This is a sad situation. I believe that part of what contributes to this
problem is that those over 50 with adult children have discovered that these
children are part of the "entitlement" generation. Many of these
children expect their parents to give them anything and everything they want,
and they haven't learned to distinguish between wants and needs.
Additionally, I know of a few couples in their late 60s and 70s who haven't
been able to retire yet because they felt that they "owed" it to their
children to pay for their education---both undergraduate and graduate tuition.
One couple is now in debt $70,000 because they helped pay for their son's
law school. The son now makes a lucative six-digit income and "can't
afford" to pay his parents back for any of that tuition they paid on his
behalf. Obviously, not only did the parents err in helping their son out, but
the son is also irresponsible and entitled.
Although this story centers on the problems of parents who do more for their
children than they can afford, it triggered a note of gratitude in me because of
my very different experience.I was raised by parents who did all
they could for their six children but who had so little, what they could
"afford" was miniscule. So, we children never even gave a second
thought to the idea of them providing **anything** to us when we were grown.
Rather, our mindset was to try and raise enough ourselves that we would be in a
position to provide for them. Unfortunately, they both died before the question
of how we were to provide for them became much of an issue.I realize
our economy has changed a great deal in the 45-50 years since my
"youth". But, remarkably, with all its challenges, most of which are
self-inflicted and societal rather than economic, I still see an abundance of
opportunity. As hard or easy as it might be, we must do a better job of
instilling the idea of independence and self-sufficiency in our children, or
doom them to some form of servitude and/or disability.
"Entitlement" has become a euphemism for the "I want it now,
it's my right!" syndrome. We act like we were sent here to mortality to
live a happy life of ease, not learn from life's hard lessons. But the
profile is not new--every generation has had its share of loafers and coasters,
and parents that encourage it: "I want my kids to have what I
didn't" becomes "give 'em anything they want!"
Stop rescuing your children. They will never learn about self reliance and being
accountable for their choices. In other words, they will never grow up. We have
way too many people like that in this country already.
I can relate totally. I've tried to bail out my kids I've learn the
lessen about assuming, and what the word makes me and them.
I just realized I don't want my parents to read this story. ;-)
These younger people mostly in their thirties, forties, and fifties, are usually
college graduates who should know better but who have adopted non-traditional
lifestyles and spending habits, and do not understand that merely having credit
is not enough, there needs to be a willingness and ability to repay loans and
borrowings. Easy come, easy go, and a dependence on the old folks to feel sorry
for the kiddies and continue to sacrifice themselves for their indulgent
children is a recipe for disaster, eventually for both.
Great article, Mike! (This is Stephan).I think you would agree that,
while Kay and Connie have made significant sacrifices for their adult children
(as many parents do), they have also probably done a better-than-average job of
trying to find a balance between being perfectly frugal/fiscally responsible and
perfectly compassionate/accommodating.On a number of occasions I
have been the beneficiary of my parents' generosity in times of need --
something for which I will never be able to adequately repay them, though I have
tried. I hope to "pay it forward", as I am able. In contrast, my
sister, who is not remotely self-sufficient and probably never will be, exploits
my parents' unwillingness to see her and her young daughter go without the
necessities of life. There is a "day of reckoning" coming for her, when
our parents will no longer be there to enable her bad financial choices. The
sad thing is, her daughter will end up being the victim, because I won't
continue enabling my sister's behavior.
I had a neighbor tell me once, that as a Christmas gift, her and her husband
were going to pay off their daughter and son-in-law's Nordstrom credit
card, which had accrued thousands of dollars in charges.I suggested
that perhaps a better Christmas gift might be a pair of sharp scissors that her
daughter and son-in-law could use to cut their credit card into pieces.I don't think she liked my suggestion.
I hate to have to admit this, but I agree with Mountanman and several of the
other conservative's comments on this.Eagles push their chicks
from the nest for a reaon.
Two words: entitlement and enablers.
I wonder if people will see themselves in this article either in the older set
or younger set?
Enabling stay-at-home adult children or dependent-on-parent adult children is
often a result of parents who need to retain control in their children's
lives for one reason or another. It may be because of guilt for not feeling like
they were a good parent when the kids were younger or because if they pulled
back and let their kids be independent adults the parent's life would be
reduced to a marriage that may not be happy. As long as there is a dependent
kid (no matter how old) the marriage takes second place.Often it is
easier to wring hands over a dependent adult child and continue to prop them up
than face the reality of a miserable marriage or to let the past go. I've
seen both reasons play out in my own extended family and everyone looses.
I agree with everything the articles states, but I really wish my parents
would've managed their own money better and had the OPTION of helping their
children if needed. They are both at retirmenet age now and mostly destitute
and will probably end up living with one of us kids which will add a financial
strain to a younger family. My primary goal in retirement is to have enough for
and my wife and I to live comfortably and have the OPTION of helping our
children in times of crisis or emergency. I would never give regular hand-outs
to my grown children, but the ability to financially help a child without
compromising our own financial position is something I would strive for.
