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Teens/young adults contribution to household expenses?

(78 Posts)
User38596746352 Fri 30-Dec-16 10:48:45

So, two questions

1) Is it morally right to ask your teen/young adult to contribute financially to the household once they start receiving a regular income? I hear some very polarised views on this.

2) If yes they should contribute then how much?

Our situation is that I am newly divorced after 30yrs being married, the whole duration of which I was a sahm (at his insistence). I am also trying to pull myself together after a serious nervous breakdown & am receiving intensive therapy. The judge decreed a clean-break divorce so I have a house & small sum of money but it won't last forever. I receive no maintenance at all. I need to/am trying hard to overcome my terror at stepping back into the workplace after so many years out of it. I'm happy about the principle of funding myself - just finding the transition very scary as the world has moved on so much in 30yrs. The dc live with me full-time. I currently fund our lives solely from my savings. My oldest dc (19) has already been given a fund to pay for their university fees in their entirety. From Jan 1st they will also receive from their father a direct payment of £500pm. I want to be totally fair to my dc so I am asking for opinions. Should I ask for a contribution towards the bills or not and if so, how much?

pestov Fri 30-Dec-16 10:50:28

Where are they living for uni and do they have a job?

CalleighDoodle Fri 30-Dec-16 10:52:29

Do all the dc have university paid for?
Hiw old is youngest dc?

User38596746352 Fri 30-Dec-16 10:58:10

They will be living with me during Uni and no they don't have a job. All the dc have uni paid for in full. The youngest is 16.

User38596746352 Fri 30-Dec-16 10:59:14

The 19yo is at college now & will start uni next sept but still live full time at home.

BigGreenOlives Fri 30-Dec-16 11:01:18

Your 16 year old is still at school/college I assume so I don't think you should ask them for financial assistance. Why don't you show them both your budget & work out what all 3 of your needs are? Your younger child may be able to get work to fund their social life/clothing needs.

OhTheRoses Fri 30-Dec-16 11:01:55

It's fine once they start full-time work Imo. I am sort you find yourself in the situation.

What skills do you have? I think you may have to start to work in a small way without experience, perhaps volunteering, retail, reception work. You are at an advantage because you can be flexible vis a vis hours, you don't have to fund the children and you have a paid for home.

Also what did you do as a SAHM that you can put on a CV: pta, fundraising, voluntary societies, running a small enterprise with a budget of x and being innovative to ensure budgets were met (ie, running a household), liaising with contractors to ensure project maintained competitively, ie, window cleaner, council, cleaner, plumber, decorator, electrician with whom good working relationships were established.

You probably have more skills than you give yourself credit for.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 30-Dec-16 11:04:52

Once at uni I think they should pay the cost of their food and a small amount towards untilities. £120 a month to cover both sounds about right to me.

Ilovecaindingle Fri 30-Dec-16 11:04:59

You can still claim child benefit for a 16 year old in full time education. Maybe tax credits if you get a part time job too.
I hope you start to feel a bit excited about your new independence soon.

titchy Fri 30-Dec-16 11:05:57

I'd make the 19 year old responsible for buying and cooking their own food once they start university, but that's about it.

They'll probably want to houseshare at some point anyway.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 30-Dec-16 11:05:58

You can claim Child benefit and tax credits for the 19 year old as well , until the 31st of August if they are going to uni.

titchy Fri 30-Dec-16 11:07:38

If they were working full time that would be different, but parents shouldn't imo take housekeeping from their kids if they're studying full time.

MollyHuaCha Fri 30-Dec-16 11:07:51

I would say from a paper round or Saturday job, no. But if teen is earning a salary (inc apprenticeship wage) I think they should pay something.

User38596746352 Fri 30-Dec-16 11:10:22

BigGreen this isn't about the 16yo, only the 19yo. I fund all expenses for the 16yo.

OhThe Roses can I be clear then that you don't consider the £500pm as an 'income' for the 19yo?

Wheelycote Fri 30-Dec-16 11:11:07

This is always a tricky subject.

I air on the side that there should be a contribution - what that contribution is again is a tricky subject. I think its about working out whats right for you guys and I believe that there will always be a better deal for the teen/young adult.
A contribution at this point Id say is more about helping the adult fledgling to begin to manage money and take on responsibility for themselves....before they leave the nest.
In my experience they consume vast amounts of electricity and food and so much washing lol could you work on a contribution that covers these....with a deal that favours your teen but not completely.

