Financial Support: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

29 Mar

{This post is the first in recurring series of thoughts about financial support between families.}

The other night Ra and I had an occasion to have dinner with a young couple we have known for a number of years. We are close to their mom and dad who are now in the later stages of their lives and are unfortunately experiencing substantial financial difficulties. It was only a few years prior that these two kids were experiencing their own money challenges but are now gainfully employed and living independently.The parents were both employed at that time and helped them with financial support, as is relatively common in many families.

As a possible Plan B, the parents have opened up the idea of moving in with their kids. The young couple asked me what I thought and my first reaction was that it was a pretty bad idea. Then I reconsidered and thought that maybe it was indeed a fair request.. But then I thought about it a third time, and after too long of a pause, answered them with a soft but definitive “No.” It helps to know that in the last couple years of the financial struggle, the parents chose not to plan or make any attempt to save money and continued to keep their living expenses rather high- partially in an attempt to maintain a struggling home-based business and in part to hold onto a lifestyle and living situation to which they had become accustomed. Although it certainly wasn’t an extravagant lifestyle, it was beyond their means… including giving money to their children. This is indeed a very complicated and involved issue that is unfortunately more common in families everywhere.

What is your take on the situation? How would you advise the children to deal with it? Or how would you behave as the parent in this scenario?


One Response to “Financial Support: Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

  1. Jane April 3, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    To the children: NO! When my mom was down/out many years ago, I asked her to move in with me, my husband, and our two very young children. Mistake, mistake, mistake. Lasted nine months. Several years later, I was able to help her find and move into a senior apartment complex with rent based on a fixed income.

    To the parents: Stop giving your kids money! Remember even a loan is a “gift.” Without knowing how much money we’re talking here, if it’s a sizable amount, and if the children were adults when you gave it to them, try to get at least some of that money back.

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