My wife and I are trying to help our son and daughter-in-law. They are both 29-years old, and they have been married for three years. They have good jobs, but the problem is they ask for money on a regular basis. Helping them out hasn’t been a strain, because we’re in good shape financially, but we have started encouraging them to live on a monthly budget. They always say they will try, but it never seems to happen. At this point, it feels like we may be enabling them instead of helping. How can we make sure we are doing the best thing?
The first thing you and your wife need to do is sit down and have a loving, but serious, talk with these kids. If they’ve asked for money before, and this is something that has turned into a habit, you have every right to know more about their spending and other circumstances.
Don’t be surprised if they act defensive, or maybe even get angry. People are often embarrassed to admit to, or talk about, their mistakes. They may even tell you these things are none of your business. If they do, that’s fine. But they should understand you two won’t be opening your checkbook again if they don’t open up about their financial behavior. This isn’t about mom and dad being controlling or snooping around, it’s about you and your wife making sure you’re not enabling what you consider to be bad behavior going forward.
It always hurts parents to see their kids go through things like this. But if they’re acting irresponsibly with money, they need to suffer the consequences of their actions. Who knows? That, along with your love and guidance, might help put them on the right track to win with money!
* Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of “The Ramsey Show,” heard by more than 20 million listeners each week. He has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” “Today,” Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.