Should parents risk their own financial stability to rescue their adult children from financial problems? This is probably one of the most difficult questions many parents will have to face at some point. Adult children are more likely to make bad financial choices because they are the ones who will most likely find themselves in situations that will call for major financial decisions such as marriage, career, or business.
We are not talking about small amounts that would be part of normal and usual assistance extended to members of the family. We are taking about amounts that could adversely affect the financial condition of parents. Lending or giving money to an adult child in need is certainly a big decision especially if the parents are no longer gainfully employed.
Parents may have retirement funds set aside for their personal needs which is hoped to last in their lifetime. It is also possible that parents have specific plans wherein to use the money and having them stacked somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean it is free for use of others. It is not unnatural for parents to care for their children even if they are already grown-up. More often than not though, parental care for adult children usually involve financial assistance except for those who are physically incapacitated in any way.
Many parents do not immediately realize the implication of rescuing their children in financial trouble. The first instinct of course is to extend assistance in all ways possible. Once parents involve themselves in the financial woes of their grown-up children, big problems are not far behind.
This is especially so if the anticipated recovery is long-term. There is actually no problem when the repayment is immediate. The trouble is that this is not usually the case , precisely why it is called a financial problem.
Should Parents Take the Risk?
At first glance, it may sound quite selfish if we say that parents should not. There is nothing wrong in helping adult children in dire need as long as the assistance extended will not put the parents’ finances in serious jeopardy. However, if the failure to pay back in time will result to the loss of financial independence of parents which will put them in the same situation as the child, then that is clearly courting danger.
Parents will not be able to help their children if they let themselves be dragged into their own financial mess. The beleaguered adult child has the advantage of being able to work but do the parents have the same benefit? Usually none, because of their age. If a parent ends up depending on an adult child who is likewise dependent in return, family relationships will soon be compromised and possibly destroyed.
Originally posted on December 12, 2013 @ 9:56 am