Tricky subject with no complete right or wrong way. I have a friend who relyed heavily on her young adult contributing. When they did eventually move out my friend could not pay the bills....she wished she'd downsized at the begining so as not to have had to lean on her DD who she wonders ...that she didnt move out for many years because she was worried about her mum surviving on her own. My friend works with a resonable paying career.

My advice is that if you dont feel you will beable to pay the bills in years to come working or not. Sell up and downsize.

Not sure if that will help. One last thing DO NOT PAY FOR NIGHTS OUT, DAYS OUT unless its a birthday. Youll be hindering rather than supporting

AndNowItsSeven Fri 30-Dec-16 11:11:34

Titchy I would agree normally but the £500 is in lieu of a wage to pay costs. Food and utilities are normal uni living costs.

notangelinajolie Fri 30-Dec-16 11:14:08

Don't ask for anything while they are in full time education/uni. Once they start earning money after uni would be fair time to ask for a contribution.

MrsJayy Fri 30-Dec-16 11:14:32

I didn't take any money from student children (1 still is) when they lived at home but they did have to fund themselves travel ,lunches etc Dd1 had a p/t which ran her car. No it is not morally wrong to expect adult children to contribute to the household once they are earning

Wheelycote Fri 30-Dec-16 11:15:12

Just to add I wouldnt take a penny of the income from Dad......too many potential issues and resentments for the future. Instead they buy there clothes and pay their mobile bill, gym memebership car ins etcc and you support with a roof over their head. If they want some particular food thats expensive that you wouldnt normally buy then I would get your 19yo to buy it themselves.

Excuse the misspellings!

MrsJayy Fri 30-Dec-16 11:19:42

Wheelycote that is how we worked it and I think it worked well we obviously wouldn't see them skint but day to day during college/uni years they funded their own lifestyle

User38596746352 Fri 30-Dec-16 11:22:26

Let me be clear that I'm not considering asking for a contribution in order to prop myself up, but that I wonder if it's the 'done thing' by other parents in order to instill an understanding of lifes expenses and to help the young adult learn (budgeting) the transition to being fully independent one day.

NettleTea Fri 30-Dec-16 11:24:17

If university is funded in the agreement, so they will have no fees, then the £500pm is equivilent to the parental contribution that used to be given by a grant/student loan/parents for living costs.

You child is benefitting from having no student loan to repay when they come out of uni, so I agree that although you may be providing free accommodation, they should be using that £500 to pay for living costs, not as a fun fund to enjoy themselves. If they were in halls or a flat share then that £500 would have to pay for that, plus food, bills, travel, etc.

I think it would be fair to expect some sort of independance, even if it doesnt mean actually giving you cash - so starting to take responsibility to cover all their expenses - food, travel, going out, etc. If it isnt seen as enough then they CAN always apply for a student loan to top up. Im assuming that the lump sum is preventing you claiming any means tested benefits, such as jobseekers. If you can get work then that will certainly help, because you then will be able to get tax credits, which will take into account the 16 year old. Have you had any advice about whether you can get any financial help?

OhTheRoses Fri 30-Dec-16 11:24:39

£500pm sounds like v generous living expense which is presumably in addition to the minimum maintenance grant. It gives your teen the choice to live with you or away from home I imagine. On that basis a contribution to food and bills is reasonable. As a mother with a son about to finish uni I reckon I spend £50pw extra when he's at home.

We pay his rent in full (which is about £6k per annum), give him £1,300 at the start of each term (about the same as the min maint grant), top up by about £200 at the end of term, and I pay for his gym membership and phone). He has worked the last Cpl of summers, earning about £1k.

It sounds as though your ex has fulfilled his responsibilities towards the children giving them freedom of choice and minimising debt. You now need to decide how independent you will be. I think it will be good to get some paid work, it will provide company, a purpose and independence.

I'm imagining you lived a very traditional mc lifestyle and have had a really rough ride but I think it will be ok and you might end up happier.

User38596746352 Fri 30-Dec-16 11:25:47

I'm so glad I asked this. So it seems the consensus is ask for nothing while the child is still in full time education but a contribution when they start work.

SheldonCRules Fri 30-Dec-16 11:26:33

I don't think paying board to parents is the way to teach budgeting, all it does it take an amount from them for the parents to spend. Far better to learn by example, i.e. their parents going to work and explaining budgeting and showing them bills etc.

Whilst in education, I think taking money from them is unreasonable. It's not their fault re the split or the fact you don't work.

Some do take board when in work, I'd rather they save for a house deposit than take money from them as feel it's our job to provide for them whilst they are at home.

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