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give_seek's avatar

Should you tell your adult children your income?

Asked by give_seek (1425points) September 16th, 2017

My daughter doesn’t know how much money I make. I’m sure if she found out she’d be surprised. It’s probably a little more than she imagined. I’m not concerned that she would suddenly start asking me for money; however, her boyfriend might pressure her to do so (sometimes they go through financial challenges).

The subject of my income has never come up before, but out of curiosity, she might ask one day.

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18 Answers

chyna's avatar

If you are worried that the boyfriend will ask for money, then no, I wouldn’t tell your daughter your income. It’s none of her business anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it depends on the family. I’ve known how much my parents make since I was a teen I think.

How much my parents make doesn’t influence me at all in asking them for money or not. If they made very little I wouldn’t expect anything obviously. I don’t expect anything anyway, but what I mean is, let’s say they make a good salary, if they made $100k or $300k would have no effect on me thinking I should get money from them.

My husband would NEVER want to ask my parents for money. They do give us bits of gift money for birthday and Chanukah, and now that they are getting older the amounts have gone up, but for years it was a few hundred dollars, but if they had given us nothing it would be fine. We get nothing from his parents. We had and have zero expectations. I can’t imagine any man I know thinking a parent of his spouse/SO should be giving money to them. If you think that he will want it exoect money then I think it is best to not tell. We try not to give my husband’s family any idea of how much money we really have. I have no idea what they think.

That brings me to the point that how much money you make is very different from how much money you have. Having enough money for retirement is part of the equation. If you have a nice nest egg, that means your daughter won’t have to worry about spending money to care for you, which saves her money in the end.

If she has never asked I don’t see why she would suddenly ask now. Is there a reason you think she might? If she needs money I think she’s more likely to ask to borrow some money than ask your actual salary.

If you feel they are truly doing their best, and want to give them money when it’s very difficult, so they don’t get into a financial hole, because financial holes mean having to spend even more money than the original amount, then give your gift. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I wouldn’t make it a regular bail out of any sort. Although, it sounds to me like you don’t want to give them money. That’s fine too. It’s up to you.

Is she very young? Under 25?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My daughters know what I earn. It’s not hard to find out because I work for a public institution. I trust them implicitly and they have never given me any reason to question that trust. My daughters have information about our wills, passwords and so on. However, my son – I would not give my son access to such information. Listen to your instincts. If you feel your daughter might share the info with her boyfriend and that is likely to cause you problems, keep the information to yourself.

imrainmaker's avatar

You can always refuse to give the money even if your daughter asks for it. As pointed out above it’s not very difficult to know how much you make in case of large firms (public / private both )based on average salary for the position you’re working.

funkdaddy's avatar

When I was a young adult (20ish) I got my first job making what I thought was good money. I think my dad did me a service by sitting me down and kindly breaking down what his real world bills were then and at different points in my childhood.

That’s not necessarily the same as telling them your income, but I think there’s an educational aspect of finding out how much money it took to live as I did when I was at home. Our family income varied by a huge amount, but I didn’t really understand that, and the effects it had, until that conversation and thinking it through afterwards.

Financial education is usually really expensive to come by through trial and error and I think parents can be one of the few unbiased sources we can have. I think letting your kids know, in general terms, how much the life they’re most familiar with actually costs can be a big help.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I like @funkdaddy‘s response. I’m not sure it applies in the OP’s circumstances since she would appear to have a child who is in a relationship and this suggests she is not a minor. However, I remember being stunned after I told my father about a pay rise I had received when he said ‘you are earning more than me’. I didn’t have a great job. I also didn’t have a mortgage, children to feed and cloth and so on. It was an eye-opener for me.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m just curious what conversations you have had about money. Especially, long term thinking. Don’t send your kid out in the adult world without at least a minimal understanding of saving for bad times, and retirement, and that things like not paying off credit cards in full every month is a financial catastrophe.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Not analytically. Your daughter probably has a vague idea. The only thing you should make clear is that you are there to help out in a time of real need and NOT to foot the bill for irresponsible actions. The rest is up to them. They have to learn to live within their means and take care of their own issues. My main point is : I love you, I am there for your real needs but I am not your benevolent sponsor. THAT is all an adult child needs to know.

johnpowell's avatar

It is kinda foolish to assume they don’t already know. Perhaps there was a missing a piece of mail with your 401K info. And it is easy as hell to log into your bank as you if you give me 30 seconds on your computer.

give_seek's avatar

Thank you for the great responses. I’m less concerned about sharing my income than I was before my question.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t tell my kids how much I earn and they don’t ask. When they have needed money I have been able to give though they have never asked. Now I am retired I think I am better off than they realise. I have told them how much my bills are but not my income.

canidmajor's avatar

What @Earthbound_Misfit says, absolutely. It depends on the person your adult child is.

seawulf575's avatar

As adults, my children know how we live and can sort of figure how much I make. I’m not concerned that they know the exact amount. I figure if they are mature and self-supportive, they will not need to mooch off me. If they aren’t mature and self-supportive, they don’t really care how much I make and will mooch anyway.

Strauss's avatar

There is no hard and fast rule. It depends on the family.
Personally, I think the only reason one would need to know would be where the parent, because of age related illness, was no longer capable of managing their own finances.

Aster's avatar

Are you kidding? I have hinted but I would never tell either daughter much about my financial status. I think both of them have a sense of entitlement and they think I’m on death’s door which I am most certainly not.

Tiffanee's avatar

I wouldn’t hide it but I wouldn’t talk about it either unless asked.

tranquilsea's avatar

My hubby would rather the kids didn’t know but I have always believed that they needed to know. They needed to know how much money we make equals the lifestyle we can provide for them. It provides them context. We actually talk about money management a LOT with the kids. They are all young adults now and they all know that you have to work hard for what you have and you need to save for the future.

As to worrying about their significant others putting pressure on them to ask for money…well that’s not something I worry about. Whether I give them money or not is 100% in my control.

My kids generally don’t ask for money.

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