It’s time to cut the cord.

by Kristina on April 3, 2014 · 6 comments

Snake

Good morning Dinks.  Do you remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my Dad’s girlfriend being in debt at 65?  In case you missed that post let me break it down for you very quickly.  My Dad used to spend his winters in Florida.  Last year he wasn’t able to go because his wife couldn’t afford it.

Actually to say she couldn’t afford it is a very polite.  It turns out my Dad’s girlfriend has been living on credit cards ever since she retired over 5 years ago.  She finally decided enough is enough and sought out financial advice to fix her situation.  I asked my Dad how she could be in debt because she has been living on a fixed income for several years.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you live on a fixed income you also need to have fixed expenses.  It’s really a no brainer.

I personally don’t think that retirees should have credit cards at all.  Maybe this is because I was financially irresponsible in the past, but if you can’t afford to make debt payments each month due to your limited income then you shouldn’t have credit products.  Again, maybe that’s just me.

Should adults ask their parents for money?

It turns out my Dad’s girlfriend has been helping her two children pay off their debt and pay their monthly expenses for years.  This absolutely blows my mind because her two daughters are older than me and I’m 33 years old.  I come from a family where you do what it takes to live.  If you don’t have enough money to live you get a second job.  If you don’t have money to buy food you cut your monthly expenses.  I completely don’t understand adults who rely on their parents financially.

My Dad’s girlfriend’s kids use their mother as their emergency savings fund.  They are in their late 30s and early 40s and have absolutely no savings.  One of them works part time and the other one doesn’t work at all.  I hate people who take advantage of other people.  I also hate people who don’t take responsibility for their own lives.  If you knew your parents would always bail you out would you flake out on your backup plans?

It’s up to a parent to say no

When my Dad’s girlfriend retired she vowed to cut off her children financially.  She would stop making their credit card payments, she would stop paying their rent and she would stop giving them money for groceries.

If someone is going through financial difficulties it’s OK to ask your family and friends for help.  But I don’t think it’s OK for adults in their 30s and 40s to live off their parents and think it’s normal.

One could argue that these two women are financially dependent on their mother because she enables them.  If my Dad’s girlfriend always bails out her kids when they need money with no questions asked then she is only sending the message that their behaviour is OK.

As a parent there is a fine line between wanting to help your kids and teaching them how to be an adult.  This is why more parents need to teach their kids about money management from a very young age.

Photo by tahnyakristina



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marie @724 Credit April 3, 2014 at 6:37 am

My in-laws already sent my hub’s brother to college, they paid his tuition, but I really don’t get it why they are still sending him a monthly allowance. He already has a job after he graduated BUT STILL his parents paid his condo and his monthly allowance.

2 Kathy April 3, 2014 at 8:52 am

I suspect many parents deliberately pay their adult children’s bills because it then allows them to exert a large amount of control over their kids and keeps the kids beholden to their parents. Don’t underestimate the psychology involved here. My sister in law and her husband paid for much of their two grown children’s expenses even though one of them was married. They dictated where they lived and both kids and their families then had to accompany their parents to all kinds of social functions where the parents then regaled everyone with stories of how much they spent on their kids. The parents were control freaks and the kids weren’t strong enough to break away. Plus getting things without having to pay for it themselves was pretty cool at the time. It isn’t just about the money. There’s a whole lifetime of baggage at play here.

3 Miel April 4, 2014 at 9:21 am

Couldn’t agree more with you. I find it absurd to consider giving this kind of support to grown adults. I worked two jobs throughout college, to pay for tuition and everything else. I had three roommates my freshman year who were all receiving monthly allowances. I remember one of my roommates lamenting that I had more money that she did. Seriously? I worked for that money, and will put it straight back into school. Interestingly she came from a wealthy family, and me a poor one, and now things have reversed as adults. I think the blame goes both ways, but more towards the parents to enable the situation and let it persist.

4 kg April 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm

We are in the 3rd quarter of our life. Our parents are available emotionally. However, I would never want to ask them for money because they don’t have a lot of money even though they were frugal and worked extremely hard all their life. My husband and I were both taught by our parents to be frugal and have been slow to adopt new technology. We’re not high earners so have to choose between buying technology or investing for retirement. We have a spending plan, some people call it a budget, and follow it. We give each other an allowance for “fun” money so it doesn’t feel like we’re working for nothing. We have automatic savings set up. I don’t care for debit cards. I think they are a way for banks to blindside people with fees. I play the banks’ stupid games when they insist I need a debit card to avoid monthly fees. I don’t think credit cards are evil, however you do need to save your receipts. We have a clipboard where we post our wages and subtract our expenses. We pay off the entire balance of our credit cards each month because we’ve already subtracted the item we bought on the credit card from our clipboard. We occasionally harvest gift cards from our credit cards which in winter helps with the increased heating expense. This year was very tough due to the cold weather.

5 Kristina April 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

@ Marie – Oh WOW! I wonder why that is? Does it create tension among your husband and his brother?

@Kathy – Oh I never thought about that. What an excellent point. I guess money does equal power.

@Miel- One of my pet peeves in life is people who expect things to be handed to them. I really get upset with people who don’t pay their own way. It’s immature.

@kg – Sometimes emotional support is more important than financial. Also sometimes talking about money problems can help us work through them. Winter increases heating costs but it lowers personal spending because people tend to stay in doors more.

6 Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans April 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm

When I was a kid, I wanted my parents to take care of everything. As I grew up, I never wanted my parents to take care of my problems, especially my debt. ESPECIALLY if my parents had debt of their own, I could never ask them to help me with my debt! But, that’s just me.

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