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Help: Middle aged son lost his job, how much should I help?

(27 Posts)
Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 11:17:21

Our son (in his 40’s, married with school age children) has lost his well-paid job. He’s has taken it very badly and it will take some time to get a new job at his level, but they have a huge mortgage, etc. We’re retired and are happy to offer some help, but it could never be enough to cover his mortgage, etc. How far should we go in helping him and his family, at what point should we stop? If you were in his position how much help would you expect from your parents?

Dumbledoresgirl Mon 19-Nov-18 11:26:05

I am in his position, or rather my husband is and he is the one who has lost his management job. He has been unemployed for 6 months now and I have only recently started a very low paid job. We have 4 children to support. We don't expect any help from parents. We had a fund set aside for just this sort of thing, and we are living off that, and now my wages. This, despite the fact my parents have offered us financial help. We just feel we should manage by ourselves as much as we can.

That said, I am grateful to know my parents would never let us suffer and I think it is great that you want to help your son. As for how much you should offer, the golden rule is never to offer more than you can afford.

LovesLaboursLost Mon 19-Nov-18 11:31:31

I think just letting him know that you would help with what you could afford, but couldn’t cover their mortgage, is enough. He probably had redundancy money and possibly insurance to cover the mortgage or the ability to take mortgage repayment breaks. If you can’t afford to help enough to cover the mortgage then the impact of any help would be minimal anyway. Practical help like babysitting or helping them prepare the house for sale might be more useful.

HollyBollyBooBoo Mon 19-Nov-18 13:05:38

Depends on the rest of his finances surely?

Lost his job in terms of redundancy and has a large payout? Lost his job as in sacked and has nothing?

Lots of savings to live off or nothing in savings?

I wouldn't expect anything from my DM. She would offer but could afford a fraction of what my monthly expenditure is.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 19-Nov-18 13:12:24

Alternatively if you live nearby and are able - offer to cover school pick ups for a while. If his wife is currently SAHP she could get a job while he searches and when they both have jobs then they won't need to scramble around for child care immediately. Or they could drop after school club if they are in that and your son collect them until he gets another job then you take over.

I don't think that you should be obliged to do anything but if you were able to offer practical or financial support they might appreciate it.

babysharkah Mon 19-Nov-18 13:13:38

i think the reason he lost it is key to my response.

Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 14:31:11

Thanks for your responses. We live several hours drive away so practical hands on help is difficult. Daughter in Law is a full time Mum so no problems over school run, etc. Redundancy is the cause of job loss (company reorganisation) but as time in job was short only 3 months pay off (after having had to move house to get the job) - so their money (after three months) is now very tight. No mortgage protection plan. So they're heading for an imminent financial disaster. How far should we go to bail them out?

tissuesosoft Mon 19-Nov-18 15:41:23

Is he not able to get any sort of job to bring in income (supermarket, temping etc) whilst he is looking for work? Can his wife not work? (Again part time etc)

chocatoo Mon 19-Nov-18 15:51:49

What about offering to cover some costs related to the grandchildren, e.g. bus fares, clubs, etc. plus maybe £30-50 a week to put towards groceries for the first 6 months? Only if you can afford to of course!!! In truth, your Son and DIL will have to use whatever savings they have and liquidate assets in the longer term but it is silly to sell the house for at least 6 months. I don't think you should just offer to pay for loads of stuff as 1. you can't afford to and 2. they probably want you to (self respect, etc.)....we were in a similar position a few years ago and a bit of regular financial help from parents would have made a world of difference.

Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 15:52:07

tissuesosoft: - We're encouraging both of them to do just that, but not been very successful so far. We have so far resisted telling them what we think they should do and only offered advice/views when asked.

chocatoo Mon 19-Nov-18 15:52:51

don't want you to...

Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 15:57:21

chocatoo we're thinking of giving around £200 pw plus some more as a Xmas present. We could help them more if we liquidated some of our assets but that would have a longer term impact on our income and our lifestyle.

chocatoo Mon 19-Nov-18 16:06:32

I think you are being overly generous at £200/wk and I certainly don't think you should be liquidating your assets at this stage. I would suggest £100/wk max. I would give as a gift card as any money transferred into their account will affect what benefits they might receive.

A large cheque for Christmas is a good idea but don't go mad.

I would also say that after the first £1000, the weekly amounts are a loan that you expect to be repaid in the fullness of time.

Do you have other children? - because if you are handing out cheques you must be fair.

Isleepinahedgefund Mon 19-Nov-18 16:07:35

I don't think you should offer to bail them out week by week actually. If you can afford to supplement them £200 a week, then put the money aside and give them a lump sum only if desperately needed in a few months. Certainly don't liquidate your assets. As callous as it sounds, this isn't your situation to sort out.

