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nikipedia's avatar

Parents, how do you feel about giving money to your grown (or nearly-grown) kids?

Asked by nikipedia (27692points) August 1st, 2010

I guess the age of your children and your own financial situation probably contribute a good amount. In general, do you feel happy to be able to do something nice for them or resentful? Do you feel like you’re obligated to buy them gifts and/or send money once in a while? How often do you do it, if ever? Do your kids ask for money, or do you just volunteer it?

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24 Answers

Scooby's avatar

If I knew where he was,, all I had would be his for the taking!!

Aster's avatar

If they were good citizens and trying to make ends meet to the best of their ability and had little income I’d be glad to help.

CMaz's avatar

If you have it to give. Why not? You can’t take it with you.
And, it should never be an obligation.

AmWiser's avatar

Most of us get in a pinch at some point. My parents were always there for me and to this day (even though I’m married) if I need some money, my mom would come through for me. I do the same for my children. I don’t feel obligated because they know if I don’t have it I can’t give it.

perspicacious's avatar

I see no reason for parents not to help adult children if the parents can and want to. I admit I have seen it happen to the point of stifling ambition, but that was a situation of very wealthy parents and a daughter who seemed to move from one bad situation to another. On the other hand I have seen adult children ask their parents for help knowing that the parents were not in a position to; I felt bad for the parents because they wanted to be able to help but couldn’t.

NormanL's avatar

If you can afford it, there is nothing wrong with sharing with your children while you are alive to see them enjoy it. I plan to spend all my money on traveling and hope the check to the undertaker bounces.

tranquilsea's avatar

I never got any money from my parents. They were terrible with their money and rarely had any to give. We got into a tight spot when our kids were little and couldn’t pay a $500 car bill. My FIL came through but we had to pay him back.

We are in a much better financial position than my parents were. I am leaning towards helping them out as long I as I can see they are doing everything they can do with their situation and just need some help. If it ever comes to a point where they are depending on me I would have to cut them off.

nikipedia's avatar

As a follow-up question, what would you think of a parent who was financially comfortable but refused to help out his/her children financially? Let’s assume the children in question are generally successful, responsible people. Would you say it’s the parent’s prerogative, so no big deal, or would the children be justified in being angry with the parent?

ETpro's avatar

If they need money and I have it, it’s theirs. But my dad started giving me money for Christmas after I grew up, and I never really liked it. It left me wondering what I should do in return, go take the time to look for something I thought he would really like, or just dash off a check for the same amount. That would have been quite easy, because the amount was always the same. On thing for birthdays, and a larger amount for Christmas. So I don’t just give money unless I know that’s what they actually need.


This is a great question, because it gives me an opportunity to highlight a major difference between most Western versus Asian families, and how money in the family is viewed and handled. In most traditional Chinese/Japanese families, parents still give money to their children when they become adults. Whether it’s out of necessity or as a gift, it’s often done without “obligation” or “expectations”. In my family, like many Asian families, “my money is my children’s money, and my children’s money is my money.” When I was growing up, I was taught that we all have to work our hardest for the sake of the family, not necessarily for myself. The money I made was for anyone who needed it. If I needed money, I did not have to feel bad or ashamed to ask my parents for money, because I knew they would readily give it to me without “expecting” me to pay it back. I remember my other Asian friends and I talking about how “strange” it was that a lot of Western parents expect their children to pay them back for loans or even just a simple small lending of money. “You owe me that fifty bucks,” is something unheard of in most Asian families. Money sharing between parents and their children, between siblings, between grandparents and grandchildren, etc., is very common and usually not an issue. I think a lot of it has to do with the Confucian ethic——children are expected to care for their parents until they die, but parents are expected to provide and care for their children in return, and that has no age boundary. The relationship of providing is reciprocol. Thus, a father who denies a child, even an adult child, any needed money (that is, if the father is able to provide it), is considered an act of shame, because according to the Confucian ethic, that same child has a responsibility to care for his father when he grows old and decrepid. Each has a responsibility.

