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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 26th Mar 07, 11:47 AM
    • 8,115Posts
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    MSE Martin
    MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Darth take money from his kids accounts?
    • #1
    • 26th Mar 07, 11:47 AM
    MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Darth take money from his kids accounts? 26th Mar 07 at 11:47 AM
    Here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:

    Should Darth take money from his kids' accounts?

    Widower Darth is having a dark time, he's badly in debt and really struggling to keep the family's head above water. Both his seven year old twins, Luke and Leia, have savings accounts with around £1,000 in each; their money is from a mix of Darth's gifts and that of other relatives. He could really use the cash right now; should he take the cash from the kids' accounts?

    Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should Darth take money from his kids' accounts?

    Previous MMDs: Would you lend to a friend in need? and Would you take the job?

    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 27-03-2007 at 5:59 PM.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

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Page 1
  • edenhendry
    • #2
    • 28th Mar 07, 4:42 AM
    Bad Daddy......
    • #2
    • 28th Mar 07, 4:42 AM
    If I were Luke and found out daddy was pilfering my savings, I'd pull out the light saber and cut off his money-grabbing hand!

    But seriously, if I had money difficulties, I wouldn't go near my childrens' savings accounts. I put away money in their accounts each mounth that I can afford, and as far as I'm concerned, it has then left the realms of my recovery.

    Plus this dilemma also says that other people's gifts have gone into the savings too, and I'd feel even more like a thief for taking the money as it was never meant for me.

    Personally, I'd have a serious look at my finances to see where the problems lie, and sort that out, rather than looking for the quick fix option of taking someone else's money.

    Just because the kids don't know about their savings or because you are the trustee, doesn't mean you take whatever money you like from it - it is someone else's money......
    • hilstep2000
    • By hilstep2000 28th Mar 07, 5:48 AM
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    • #3
    • 28th Mar 07, 5:48 AM
    • #3
    • 28th Mar 07, 5:48 AM
    I've done it in the past when things have been tight. I've always put it back tho once I could. I treated it like another debt, one that had to be repaid.
    I Believe in saving money!!!
    A Bargain is only a bargain if you need it!

    • hmc
    • By hmc 28th Mar 07, 6:49 AM
    • 2,418 Posts
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    • #4
    • 28th Mar 07, 6:49 AM
    • #4
    • 28th Mar 07, 6:49 AM
    i would if it meant feeding us or keeping roof over our heads

    i would aim to put it back asap though
  • viktory
    • #5
    • 28th Mar 07, 7:49 AM
    • #5
    • 28th Mar 07, 7:49 AM
    Yes of course he should use it! It would benefit the family as a whole, as it would mean that some pressing debts could be paid and the load would be lightened on poor Darth's shoulders. They are a family aren't they? Helping each other out and supporting each other in times of need.

    Taking the money and paying some debts would mean he would become a happier Daddy, which would benefit the family as whole. Imagine how those children would feel if it all got too much for Darth and he committed suicide. They would feel dreadful. However, he should return the money when finances allow.

    Alternatively, Darth should get on MSE and post his SOA for advice and assistance!
  • natsplatalie
    • #6
    • 28th Mar 07, 8:04 AM
    • #6
    • 28th Mar 07, 8:04 AM
    When I was a kid I always used to save birthday money and pocket money and by the time I was 10 or 11, I had saved a few hundred pounds, which I lent to my dad to buy a computer. I got the money back with cash interest, a TV and a Budgie, so I was happy.

    Its not quite the same, but if I was Leia, and Darth wasn't evil or anything, I would want to lend him the money, so Maybe Darth should sit down with his kids and explain the situation to them? It could be a good, early money-saving lesson for twins.
    • skylight
    • By skylight 28th Mar 07, 8:10 AM
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    • #7
    • 28th Mar 07, 8:10 AM
    • #7
    • 28th Mar 07, 8:10 AM
    Depends on the level of debt. If they could clear off what they owe and be bobbing along on the £2k, then yes, take it immediately. Darth can start to replace it when things are looking up.

    If, however, the £2k from the accounts won't even touch the sides of the debt, then its not worth it.

    After all, money is not everything. I would be horrified if I thought my parents lost our family home whist I was a child and then at 18 get a lump sum that could have helped.
  • SunnyBrighton
    • #8
    • 28th Mar 07, 9:26 AM
    • #8
    • 28th Mar 07, 9:26 AM
    Not a chance - never - ever! It's not his money and it wasn't given to him To ask 7 year olds for it would be emotional blackmail. And it won't make any difference, because he'll still be deep in debt, (sounds like a couple of thousand would only be stealing from Peter to pay Paul) and then where does he go for the next fix of money? This is much deeper than a 'oops, need a little now, and will pay it back tomorrow'.

    There are other relatives around, so why doesn't he sit down with the family he trusts and ask for help - not just money, although some may offer temporary solutions. like looking after the twins so that he can work - and do something positive?