It's a funny thing, you might actually sabotage him if you give him an income right now. He needs to get on with getting a job, and knowing there is money coming in might actually hurt that process. Money doesn't always help. He needs to work to support his family.

I once found myself utterly destitute after a break up and my parents helped me out financially by giving me a lump sum to buy a property. It was much more helpful than it would have been in drive and drabs, it set me and the DC up securely and facilitated me standing on my own to feet in the long run. We came to an arrangement about paying it back, which suits us all. If I'd had them supplementing my income I still would have had the uncertainty of housing etc.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 19-Nov-18 16:11:56

When you say imminent financial disaster, do you mean that they will be defaulting on their mortgage payments next month and thereafter unless he gets a new job immediately? And you can't afford to help with that anyway.

Tbh, I would help as much as I could but it's all relative to your income and their outgoings. I don't know if £200 a week is generous or stingy in your circumstances, and no one here can suggest a figure. One thing I would say is that there's little point in holding money back for Christmas if they need it now.

Wishing them and you the best of luck! Fingers crossed he gets a new job as quickly as possible.

Rainbowshine Mon 19-Nov-18 16:14:39

I wouldn’t offer anything, a redundancy would have had a consultation period beforehand for a start so I doubt this came out of the blue. Everyone knows you start job searching as soon as your role is put at risk. He would have had redundancy pay and potentially his notice period paid as well. If DH or I lost our jobs we would get contract jobs if nothing permanent was there. He made his financial decisions and the debt is not your problem. He could negotiate a payment holiday with his mortgage provider. Why do you feel that you have to bail him out?

tissuesosoft Mon 19-Nov-18 16:17:19

Suggest they also apply for benefits if they are entitled. Certainly your son may be able to claim the contribution based JSA (or new style as it’s called on UC) even if it’s just a little bit of money and protects his NI contributions. If they are motivated to work they find work quite quickly (I have previously done cleaning and bar work for income). I wouldn’t give so much money- if I did it would be on a loan basis, especially if it interrupts your living too

DeltaG Mon 19-Nov-18 16:24:18

The DIL also needs to be looking for a job; being a SAHP is only possible if the other parent is working to provide. That's no longer the case so she needs to shoulder her share of the financial burden now.

Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 17:18:32

Agree very much with the comments above and many thanks for them. My main concern is not seeing the grandchildren suffer. Both have applied for jobs (in their usual fields) but its going to be a long haul. DIL has had a five year career break. Concerned they may loose their house, but they chose to have the big mortgage, etc. Wondering if DIL's parents can help but obviously can't say anything. The payoff son got was not great. I've keep having a guilt trip that we're not helping them more, but DH thinks we're doing enough.

RangeRider Mon 19-Nov-18 17:22:32

Can they not talk to their mortgage provider about extending the term (= reduced payments) or making it interest-only for a bit or taking a mortgage holiday or something? That would be my immediate action.

Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 17:34:48

RangeRider Agree with you. Problem is that if we were their position we would be doing all the things that have been suggested - it's difficult (and tearful) to have sensible conversations over the phone with them about and not appear to be speaking down or treating them as children. I know what we would be doing but it's helping them getting to be realistic and work it out for themselves. Son is still very upset at what happened to him.

tissuesosoft Mon 19-Nov-18 17:44:15

I think they need to look for jobs that are not just in their fields. If I lost my job I would do anything to keep finances coming in. But I know that it isn’t down to you to sort or finance them until they are in their ‘perfect’ jobs. You sound like a lovely mum flowers

FusionChefGeoff Mon 19-Nov-18 22:16:42

Can you have them to stay for a long weekend perhaps? Help them work it all through and hopefully help them come to the conclusions you want them to see???

Etiene Mon 19-Nov-18 22:35:56

FusionChefGeoff Good idea - we're going to spend a weekend with them including time when DGS are at school.

flossietoot Mon 19-Nov-18 22:41:11

Could they rent their house out short term and go into a cheap rental?

Almahart Mon 19-Nov-18 22:56:01

Both my parents (divorced) were wealthier than DH and I are. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to ask them to support us financially in this situation. I would give them a big cheque for Christmas if I were you but honestly in their situation, if I were a SAHM I would have expected to get a part time job

mrsmuddlepies Mon 19-Nov-18 23:35:46

If the grandchildren are school age, both son and Dil should look at getting temporary jobs ( perhaps seasonal jobs). It is always going to be dangerous if just one person in a relationship works. Eggs in one basket and all that.
I understand your desire to help. That is a good thing to do, but both of them should show willing to work and help themselves as well.

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