The best way to ask parents for money

The best way to ask parents for money

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A child approaching a parent for money begins a conversation that, in all probability, neither party wants to have.

However, surveys and studies tell us that many, if not most, adult children receive financial assistance from their parents. A new Pew report found that three-fifths of parents offered their adult children financial help in the past year.

Asking your parents for money can be a defining moment in the parent-child relationship, for better or for worse.

In the best case, it’s a chance for your parents to do what parents do best, show you their love, make your life better. In the worst case, the conversation can degenerate into shouting and pointing, sewing up cracks that cannot be healed.

Here, from the experts, are some questions to ask before the conversation happens: Four for the child, and two for the parents.

How will my parents feel about being hit?

Money is a taboo subject in many American families. If you grew up with someone who had open and honest talks about finances, then reaching out to them now for help will be easy.

Otherwise, experts say, approach the conversation with caution and tact.

“Carrying money can be scary,” says Spenser Liszt, a certified financial planner in Dallas. “If this is the first time you’re talking about money with your parents, and you’re asking for it, it might be a little.”

Can my parents afford to give me the money?

Older children may have a hard time imagining their parents having their own money problems. But if you approach them for money, now is a good time to reflect.

“Are they having a hard time?” said Laura Mattia, a certified financial planner in Sarasota, Florida. “Are they worried about health issues? Do they feel overly generous and like they’re in a good place? Because, if not, you’re likely to create an emotional burden on them just by asking. Because because they want to say ‘yes.’ “

Your parents have their own retirement plan in mind, or at least they should. A large financial gift to a child could mean postponing their retirement or retirement without enough funds to cover their care. And they may not want to burden their child with that knowledge.

“We see some parents who cannot say ‘no’, leaving themselves compromised,” said Mattia.

Do I have a plan for funding?

Adult children who ask parents for money should plan for the meeting as if they were going to the bank for a loan, financial planners say.

Don’t just say you need the money. Spell out exactly what it is for. Show that you have a good reason for how to spend it. Demonstrate how it can help your life. Explain why you have no alternative to approach them. Make sure you really need it.

“Sometimes, these kids, it’s not like they’re in need. They are doctors and dentists,” said Mattia. “They don’t always need money. It’s, ‘We’re thinking of buying a second house, and Mom’s sitting there with the money.’

Optics are important. Don’t ask your parents to help pay your rent, then leave the next day for Walt Disney World.

“If you can’t afford to pay off your student loan, but your DoorDash bill is 600 bucks a month, there’s a conversation that needs to be had there,” said Christopher Lyman, a certified financial planner in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Does the aid cause bad blood in the family?

If you ask your parents for $5,000, and you have three siblings, imagine that all three of them might turn around and ask your parents for a matching amount.

Parenting is about fairness, financial experts say. Parents who give money to a child will have a hard time explaining why they don’t give money to siblings.

Lyman, the financial planner, has a client with two daughters. The mother paid off one daughter’s student loans, which totaled $200,000. Another daughter paid off her own student loans. Years later, the daughter who paid off her own debt remains bitter that her sister was helped.

“The other daughter always brings it up: ‘Hey, I have kids. I could use a little breathing room.’” Lyman said.

And now, some questions for parents.

Can I afford to help my adult child?

As parents, “you are ready to do anything for your children,” said Liszt.

But, before parents agree to offer financial help to a child, they need to measure their own finances, say counselors.

“Can you handle it?” said Kara Brockmeier, a certified financial planner in St. “Is it a loan or a gift? Will they keep asking for more? Will they pay the debt? If they can’t pay the loan, is that OK with you?

If parents are unsure about their own financial standing, they should consider consulting a financial advisor, Mattia said. Otherwise, they may risk extending their own retirement, potentially leaving them dependent on their children.

“No parent wants to put themselves in a situation where now they have to rely on their children in later years,” he said.

Boom times? The economy added 353K jobs in January, unemployment held at 3.7%.

Will the aid set a bad example?

Parents helping an adult child should consider how the help will affect their financial relationship in the long run.

“Does this set a precedent for them asking for more money in the future?” Lyman said.

If parents agree to give an adult child money once, their approval sets the stage for the child to ask a second time. And third.

“Make sure you don’t become a piggy bank,” Lyman said. “You are not the emergency fund. They need their own emergency fund. “

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