Denise – I went fully off meat, including fish and chicken, as well as eggs and milk..but have occasional cheese if the mood strikes…at age 10 (31 years ago OMG, when did I get so old?) by personal choice. Although I have generally been a “bad” vegetarian/vegan by not doing so, I know that with a properly balanced diet you can get all of the protein and other nutrients you need. One thing to watch for is B12 anemia….I used to have to get shots and now I take liquid when I am feeling low. Strange that they would put the kids off of meat first – normally it is the parents who settle into a vegetarian/vegan diet and then when they are comfortable and able to juggle the diet properly they bring in the kids. My 12yo son is a meat eater (and generally hates veg, go figure) and I would never dream of telling him that he had to share my diet, but if he ever wants to make the leap I will be here to help him…until then, I do my best to help him manage a proper diet that includes meat.

Denise

March 16th, 2011
4:06 pm

@Wayne, this is what’s funny. Both of the parents have been “trying” to be vegetarian for years. The mom (my friend) was a vegan wannabe for 13 minutes…until I had spaghetti at the house one day. The dad is Muslim so no pork (that’s the only thing that REALLY stands). They SNEAK and eat meat and seafood behind their kids’ backs. If they want to eat it at home, they have to eat it when their kids aren’t in the room or if they are in bed. Oldest kid is 6, going on 7. Youngest is newborn. I guess newborn is getting some meat by-products.

Wayne

March 16th, 2011
4:36 pm

LOL Spaghetti gets’em every time! I was heading down the path that it was a cost saving measure, but now, I’m not so sure. Why bother going through all that work hiding it from your kids? I just re-read your post and ‘got’ the meat by-products – very clever!

Becky

March 16th, 2011
4:38 pm

@jarvis..Yeah, I see that gobally..I just had never really heard of it with a child in the good ole USA..As far as there being a vegetarian in Texas, she’s originally from VA, so does that sound better:~)

@Denise..The neices Mom & Dad were that way about sugar..When the kids were little, they were never allowed to add sugar to anything..My sister
said her and BIL would sneak into the kitchen and put sugar into anything that needed it, then take it back to the table and eat it..She said her boys (bout 8 or 9) came home once after spending the night somewhere & were all like, Mom, they put sugar on cereal..Guess it worked out good for them, all three are grown now and none of them have ever had a cavity..:~)

motherjanegoose

March 16th, 2011
4:55 pm

@ Becky…I never had a cavity until I was an adult, had a child of my own and on my own dime. What was that all about?

Denise

March 16th, 2011
6:34 pm

I just laugh at my friends. I love them but sometimes the things they do and worry about make me shake my head. Sneaking shrimp but having to buy a vegan cake makes me shake my head. I have to ask what is in the food when I go over there because she tricked me one day. She told me it something was sweet potatoes and it was…with white potatoes, turnips and rutabaga (sp?) blended in it. I spit it out. Not quite ladylike but that mess was nasty! Don’t do that to your guests ladies and gentelmen! LOLLLLLL

Back on the real topic – how do you balance making the adults who live with you contribute to the house and save money to get out? Do you make their contribution non-financial (housework, yardwork, etc.)? Do you give them a time frame for moving out? Fake vegetarian friend was a squatter at my house. Would call her a roommate if she ever paid me rent and on the bills as we’d agreed. I had to put her out because I couldn’t take watching her go to Sevananda and Whole Foods while I’m buying stuff at Publix on sale. And watching her party and go out to eat plucked my nerves too. The coup de gras was hearing her talking about purchasing property when she owed me $5K. I went from “helping” to “supporting” to “kicking out”.

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 16th, 2011
8:20 pm

“Spaghetti gets’em every time”

How? Dried boxed spaghetti is semolina flour and water….you only have to worry about eggs if it is fresh or one of the more intense pastas like cannelloni or shells for stuffing with meat or cheese because then they use eggs in the pasta “dough”.. I eat dried pasta all the time with vegetables and tomato sauce.

redhousecat

March 16th, 2011
9:57 pm

My mom and stepdad helped me out in my 20’s if they thought I needed it. These days, I am married and debt free. We currently help out my parents with a few finances as well as some things for his parents. It’s the least we can do; after all, they did raise us right!

Becky

March 17th, 2011
8:43 am

@MJG..It was in response to Denise saying that her friends used to SNEAK around and eat meat and seafood behind their kids backs, so that reminded me of what my sister & BIL did about sugar when their kids were younger..

Mrs. G

March 17th, 2011
10:10 am

I like this topic…it’s pretty relevant these days. When I was in college (I graduated six years ago), I had a full-time schedule of classes and I worked part-time, so my parents were happy to help me out financially (with things like gasoline and car maintenance and insurance). I had a handful of friends whose parents paid for them to have their own apartments while in college (and for everything else – they didn’t work), but my parents said no apartment until I could pay for it myself (I was so excited to get my first apartment when I got my first “real” job; I think the fact that I didn’t have my “own place” (other than a dorm room) until I was 22 made me appreciate it that much more). My parents were also happy to help out if I needed it after college (they made that clear), but, now that I’m married, my husband and I are essentially on our own, which is how it should be. I can’t imagine having my (or his) parents supplementing our incomes; I would feel guilty!

Kat

March 17th, 2011
5:36 pm

@JJ: I was “with” you and the rules you set out from your daughter, until you brought up the fact that YOUR mom helps YOU out – and your daughter as well.

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Ole Guy

March 21st, 2011
4:34 pm

Let’s keep one thing in focus. The current economic malaise which seems to hinder recent grads’ employment search is nothing new. The real problem is this gens’ unwillingness to “throttle-back” on their expectations. When I graduated from my first degree program, the average age of the typical graduate’s car was 10-plus years. Even former military officers, accustomed to the lifestyles afforded to O-3s/O4s, learned to downsize. Fortunately, however, then as now, preparation/credentials made all the difference. As a former aviator, RIFed, along with thousands of other officers in a down-sizing military of the mid-70s, I had to accept some pretty sorry employment for what seemed an eternity. Seven months after graduation, however, I stumbled into my first “real job”, and the beginning of my first career.

It’s not easy, grads…don’t expect it to be. The first thing you should get used to is the fact that you just may have to lower your expectations for the unforseeable future. Many many generations have been faced with the same situations you now face. Yours’ is no different.