How does that grab you?
If you noticed this, maybe it’s because you are one of millions of older parents out there today, that are still supporting your adult child or children. Hey, they’ve been through college. They’ve gotten that position with a fairly good company. Maybe it’s not their final goal in that career they wanted, but it’s a start. And the expectations of the salary they thought would be guaranteed, well it’s not that great.
Now, almost right away, the new car came into the picture. The cell phone and cable TV… well, they are real needs, maybe more than food. The rent at their apartment keeps going up. Many other expenses keep popping up. The student loan still needs to be paid also. Lucky adult children usually get help with that, of course. Life is still somewhat fun and games, and the temptation of all the easy credit lines are just waiting for that next victim. It is your son or daughter.
But how could this happen to them. Thousands of dollars of credit card debt. You really thought you taught them better than that.
Soon, the new job is not so great. There are lay offs, downsizing or many other reasons companies let people go. Now, the kid (who is an adult) is in a financial jam. They need to move back to your house, because they can’t afford rent, electricity or even food anymore. This is a reality that is happening more with adult children between the ages of twenty-four to thirty.
What can you do to help? Set guidelines and some boundaries to really help. And NO… helping them with their payments with your savings or money you still earn will not help. If you put them on a plan to pay you back instead of the creditors they owe to, this can soon turn against you and them, because their credit score will look outstanding in the eyes of even more creditors. It would be perpetuating a big financial lie for them. Your credit score and their credit score are now two seperate entities as adults. The pain of added service fees, late fees, increased interest rates and possibly debt collection aggravations are all the consequences due to poor financial planning of their own doing.
The truth is young adults are extremely susceptible to falling into credit card debt, no matter how they were raised. It’s not your fault as a parent and you should not take responsibility…. now should you?
But, you can help them through… the right way and they will never get back into credit card debt again. They can gain the wisdom you know they need. There are healthy ways to help and it starts with you as the parent. Of course you care and would do anything to help them through their debt situation, but be very cautious. Help them with a real plan of paying it all off themselves. If they’ve moved back into your home, give them some leeway, but put together a plan for their contribution towards food, utilities and luxury services in your home. To live in your home again for a temporary time, they must keep a job or two… whatever it takes to be responsible for their debt payments and other cost of living expenses. It will be tough, but some well needed and valuable lessons will be learned by both of you, or the lessons you tried to instill in their earlier youth will be revitalized in reality for them. Realize for your own health and well being that you are not being harsh or mean, but you are helping to make your son or daughter into a more responsible adult by letting them face their own debt mistake. A true happy and responsible adult is one who can earn their own way through life and gain more wisdom. A true adult takes responsibility for themselves no matter what. All healthy and successful parents want to see their adult children thrive, be self confident and self reliant.