@RanchHand. I am honored that we agree!
I agree with pretty much everything posted here. I'm working hard to get my
kids to own their lives and their decisions, and to learn from them. I'm
not being selfish by not taking them on my vacations. I'm living my life.
They can own, and live, theirs. That's where dignity lies.
I recently graduated from law school. I am paying for it myself, and will be
for quite a while. My parents support me in my decisions, and help here and
there, with things like carrying boxes and helping drive a moving truck when I
moved for school. I am proud that I am paying for my own education. But, that
said, the problem isn't solely with the sense of entitlement. Tuition
rates are out of control. In the last ten years, tuition at my law school has
almost doubled. And in the last twenty years, it has gone up exponentially
(about 15x the cost now than it was 20 years ago). So, before casting all the
blame on the generations who seem to think they are entitled, perhaps some of
the blame ought to be on the outrageous costs of higher education. I chose my
career path, and went in with my eyes open, but the student loan debt load is a
KG,You are right that college costs are going up faster than wages.
And there are fewer jobs available at typically lower real salaries when you get
out.These are a couple of asons why it is particularly shameful tat
the retirement generation and their lobbiest are fighting against decreases in
the social security payment benefit growth rate, or any reductions in Medicare
spending. The Boomers will bankrupt this country and many future generates if
entitlements are not reigned in.
Maybe the reason students expect help with college is because the Federal
Government expects parents to help with college. When filling out the FASFA (the
form the federal government requires for consideration for college assistance
and most colleges require for their scholarships), you must include your parents
income information until you are 24 yrs. old. Even if you don't live with
your parents or receive any help from them between the ages of 18-23, you must
include their income information. The government & college decide your
"need" based on that information. If your parents are making great
incomes, the students receive little or no aid to pay for college. It
doesn't matter if they divorced and kicked you to the curb right after high
My husband is 78 and I am 66 yrs old. My middle son lived with us for a time but
paid $700.00 a month for rent. Now my youngest son has been out of work for 10
months and he and his son, 16 yrs old, have been living with us. He moved back
to Utah from California about 3 yrs ago and has lived with us all that time. We
have incurred about $18,000 in credit card debt during that time. We were debt
free before he moved here. We love him to debt I guess. He does much around the
house while looking for work such as redoing my kitchen and landscaping my yard
and some of that debt is from those things. He does the yard and the snow
removal and fixes a lot of things that are needed that my husband cannot do.
However, if he doesn't find work soon we don'g know what we are going
to do. This economy adds to the problems we older Americans have because there
is so little work available for him.I hope something breaks soon for the both of
Jeanie - That is spot on about some parents wanting to keep an adult child
dependent so they don't have to face a bad marriage. I have that within my
family. I have an adult sibling who lives with my parents and they enable him to
the point that it's crippling. They do everything for him and expect
nothing in return (he has a rather large sense of entitlement as well).My
parents have a bad marriage and I guess this is a great way for them to keep
that problem on the back burner.Elizabeth G - Years ago I had a
friend who didn't qualify for financial aid because her step-father made to
much money. Meanwhile, he wouldn't help her with college since she
wasn't his biological daughter.
I think another facet of the problem is that college degrees once ensured
employment, but no more. Some degrees are useless, but still cost an exorbitant
amount to obtain. Too many students go to college and take classes, but
don't plan a career.
Yup! and if the Republicrats get their way and continue to erode the value of
Social Security payments, what will that type of youngster do? Their long
suffering parents will have less to give financially and less credit to borrow
their "gifts". The entitled offspring might have to leave their
parents' home, face their own credit standing, buy their own health care.
How will they manage?I was raised with the idea that, just as our
parents sacrificed for us when we were young and vulnerable, we would reasonably
and gratefully provide for them when they were old and worn out.
Children need to experience poverty. They need to care for their own debts.
It's a phase they need to go through as important as puberty. Too often
they spring from the nest, attempting to get into a mortgage even before
finishing college or just out of it. But that isn't always the best
solution. Children need to work their way up to the dream home... not start life
This is a good article on a serious problem. The comments are also very good.
It appeared to me they read the article first before commenting. My rule of
thumb is if I am hurting more than the one I am helping, something is wrong. Or
to put it another way, if they can afford things I can't afford, then why
am I helping them. The tuition for the school of hard knocks is pretty high and
I have paid it too often. But it seems to be the only way I learn sometimes.
By degrees I learned to profit from the experiences of others. I couldn't
afford to or live long enough to make all the mistakes myself. Children need
the opportunity to find this out too. Tough love is often harder on the parents
than on the children. We helped our children at times when they were doing all
they could and we could afford it. We have been totally debt free for over 15
years now. We could have done that decades earlier if I had been willing to
listen to my wife more.
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