    He needs to get debt counselling, and probably bereavement counselling too, sign up to MSE, sort himself out, and stop looking for the easy option.
    • macaroni
    • By macaroni 28th Mar 07, 10:31 AM
    • 438 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    • #9
    • 28th Mar 07, 10:31 AM
    • #9
    • 28th Mar 07, 10:31 AM
    No dont do it

    Its the kids money given my family in good faith. Whayts the chances of him being able to pay it back?? Zilch !!
  • fratty
    If it really truly utterly is a TEMPORARY 'loan' then I would. For example, it was a case of cashflow issues rather than debt problems then I would (and have!!!) borrowed from my kids.

    BUT (and it is a BIG BUT!) I would NEVER EVER touch it if I thought for one second I couldn't replace it in the very very near future!!

  • jtzt
    If Darth is "badly in debt" then as charlotte664 says, 2000 won't even touch the sides... No.
    • kingkano
    • By kingkano 28th Mar 07, 1:11 PM
    • 1,920 Posts
    • 844 Thanks
    If he is really is that badly in debt and goes bankrupt.... cant they take the kids money anyways saying he contributed to it as some kinda debt avoidance??
    • olly300
    • By olly300 28th Mar 07, 1:38 PM
    • 14,312 Posts
    • 13,632 Thanks
    Children over 7 and over are allowed to sign for their own building society/bank accounts. I remember signing to take money out of my building society account when I was about 9/10.

    If Darth is badly in debt he should leave the kids money alone as it won't help.
    • tomtombeanie
    • By tomtombeanie 28th Mar 07, 1:38 PM
    • 1,020 Posts
    • 10,828 Thanks
    TAKE it - no, BORROW it - yes
    Darth should absolutely use the money if he needs it right now, but should keep track of how much he took out of each account and put it back in as soon as he can.

    Both of our children have savings accounts. Their money has come from friends, relatives and ourselves. When we needed a bit extra to pay for double glazing last year, we dipped into their accounts - but we have not TAKEN it, we have borrowed it. We will be putting back in the interest that their money would have earned on the bank account as well, so we are all winners - a cheap loan for mum and dad, kids haven't lost out and we, as a family, are nice and warm now thanks to new windows.
  • susy
    If you want to borrow it as a TEMPORARY stop gap then fine, but whatever you do, DON'T tell the children.

    I used a very small amount of cash given to me for my daughter to solve a very quick cashflow problem. However, I mentioned it to my daughter (who was not much older than the twins at the time) and I never had any intention of defrauding her. It was very quickly replaced and spent on something my daughter wanted, but now.......some 10 or more years later, she still reminds me that I owe her this money as she has no recollection of it being returned. LOL
    • adidas
    • By adidas 28th Mar 07, 2:21 PM
    • 261 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    Take the money but only that which you've paid in. If other relatives have given the children money then you're in effect stealing their money! And obviously it would be good to pay it back soon. I think if the guy was in so much trouble he could try discussing it with the childrens relatives and asking them if he could 'borrow' the money as it were until he is more financially stable.
  • siber
    I think that Darth should treat his children like adults. If he sits them down to ask a favour, explains the situation and asks that they lend him their money, then their response will answer the question. If he adds that he'll give them a reward later and pay the money back and more (obviously to compensate for loss of interest) then the kids will benefit, they'll learn about the way the world works, and Darth'll get a cheap short term loan - assuming their account pays less interest than a bank charges for a loan. Everybody wins.

    However, if Darth probably cannot repay the money, he should think long and hard before doing this, if only because it's not a bank with billions of pounds of assets. It's his kids, and all they've got.

    If the kids don't want to go for it, so be it.
  • amyjdavidson
    That's a difficult one. When I was a kid my dad left my mum after racking up thousands of pounds worth of debt which she had to clear. It was the same situation, she had no money and my sisters and I had savings accounts. In principal she did the right thing borrowing the money, but she was never able to return the money. A few years later she badly damaged her back and was unable to work again and had to live on benefits. It's not the same situation but if things are bad for Garth now, will they get better?

    As the person who's savings were lost, I'm glad mum managed to keep a roof over our heads and keep us clothed and fed, but I do sometimes wish I'd had that money to fall back on - especially when times were hard at uni. I'm now paying off store and credit cards (I made the HUGE mistake of withdrawing cash for rent from store cards) and I sometimes wonder if I'd have had to do that if there had been some money there for me.

    I would do what needed to be done but ensure I wasn't fooling myself about returning the money.
  • cotsvale
    No No No. My kids savings could wipe out my overdraft but I wouldn't dream of touching their savings, it's taken me years to put that money aside I'd feel like a failure if I took it. I am managing my debt but I wouldn't manage to save that money up again.
  • Ksandra
    My ten year old, on overhearing that we were a little short on money, instantly offered us money from his savings! Although he is very quick to reminds us that we owe him money if we do take any.

    I see no reason why not if it is a short term fix and Darth would be able to pay it back fairly quickly, but if it won't touch the sides of his debt then NO. I think he just needs MSE!
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