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Adult daughter in debt - advice please.

(33 Posts)
xpc316e Wed 14-Feb-18 16:05:31

I have a soon to be 25 year old step-daughter who is constantly broke and asking for handouts.

She has a graduate-entry job in recruitment in London where she lives in a shared house. Her monthly outgoings are not high, although we haven't actually sat down and talked through her budget, and she is not a frivolous spender. She has the usual student debt after her degree.

She has lived away from home for just over a year and we don't see her very much, although we skype and message often. She has had quite a few loans (amounting to just under a grand) from me over the past year and for last Xmas I wrote them off as a gift. Her wages seem to last for a shorter period each month - this month she'd run out of money on the 8th. Yet again, I stepped up to the plate and bailed her out.

She has a boyfriend who has just moved to Manchester, so she is in a long-distance relationship. We've met the boyfriend just once and he seems like a really nice chap.

My chief concern is whether her money is being spent on drugs of some kind. I have chatted to my pal and my idea is to try to get her to come home for a weekend, and arrange a time to discuss her budget/finances with a promise that her Mum and I will not explode over anything we are told. That sounds like a sensible thing to do, but do you wise women have any other suggestions about angles and approaches that we could adopt?

Her Mum seems less worried than I am, but that may be because I am the source of most of the bailouts and perhaps unwisely have pledged to my daughter that her situation is private. I have another another step-daughter, aged 23, still living at home, who is very quick to bring up any imbalance between the way she and her older sister are treated. If she knew, it would a case of 'Why aren't you giving me money too?'

Don't get me wrong: I am happy to support her, because that is what parents are supposed to do, but I am not overflowing with cash myself and will retire in April. Money for me will then be somewhat tighter, and I may not be able to fund her.

Any help and advice would be gratefully received.

yetanotherusernameAgain Wed 14-Feb-18 16:17:41

She's an adult, independent and employed. You don't need to keep giving her money. Just tell her you won't be "lending" her any more money - if you feel you need to give an excuse, say it's because you're retiring soon. You could offer to discuss her finances with her if that would be helpful to her, but it's not the norm for a parent to be going through their adult child's finances unless the child asks them to.

Silvertap Wed 14-Feb-18 16:21:14

At her age what I deemed an essential purchase greatly differs to what I do now!

Two things changed my mindset. Have a look at money saving and you need a budget. The most helpful thing my parents could have done would have been to pay a subscription on the latter!

Fairylea Wed 14-Feb-18 16:21:36

I’m confused as to why you’ve jumped to assuming she must be taking drugs. Unless you have other concerns? Tons of young people overspend - it doesn’t have to be drugs. Going out, travel, car costs when you haven’t saved, clothes, even prescription costs etc etc can all mount up. I would assume it was anything awful.

You don’t have to keep bailing her out however, just say no. She will never learn otherwise.

Fairylea Wed 14-Feb-18 16:22:09


Bananarama12 Wed 14-Feb-18 16:26:44

What? I'm 25 and have rented with my partner since I was 21 and never asked for money from my parents. I started off on a minimum wage job and lived within my means. You are too nice! smile

xpc316e Wed 14-Feb-18 16:29:41

Thanks so far for your help. I am not assuming that she is taking drugs, but I cannot see otherwise where her money is going. She was really good with money previously, managing to save quite well, so to find that she has run out of cash just over a week into the month is a bit of a shock.

Ilovecamping Wed 14-Feb-18 16:37:42

She is old enough to manage her own money and you bailing her out is not helping.
Step daughter had no idea about budgeting, as other family members kept giving her money to pay her debts, except she wasn't. Her dad stood as guarantor for her on a car and now has ended up with a debt in his retirement.

helpmum2003 Wed 14-Feb-18 16:38:36

I wouldn't assume drugs but can see why you are worried.
You need to not lend/give anymore and also do not agree to keep it secret. It is complicit with her poor budgeting.

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 14-Feb-18 16:44:02

Stop bailing her out. She’s a wage earning adult and she’s never going to learn fiscal responsibility when you keep sending her cash because she’s “run out”. A large part of parenting is teaching children to stand on their own two feet. She’s 25 FGS, not 15. And at 15 I had a weekend job and was enjoying earning my own money. My mum was bringing 4 of us up on her own and she couldn’t afford to keep propping us up forever.

