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



  • littleange
    littleange Posts: 1,431 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Anyone stopped to think why this woman is getting into debt?

    I'd hazard a guess that she's probably depressed, I know I would be in her situation, therefore the problem isn't necessarily just about money! She probably has lost all her confidence and therefore it isn't easy to get out and earn more money.

    So she probably isn't getting into debt buying the latest gadgets, she's just trying to look after her kids, and the only option is to use a credit card!

    It's not easy to ask for help and if she is asking for it then chances are she is desparate.
  • Would you give an alchoholic a drink? Would you give an over eater to much food? Would you give a junkie drugs?The daughter is addicted to spending money and the parents are feeding her addiction. Do the grandchildren a favour and put the money from the house in a trust fund.
  • laughing_cow
    laughing_cow Posts: 597 Forumite
    As as 30 something daughter myself who is also in debt, I wouldn't dream of asking my parents to bail me out with their retirement fund. They've already helped me with the deposit on my flat, and that's enough. I was happy to accept the deposit help, because they could afford it, really wanted to, and their parents did the same for them, but I absolutely don't want them dipping in their pension funds because of foolish mistakes I may have made.

    They are on the verge of retirement and are trying to decide when they should actually retire (they run their own business). I am trying to push them into retirement earlier rather than later - I've been lucky to travel a lot and I'd love for them to have that opportunity. They've been quite tied to their business for many years and have worked hard - I'm really proud of them, and I've told them I don't care if there's nothing left for my brother and I when they die - I want them to go out there and have a blast!
  • Sorry for the assumption on the 80's...I based this on the fact on what happened to us really in the 90's, and assumed it could have been similar. We kicked ourselves for not buying a house first we couldn't as we were both students, but then we should have bought straight away. I didn't want to as it wasnt the right stage in our relationship.

    If we had bought 5 years ago the price we paid for our house would have been about c.£75,000 ish - you can find out this information about who and what your house sold for in the past online...we bought for £115,000; and was the best we could afford. To pay any less you were getting a real dive, - 5 years ago £115,000 would have bought u something awesome, and money can't go up that fast when wages haven't:( We could have got much more as the banks were willing to lend it to us, (we have great credit) but as least we can still get a decent morgage. The fixed-rate morgage from HSBC seems to only work if you have paid 20% off your morgage I think, which we haven't but we managed to get a fixed-rate no fee morgage which is good from them. We have to remorgage the end of this month:( The house prices increased a vast amount in those 5 years, and you need a 2 person income to really find a house like this, even if its not a great income :D If I could I would have bought my student house for £57,000...granted it wasnt in a great area, but had plenty of rooms, and on just 1 wage I could have squeezed it out. I wonder what it goes for now?:)

    Also yes, to me shouting does solve stuff when it's justified. I know this is a controversial social I don't want to start a war. But to me you can do as much damage being too passive as too aggressive. It must be hard to know what to do, most of you prolly have parents the same age as mine..and she was tough. But, spare the rod, spoil the child..a rod...jeez that's a bit harsh I think. But a little telling off doesnt hurt. Its like smacking someone on the hand or giving them a time-out time until they control themselves, or doing something else like beating the living daylights out of them; there is a big difference. I think most people know the difference between right and wrong deep down. Without any consequence or punishment and only reward - where is the insentive? I still don't think kids need all the rubbish they have, and if they want it that bad; a paperound or a job or 2 around the house extra will make that telly they have in thier room, that THEY EARNT; so much more respected.
  • it repeated twice - i don't know why :(

    P.S. Another money saving fruit and veg..awesome, curry sauce 59p, better than Patak's!!!
  • historian
    historian Posts: 18 Forumite
    I have the feeling that many of the correspondents have never been involved in a similar situation - I have but with my nearly middle-aged son who has been more unemployed than employed (contract work) during the last three years despite being a skilled craftsman. For the sake of £3000 (too ashamed to tell me), building society took him to court for ignoring their letters (obvious sign of immaturity, no responsibilities and optimistism that all would go away) and he was given 48 hours to clear whole remaining mortgage of £20,000 or lose home. Even bailiffs were shocked by court decision.Turned up on my doorstep with bag in hand at this stage. So what do you do? No space in my small bungalow so scraped together enough money from different sources to satsify B. society than took out mortgage on my home to cover loans, sure that he would soon get a permanent job and repay me. Now I am stuck with the burden of a mortgage, difficult as I am retired and he repays me what he can which is not often. The house is in his name only but since I am not a b.society, he gets no housing help from DHSS during periods of unemployment. CAB has no solutions. So what do you do? - make him sell his house to repay me, and then sleep rough for as long as it takes to get on a housing list? Do you do that to any child of yours however old? Is that the solution to the moral dilemma?
  • WestonDave
    WestonDave Posts: 5,154 Forumite
    Rampant Recycler
    Sadly by this point its much too late. In this scenario the retired parents probably grew up in (or in the immediate shadow of) wartime austerity and learned that you made the best of things and didn't have what you couldn't afford. Somewhere that lesson hasn't been passed on and the daughter has been left purely relying on the "advice" of the countless adverts we see pretending its perfectly OK to borrow and spend because nobody ever talks about making sure you can pay it back. Couple that with looking around and seeing everyone else doing it and seeming fine (because we don't walk around with our personal balance sheet listed on our backs) and its little surprise that she sees little wrong in keeping up with the Joneses.

