Money Moral Dilemma: Should retired parents pay off their daughter's debts?



  • Had she not already been bailed out twice I would argue that the parents were a bit mean for not helping but if she is truly being irresponsible with her money then it's time for tough love. As other posters have said they can help in other ways.

    This is an interesting issue to me. My inlaws are mortgage free, have several properties abroad and have inherited some paintings where one of those alone would pay off our mortgage. My husband and I are very sensible with our money but with a new baby (their grandchild) on the way things are on the tight side and no offers to contribute to anything have been forthcoming. I am not so ungracious to expect things, but my parents are far less well off and are doing what they can for us. I guess that's why my inlaws are wealthy...
    Self employed and loving it :D

    Mummy to Natasha 25/09/08 :heart:
  • charis18uk
    charis18uk Posts: 447 Forumite
    Absolutely not. Two bail outs is more than what is warrented. Tough love definately is the way forward here, otherwise it doesn't break what has become a cyclical pattern. Now her parents are elderly the roles should be reversing and the 34yr old should grow up and realise she now has a responsibility to her parents to be independent and if needed be there for her parents.

    As for the children, what message does this send them, oh its okay to live beyond your means because there will be someone there to pick up the pieces everytime.

    It will be a harsh experience for all, but not necessarily a negative one
  • oafish1
    oafish1 Posts: 5 Forumite
    I had the same situation with my neice, who has a child (my great neice)
    I bailed her out time and time again, but on the most recent time, i said 'no way'.
    This lady is overspending because she KNOWS she can! The 'bank of parents' will bail her out.
    The parenst are doing her no favours, after all what will happen when all their maoney has gone.
    Tough Love as per the other replies, is the only way. Her parents can support her best by accompanying her to a money advisory centre, such as citizens advise
  • luxor4t
    luxor4t Posts: 11,125 Forumite
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    Sarahcat wrote: »
    I so agree with everything you write.
    Back in the 80s when we were first able to get the deposit SAVED for a mortgage our interest rate was 15%!
    We only bought what we could afford because the mortgage payments and all the other bills needed to be paid first. My first washing machine and fridge were second hand.
    A trip to the cinema or the bowling alley was a BIG treat.
    I blame the problem on the buy now/pay later (or not!) ethos that our society now has.
    I personally don't believe either that children should assume they will inherit from their parents-particularly with NHS as it is!
    Having saved and paid for everything we now have we expect to enjoy ourselves in our older years with our money!

    Yes, the 80s were really hard for young families, despite the modern claim that it was the 'have it all generation'!

    We are now being told by the Government to save for our old age but we are having to help our 3 kids through Uni. Our 'legacy' to our kids will be a good education which will (please God) lead to the chance of good jobs. After that they can make their own way just like we did, and enjoy their achievements.
    I can cook and sew, make flowers grow.
  • Daisy_Bell
    Daisy_Bell Posts: 186 Forumite
    luxor4t wrote: »
    Why blame the parents? the daughter has run up big debts THREE times, and has been bailed out twice!

    Do you really think starting on the house ladder was easy when the parents set out? Yes, prices were cheaper BUT salaries were lower, mortgages harder to get and you had to have a 10% deposit. I know - I have been there and wished I could have afforded the T-shirt, but the [strike]house[/strike] sorry, flat (houses were too expensive) came first.

    The parents would have struggled through the 80s when mortgage interest shot up and up, new buyers went into negative equity etc etc. I know about this too, OH's job moved and we had to sell at a loss.

    Why do you think the parents have saved so hard for their retirement? They have learned the hard way that money does not grow on trees and that they need to prepare for their future, which may well include medical needs that the state will not meet. This is what happened to my parents.

    Their daughter is 30+ not 13, and needs to take responsibility for her own life. What will she do when she has bled her parents dry? What are her own kids learning about money - that they should expect her to rescue them?