I’m sure you think you’re being nice but you’re not doing her any favours and of course her sister is resentful! Do you plan to support your younger DSD till she’s 25 and after? When you’re retired and have less coming in? Is that good parenting?

GeorgeTheHippo Wed 14-Feb-18 16:46:33

I think your plan is a good one and you have thought of everything. Is she well dressed, glamorously made up, does she have coloured hair? All of these can add up, it needn't be drugs. Good luck.

Lemongingertea80 Wed 14-Feb-18 16:48:07

Once you start funding someone's debt it will continue until you stop funding it. That it because the hard lessons around managing money can't be learned if someone is continually bailing you out and financing your rash decisions.

I have adult relatives who are still being bailed out by their parents age 30 plus.

Floralnomad Wed 14-Feb-18 16:49:38

I think you need to simply sit her down and explain that after you retire there will be no further handouts , and ask her if she needs help to look at her budget and how best to manage it .

xpc316e Wed 14-Feb-18 17:25:20

Thanks for your opinions. I can see exactly how my financial assistance leads to more problems, but it is hard when she is skint. On balance though, I think the bet way forward is for my help to be in the form of sitting down with her and working out a sustainable budget.

AdaColeman Wed 14-Feb-18 17:34:55

Stop bailing her out.

Don't write off any more money that she owes you.

Offer help such as MSE website, Stepchange to clear her debts, advice on budgets and keeping to them.

DancesWithOtters Wed 14-Feb-18 17:36:41

Stop bailing her out. Of course she will overspend if you then top her up.

Tell her if she's starving you're happy to get a Tesco delivery sent to her with tins of beans, bread and pasta. But no more cash.

Redglitter Wed 14-Feb-18 17:41:27

You're not helping her. There's no incentive whatsoever forger to manage her money when she knows she only has to ask and you'll bail her out.

Time to start saying no. If she runs out of money that her problem not yours

riledandharrassed Wed 14-Feb-18 17:41:49

I’m her age . Have worked in recruitment . It’s party lifestyle quite often !

Tell her to get money dashboard - set it up and look at where money is going. Brunch, Uber and eating out a lot really add up down here and don’t I know it .

Is she getting monthly commission or quarterly? Is she “billing” at work as we say. She should be able to live of her basic salary.

riledandharrassed Wed 14-Feb-18 17:42:05

Ps I think your suggestion is good

PrincessHairyMclary Wed 14-Feb-18 17:49:26

If she's broke maybe organise a supermarket delivery with basics so you know she's eaten but don't give any more cash.

fearfultrill Wed 14-Feb-18 18:32:47

How much is she paying in rent? When I lived in London as a young graduate living with friends 73% of my monthly income went on rent. Then about £160 on commute. I went into my savings every single month.

Could it be the general cost of living in London?

K1092902 Wed 14-Feb-18 18:41:32

There is a very simple solution OP. Stop bailing her out- the more you do the more she will ask. As far as is concerned she has a free meal ticket because she knows you will put your hand in your pocket.

You don't know what she is spending it on. It could be drugs. She could be going out and buying designer jeans every month because she knows she can get away with it. The best thing you can do is sit her down like you have already thought and get her to write everything down and then work out where she can make cut backs from there.

London is expensive- you say she is flatsharing but are we talking with 6 others in Tottenham or a 2 bed luxury penthouse in Hampstead? There's a big difference.

Can also see where your other step daughter I coming from to be honest.

If she is genuinely in the shit then by all means help her out- but I wouldn't do it without some sort of proof (i.e. council sending threatening letters due to unpaid council tax for example)

Iflyaway Wed 14-Feb-18 19:09:37

I'm sorry but you are far too involved in her life.

Let her get on with it and stop bailing her out. You are not doing her any favours. Really.

Better to concentrate on your future retirement and the brilliant days ahead of you that you can plan however you want.

CheesecakeAddict Wed 14-Feb-18 19:23:59

Some graduate entry jobs are terribly paid, I saw some about 4 years back that were 17k p.a. that would just about cover rent and bills with not a lot left over for transport or food.

I really think your idea of sitting down with her is a good one and if you feel she's splurging on unnecessary stuff, then could you give her the money in form of supermarket voucher, or do her online shop for her, pay her bills over the phone etc

CheesecakeAddict Wed 14-Feb-18 19:25:41

And just to be clear, I don't mean just continue supporting her for ever and ever, I mean if you have to help

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