Don’t Give Your Adult Children a Handout but a Hand Up
by Arthur Andrews
You have or are approaching your retirement after years of planning, savings and doing without for your children, and now they are still looking for a handout to make their car payment, rent or other need. What do you do, jeopardize your own retirement and give them a handout?
The correct answer is a hand up versus a handout. The aforementioned may, on the surface, seem cruel but it is the only way your children will ever become self-sufficient in the real world when you have gone to meet your maker.
The old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” is very true.
Here are two real world examples I heard from my friends:
Case #1: John and his Credit-Card-Addicted Son
John’s oldest son was having severe financial problems due to out of control spending habits and was approaching bankruptcy. John had just received a large year-end bonus and decided to help his son by paying off all of his son's credit cards, plus giving him $15,000 in cash for an emergency fund. You guessed it, John's son blew the $15,000, opened more credit cards and filed for bankruptcy two years later. Two years after his bankruptcy, dad gave him $2000 more and within months junior was on the verge of a second bankruptcy, and John’s son does not talk to John anymore.
John should have never bailed out his son, but should have helped him negotiate better terms with creditors, set up a strict budget, divorce himself from Pay Day Loans and work his way out of debt. If his son made no progress, John should have let him hit bottom to learn a valuable lesson, the hard way, if necessary.
Case #2: Mary and Her Spendthrift Daughter
Mary, a divorced neighborhood widow, has been sending her 29-year-old daughter rent money for over 8 years and is now on the verge of bankruptcy. On many occasions she has told her daughter this is the last time I can send you money, but she always gives in.
What Mary should have done is explain to her daughter that the checks stop now, show her how to relocate to a lower cost of living area with lower rents, and teach her how to budget to meet her expenses.
If her daughter does not comply, Mary should let her be evicted to learn a valuable lesson.
The above does seem harsh but in some cases you have no choice, and in the long run, it helps your children. Children have got to grow up and stop depending on mom and dad or they will fail in this game called life.
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