    Err... not only did you have to have a 10% deposit in my day, but the wife's salary was not even taken into consideration! Plus you couldn't get a Mortgage under the age of 21! Wages were a whole lot less in the '60s compared with today. Your first priority was the roof over your head, then the food in your family's stomach, then the clothes on their bodies. Everything else had to wait. If you hadn't got the money for extras, then you went without and saved for them. I'm sick and tired of being told 'You're alright, you own your house'. Yes, and we didn't keep on borrowing money on it either. We got it paid off as soon as we could, because that was the only way we could bring our cost of living down and start to save for some of the things in life we hadn't been able to afford before. Young people today have a totally different set of priorities. They want to have it all. Impossible for most of them I'm afraid, so they have to choose. I'm not judging them, I'm saying how it is. Our kids were brought up knowing the value of money and have never got themselves into financial trouble, even though it was hard for them when they were first starting out. Even now they are both in their forties, they still have to be careful. Our grandchildren are totally different. They care more about enjoying themselves, wearing designer gear, which cars they drive, etc. etc. then the basics. So they will have to learn the hard way I'm afraid. I would always help my kids if they were in genuine need, but if they got themselves into a mess through greed, over and over, then I would have to let them learn by their mistakes I'm afraid.

    "Common Sense is really not so common!"
  • Sounds just like my family. Parents (divorced, one retiered one nearly there) keep giving my sister (similar age 4 kids of her own and now living with a chap) handouts (one was a 'loan' to cover over £20K of debt!!!). Since she got the 'loan' she has 'bought' a new Audi A4 (she works part time in a supermarket!), but yet the hand outs keep comming. The latest was my mum taking her kids on holiday (with my dad providing spending money), because she couldnt afford it, but once the kids were off her hads she found the money to go on holiday with her chap!

    Whether its a consious or subconsious thing I dont know, but my sister knows she can relay on 'bank of mum or dad' to bail her out, all she has to do is plead poverty and say the kids are missing out.

    Ive tried to point out to mum and dad that they are fulling her bad finacial management by always bailing her out, but the message hasnt sunk in yet.

    I've stopped making the effort to ring all three of them because I'm sick of hearing sisters sob stories and mum and dad moaning about her spending habits, despite the fact they are fulling them, by not making her take responsibility.

    Moral of the story - parents (mine and in made up story) should, say no. It might sound harsh, but if they don't they will be nothing left for them to retire on thier daughter will have peed it all up the wall.
  • My first be kind to me!:)

    I am reasonably young, partner 32. We love the program and I always like getting tips! Some tips are more useful than others, and I am going to see if we can afford a flight with your super flight information. :)

    I have never been more than £1000 in the red, but that was when I had left Uni and was in that unemployed stage, I accumulated it. I NEVER have had hand outs from my Mum who is older than most mum's about 70 as I am adopted...for one thing I would feel ashamed, it's about growing up and making it on YOUR OWN. Now I am in the black, have a morgage and student loans, we share a car, both have a ISA, pensions, insurance, cats, holidays, he has other savings plans and are thinking about a savings plan for big things like weddings!

    I have a friend, he hasnt worked for about 2 years, goes on holidays all the time for "fag runs", remorgaged his house twice but sold it and now lives with his Mum as well as his wife and daughter...I couldnt live like that, for 1 thing my Mum would kick me up the bum and secondly the amount of debt would worry me.

    We don't get into debt as we don't overspend. If I can't afford it, I save for it until I can get it...and look forward to it coming. I don't miss out!!!! I have a really nice life. It was drilled into my head as I was young to go to boot sales for days out, to mend and make do, to buy luxuries as Mum used to call it when people were stupid with thier money "having a shampagne diet on a beer budget".

    For example I could have easily gained a 110% morgage when I bought my house 2 years ago, people were throwing them at us. But I chose a cheaper house that we could afford then. Im glad as my partner may be made reduntant and with morgages going up so much on interest at least we won't have our home repossessed.

    I do have 1 point to make that the older generation seem to forget, yes interest rates went up by at least 15% in the 80's or 90's when you bought your house, but back then houses were so cheap your could afford to get a house if you wanted to on just 1 income...and you didnt need to be david beckham either! Also you probably got a grant like I did at Uni, no grant means a lot of shouldered debt - this should have been thought about more as it can only get worse.

    My own tips I gained from my Mum:

    1. Never a borrower or a letter be. Don't get LOANS if you can avoid it in any way - you pay more money on that money no matter what and that's wasted cash.