    There will come a point when the parents cannot help as their funds will be exhausted - it is therefore far better that a line is drawn in the sand now so that by sorting her own mess out she can begin to understand what it means to control your finances rather than be controlled by them. Once she has got the message and maybe struggled through some hard times maybe the parents can give her a surprise leg up or maybe a nice treat to celebrate getting back on track. The kids can be treated as is the natural role of the grandparent but simply chucking money into a bottomles pit helps no-one except the financial institutions who have a vested interest in encouraging the use of credit.

    The real message from this story - if you have kids start training them NOW to understand the rationale behind all the slick marketing and where it will lead to in reality as opposed to the glossy advert pictures.
    Adventure before Dementia!
  • moggylover
    moggylover Posts: 13,324 Forumite
    GrowMoney wrote: »
    Her parents need to ask themselves if it is actually their daughters fault that she is in debt. I suspect as in most cases the fault is actually more with the parents although they do not realise it.

    The daughter is a single mother with two children. This situation happens. She probably has very little chance of earning a high salary.

    Her parents will be living in a house that their generation has enjoyed increasing in value many times. They have lived the last decade or so believing that they are well off and financially stable based on this over inflated price.

    The daughter is also a home owner. However she is likely to have had to overstretch herself in order to even get onto the bottom rung of the property ladder. Her mortgage payments will take up the majority of her salary, leaving very little left and the inevitable build up of debts.

    Really it is time that the older generation realised that the impossible situation their children find themselves in is largely their fault. That their perceived wealth based on their property price is false and that they need to be passing this capital onto their children now.

    An inheritance when their daughter is in her 60's will be of little use to her. If they paid off £50,000 of her mortgage now it would be life changing for her.

    If they care about their grandchildren they should help her by paying off some of her mortgage. They shouldn't watch their grandchildren grow up in poverty, whilst rattling around in a huge oversized, overpriced house and spanking vast quantities of money on various overpriced and unnecessary [insert your parents spending here]


    What a horrible, horrible thing to suggest! My parents did not buy their council house until I left school and was in a position to help them do so! Despite this I always hated ever having to borrow from them - and ALWAYS paid back what I did borrow so that they did not suffer from my stupidity.

    When they sold up and moved to Wales - they bought a lovely bungalow and had some money left over - and I was overjoyed for them - they had worked hard all their lives and deserved it. Instead, I decided to sell up my own house and move down here to be near them - and bought a much cheaper property in a derelict state, which I then renovated.

    We lost Dad in 1993 - 3 years after I came here - and I lost my mum 2 years ago last Christmas. I now have two houses - both paid for - at 50 years of age (although it was sods law I would end up with a property market in which I cannot sell either of them) and I would give both up just to have my parents back!!!

    It was always hard to get on the housing ladder and make ones way in life - yet this generation seem hell bent on wanting all and everything at one go - and now they suggest that that should be at their parents expense! Shame on you!
    "there are some persons in this World who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them"
    (Herman Melville)
  • OK, historian no offense but that sounds like my mate the one who's been out of work for so long. He's a engineer. Thing is, if you know your work is to be like this why not get another job on top? I'm a scientist but I worked as a shop girl in a bakery between work, that was degrading but I did it - I was also a librarian and did temp. work for agencies.

    If his work is so bad that it's still like this, he needs to find another line of work. If he's still at home unemployed surely there must be some help he can get with training for something. No I don't think you should have turned him away, you sound like a nice Mum/Dad - this person has in this thread has done this 2 times before - but as you said yourself he thought it would go all away and just ignored the problem, and that's how the problem happened. Citizens advice (I know as my Mum and me had £50 to live on a week after my Dad died) can really, really help you with your budgeting. He may not be spending too much as he isn't working so anything seems big, thats how I got into the only debt I ever had - but find a new career and budget, he will help you both out. Being unemployed is depressing if you have any self-esteem and so out of bordom and to make yourself better I can understand why some people spend too much. But its a cycle and only gets worse, the only way you can solve it is by saying "right I can do this, watch out World here I come!" and getting that new job. I think it's WRONG the government won't help you if you are having problems until a certain time if you own your own home, but not if you rent it - and I really feel for him, but he needs to sort himself out with more perminant work even if it involves retraining.

    Alexander the great said I have been told:
    "Anything is possible for a man (or woman) who will try"
    And he wasn't called great for nothing:)
  • Gizmo69
    Gizmo69 Posts: 1 Newbie
    Absolutely not! Especially as she has done this before. The girl needs to grow up and get her money troubles sorted for herself. Her parents have given her more than enough support in her lifetime; they need to support themselves now. Sell everything non essential on ebay, she'll make more money that way to pay off the debts. If the children are at risk then the grandparents can step in and take care of them temporarily if it eases their conscience. Moral is stop spending money when you cant afford to!
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