I don’t know about modern Asian families now, however, or American Asian families. They may be influenced more by Western ideals today, so times may have changed. But I know in my family and many other traditional Chinese/Japanese families, we have no qualms about giving money when someone in the family needs or wants it.

I have a number of Italian friends, and they tell me it’s the same in traditional Italian families, so I’m sure the practice is not exclusive to Asian families.

poofandmook's avatar

My dad doesn’t really make a whole lot, and he’s still suffering financially from raising me as a single parent with a crap job for years. He’s in debt with student loans up to his ears. He still struggles with past expenses gone into collections because he just couldn’t make ends meet. He works his ass off to get his bachelor’s degree when I was little, and he worked his ass off again to become an RN when I was a teenager, all the while working full-time and raising me.

Bottom line is, my dad can rarely afford to help me, but he does it anyway. When my car got totalled a little over a year ago, he bought me a beater minivan for $300 and paid to have it registered and put it on his insurance. When it broke down, he paid to have it towed, and then paid another $300 in parts and worked with a friend to fix it. When that died, he bought my grandmother’s car for $250 and gave it to me and then spent the cash to fix the battery and the directional switch thingie, which was another few hundred. Then after that, when my life went to hell in March, he paid for my therapy, $360 (I’m supposed to get reimbursement from a FSA and give it back though). When I decided to go for my phlebotomy certification, he split the cost of the class with me, which he gave me when I took him to breakfast for Father’s Day, while he threw me an extra $40 for gas, essentially paying for the breakfast I just bought him. Last week when I realized I made a mistake and overdrew my account for the first time in years, he wired me $100 he didn’t have for gas and food.

My dad helps me out when he doesn’t have it to give because he knows I work my butt off and I don’t go on shopping sprees or indulge in things I want. The minivan came at the cost of some of his diabetic stuff… he used his partner’s stuff until he could get another shipment. He always says I have to pay him back, but he doesn’t chase me down for it, and most of the time he already knows I’m barely making ends meet and probably won’t be in any position to return the money.

I <3 my daddy.

My mom, on the other hand, would rather spend her money on pot and tattoos and getting her nails done than ever help me out, while my grandmother pays for God knows how much of her daily expenses like rent, food, etc, but that’s another story for another day.

AmWiser's avatar

@nikipedia if a parent is financially able but refuses to help their children financially…its sad but it is their prerogative. The children can be angry, but they need to realize their parents are not obligated especially after raising them, seeing that they got a good education and are now successful, responsible citizens. Sometimes children take financial risks because they know or think they have parents with money that can bail them out of their situation should it fall through. Also whether a child thinks his parents are financially comfortable may not know all the facts. (just sayin).

Blackberry's avatar

I’ve only asked my mother for money two times since I’ve left home, and it was because I actually needed it to eat. My credit cards were maxed out, I had no money in the checking or savings, and I even used all the money I had saved up in my ‘retirement’ account that you’re never supposed to touch. I didn’t want to do it, but I just had to. She asked me why I didn’t ask her earlier, she wired it to me the same day.

MissAusten's avatar

I think families helping each other out is a wonderful thing, as long as no one is being taken advantage of. I’d never ask my mom for money because she is always talking about being broke. I’m not sure if it’s true, but any help from her would have too many strings attached. My dad would probably help out if he could and if he thought we really needed it, but he seems to have the idea that my husband makes tons of money. I don’t know why. We don’t live a remotely extravagant lifestyle. I’d hate to have to ask him for financial help just because he seems so proud of us. You’d think the fact that we only have one car, almost never travel, live in a regular house that needs a lot of updating, and don’t buy each other expensive gifts would give him a clue.