    2.Go to boot sales, charity shops and the around for what you buy. People are so snobby these days, it's fun finding a real bargain!

    3.Make food last. A chicken for example can be roast chicken on 1 night, curry or chinese on another, fillings for sandwiches and the bones chicken stock! Just boil up that carcass with a onion and some sticks of celery, pepper and salt, when its cold take out the bones and throw them. Freeze the axcess and lable the containers. I heard the adverage person wastes about £400 of food in a year...I don't I even grown my own peas and tomatoes which must save a little...but I do it for the taste!:D

    4.Have take out once a week or fortnight as a will help your weight, and youll have something to look forward to.

    5.Don't have a credit card. If you have to lay the cash out in your hand you realise more what you are about to spend. A lot of online shops will take things like solo.

    My partner is taking a Open degree at Open University, 1 module was persoanl some great tips in there, a great one was budget EVERY month, it helps to get to know where u are with things.

    I wouldn't give her a hand out either, but there is some blame with parents these days. Why the hell are you giving children thier own mobile phones and latest everything!!! Why dont you know where you kids are that they dont even need a mobile phone? How much pocket money do you give your kid? Why should they get anything, why not get something for doing a good job somehow. Seriously shout at them a bit for wasting money, don't be afraid to shout...I think people are these days, you are the parent. Who gives a monkeys if thier mates have the latest stuff, there will ALWAYS be someone with more than you and someone with less, you don't need a mate whos only your friend as you have the trendy clothes or cool gadgets. If you have no concept of the value of a pound, then of course they are not going to understand when they get older.

    Hope I was useful!
  • littleange
    littleange Posts: 1,431 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Seriously shout at them a bit for wasting money, don't be afraid to shout...I think people are these days, you are the parent.

    There is never any need to shout at anyone! :eek:
  • luxor4t
    luxor4t Posts: 11,125 Forumite
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    ...I do have 1 point to make that the older generation seem to forget, yes interest rates went up by at least 15% in the 80's or 90's when you bought your house, but back then houses were so cheap your could afford to get a house if you wanted to on just 1 income...and you didnt need to be david beckham either! Also you probably got a grant like I did at Uni, no grant means a lot of shouldered debt - this should have been thought about more as it can only get worse.

    Hi gingerlover!
    Points well made and I'm not picking on you, just sorting out a few generalisations.

    We started out in London where property has never been cheap. We had to start with a flat because we could not stretch to a house even on two civil service salaries in 1983 /4. We could not have got anything at all on one salary, and I think this was true for most other places. I think the one salary mortgage might have been possible in the 1960s & early 70s, but fewer people were buying then.

    Our mortgage was £28,000 and my dear MiL nearly had a fit at the amount and the expense of the repayments.

    Yes, I did get a grant for Uni - £300 a year, which did not even cover my hall fees but at least it was 'free'. OH started work at 17. We are now helping our kids with Uni costs.

    The 30+ daughter in the example has got herself into debt again despite being helped out by her elderly parents. My point is that they have budgeted carefully to protect themselves in their old age.
    I can cook and sew, make flowers grow.
  • Shineyhappy
    Shineyhappy Posts: 1,928 Forumite
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    This happened to my exes sister, she was a single mum of one child who blamed her parents for "forcing" her to have the choice (they said she must chose whether to keep the child, abort or adopt, they never forced her to do anything but make the decision herself) she was then bought a shared ownership house (parents paid 10% deposit and the mortgage payments, she paid the rent) she was a SAHM on benefits although the grandparents looked after the child more than the mother but she refused to work as she was too busy. They paid for everything for the child but the mother kept running up debts, first time the grandparents paid off 1.5k, then it was another 2k, then another 1k then it was nearly 15k.

    They were sick with worry but she had the latest and trendiest clothes/make up/furniture and she will never learn because her parents pay the bills. The grandfather was offered early retirement as the IT systems were changing and he was 64 and the retraining would be expensive, instead of being able to enjoy that he has another full time job to keep her in the lifestyle she is accustomed to.

    So I wouldnt bail out my daughter for the third time, I would have helped her work out a SOA the first time and helped with the kids but if you have the child you must be responsible for it.
    Debt Free - done
    Mortgage Free - done
    Building up the pension pot
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