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How to Help if Your Parents are in Debt

Our parents have done so much for us – encouraging and supporting us all while providing a roof over our heads. It’s only natural, now we’re adults and in a position to help them, that we want to do everything we can to treat them the same way they’ve treated us.

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When it comes to our family’s finances, we might be able to do a grand gesture. For example, one American baseball player used the money from his job to repay his parent’s debts as a Christmas gift.

However, unless if you’re in a very high-paying job, (and let’s face it, not all of us can be sports superstars) this option will probably not be possible. Still, this hasn’t stopped us from finding ways to financially-support our folks.

Around 20% of Millennials financially help their parents

One study, commissioned by an investment firm, discovered that just over one-fifth of millennials are helping their parents financially.

A spokesperson for the company commented on this, stating:

“It’s not just the case that Millennials are sitting home after college and parents are ready to get rid of them.”

Indeed, it appears the traditional stereotype of young adults living with their parents, not doing anything, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, it demonstrates how much we want to support our families.

How can I help my parents?

It’s important to note that – unless if the debt is in your name – it is not your responsibility. Regardless, if you want to support your parents, the first place to start is with yourself. After all, remember the first rule of caring:

Initially, care for yourself

This means your financial situation must be in a stable condition before helping others. If it isn’t, you could push yourself into a poor financial position while trying to help others.

Three steps to helping your parents

1. Offer support – don’t take over

Debt is an extremely personal matter and your parents probably won’t want to discuss their financial status with you. Therefore, approach the subject in a sensitive manner and reiterate to your family that – regardless of how much they owe – your respect and love remains.

2. Do you owe your parents money?

It’s worth considering whether you still owe your parents money. If you’re in a position to repay what you owe, for example through unpaid rent, then it’s best to settle accounts with them.

3. Educate

The world of finance is a complicated one – we know this better than anyone – so instead of taking over and resolving your parent’s finances, it should be more beneficial to educate them about the options available. Here are just a few things you can do:

  • Work with your parents on setting up a budget;
  • Make sure your family is getting all the benefits they are entitled to;
  • Identify the cause of the debts and possible solutions – for example, debt consolidation. Alternatively, maybe downsizing or changing shopping habits could put your parents on much better financial footing;
  • Recommend seeking debt advice from a qualified professional.
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Let us help

No-one likes to think of their parents as being ‘in debt’ but – if you want to help them out – we’ll support where needed. Whether you want to keep this matter in the family or desire expert assistance, we understand both points of view.

Just know that regardless of how much your parents owe, we won’t judge and promise to be sympathetic as well as supportive.

Get in touch at a time when is good for you, and let’s have a chat.

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