My husband’s parents are an entirely different matter. They actually are a lot like @MRSHINYSHOES described. Interestingly enough, they are Italian. They have helped us out financially many times, and we’ve helped them out as well. Both my husband and my father-in-law have their own business and don’t make a set amount of money each month. Sometimes one of us will need a bit of help if extras come up. We do keep track of the “debts” but never ask for it back. Right now I think we are in the negative to them, but next year it might be the other way around. We know they work hard, and they know we work hard. They know we don’t spend money on things we don’t need and that we’ll help them out too if they need it. I’m sure if they thought we were borrowing money from them to just go shopping or waste on frivolous things they’d say no.

As for parents who can help out but choose not to, ever, I think it’s kind of sad. Sometimes things beyond your control lead to financial problems. I hope we’ll be able to help our kids out when they are adults, if they need it. There was one time when my husband’s parents cut him off financially. He was living in Florida, basically just partying all the time while they supported him with money for rent and food. After a couple of years of that, they just stopped sending him money. They told him they would buy him a one-way plane ticket home, but otherwise he was on his own. He stuck it out for a while, then came home. Lucky for him, because not long after he met me. :)

SeventhSense's avatar

If they’re bad you can send it to me…I mean just to appease your guilt of course.

YARNLADY's avatar

We do it all the time. We are currently helping support three adult grandsons and their mother, my son, his wife and two toddlers.

We purchased a house for my youngest son and family with the idea they were to pay on a rent to own basis, but he lost his job. They are now driving a car we bought, which we pay insurance and expenses on. My oldest (adult) grandson was paying rent for his room in our house and expenses for the car he drive, but he lost his job too, so now we are supporting him, again.

We frequently send money to the Daughter In Law and two grandsons who are living there, all are currently out of work.

My oldest son suffered a severe stroke two years ago, and now his partner/caretaker discovered she has MS and has moved back home with her folks, so we send him money occasionally as he needs it.

My philosophy is charity begins at home. If I were to say No because I’d rather have a new TV, I would hate myself be totally unable to enjoy the TV.

Frenchfry's avatar

I would help my kids anyway I can. I know it is not easy nowadays especially in this economy.

Facade's avatar

My mother routinely gives me money. I’ve actually asked it of her maybe once since I moved out. Even though I tell her that she doesn’t need to, she says that as I’m always her child, and as long as she is working, she’ll help me out. Although I can’t help but feel guilty about it, I’m grateful. Hopefully she’ll let me start utilizing my own money when I start working in a couple weeks Woohoo! Got the job! My dad rarely, if ever, gives me a dime. But since they have a joint bank account, he’s being more generous than he thinks =)

KatawaGrey's avatar

My momma always gives me money without asking. Sometimes, I’ll have no cash on me and be going someplace where I can’t use a debit card and my mom will give me a little money and when I try to pay her back, she goes, “Oh don’t be silly, honey. You don’t owe me anything.” On a much lesser scale, I give her money too, but it’s for very small things like if she needs money for a tip in a restaurant or if she had less cash on her than she thought.

My grandmother has been giving each of her daughters a fair amount of money. Mostly this is because one aunt of mine, my mom’s oldest sister, needs the money but won’t take charity so my grandmother gives money to all of her kids to disguise the fact that she’s trying to help my aunt out. My mom actually asked her once to stop giving her money and my grandmother just told her to spend it on me. She took that very literally and the money paid for my tattoo. :P

When I have enough money to help my mom out when she needs it, I’ll be happy to give her money without expecting her to pay me back. She is my momma after all. :)

@nikipedia: I think that if parents are well-off and won’t help their responsible children out of a bind, there is a problem. Just because they stop raising you doesn’t mean they stop being your parents.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

If I have it to give, I have no problem with it.

mattbrowne's avatar

I have no problem at all with it.

SeventhSense's avatar

Papa may have. Mama may have but
God Bless the Child thats got his own.

Scooby's avatar

Should my son re-appear into my life, after his mother took him away….. Currently he would only be worth about £575.000 give or take, my insurance would be a substantial return………. :-/

Inspired_2write's avatar

Once in a while, but I do not encourage this.
It is much easy to give a non personal gift isn’t it?
it just imparts the knowledge that the person is not cared nor loved enough to spend the time to even think what they would like.

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