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NOW CLOSED: When are you too old to ask your parents for financial help? Discuss this topic with Barclays - £150 JL voucher to be won

(190 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 26-Nov-12 16:52:44

Hello - you may know we are working with Barclays on all things money.

This week they have launched a big campaign to get people talking - they want to know what you think about home buying and money topics.

The team at Barclays say "We want to hear what Mumsnetters think about home-buying and the money dilemmas you face around property for your family. The topic in this thread is about how you deal with financial help in your family relationships between children and parents. We have three questions this week, and the question on this thread is "When are you too old to ask your parents for financial help?"

The other two questions asked this week are:

Are you saving for retirement or your child's deposit? and

Is it still a home if you don't own it?

Please share your thoughts on this thread - please note, there are no right or wrong answers and the question will mean different things to different MNers.

Add your thoughts and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one winner will get a £150 John Lewis voucher.

Thanks MNHQ

PS Please note your comments along with your MN name may be used on the Barclays pages on Mumsnet and elsewhere.

PPS We'll do the draws for all three threads on Tuesday.

PieEyedAndLairySanta Mon 03-Dec-12 15:15:24

Can't remember the last time I actually needed help from my parents but I had to ask them to be on stand by last week as there was a very real chance of us not being able to pay the rent. Hopefully we are only in a temporary hole due to DH being off work with a disability. His benefits were paid a week late so sorted in the end. I am 46 and they are retired - it was totally humiliating having to ask and I really think it should be the other way around by now. blush

LRDtheFeministDude Mon 03-Dec-12 15:24:05

I don't think you are ever too old, but I think there's a huge issue in terms of feeling obligated to your parents and ashamed you need their help.

I feel that rightly, you should be independent from age 18, really.

I feel ashamed that my dad still stood as guarantor to me renting a flat, when I had the right amount of income (from a student grant as a postgrad). Yet the lettings agency would not accept this was income! And my bank does not accept it is income. I find that really insulting.

Incidentally, since this is Barclays, I will point out that it would be lovely if, along with considering how we feel about parents, you'd consider how we feel about our spouses.

I did not take kindly to being lied to by a Barclays staff member, who told me it was 'illegal' for me not to change my name upon marriage. I certainly didn't enjoy it when another staff member commented jokingly to me that a joint account for me and DH would be good for me as a woman, but not good for him as a man, since women spend men's earnings.

I found this to be rather more of an issue than anything to do with my parents, if you want to know.

WowOoo Mon 03-Dec-12 15:26:55

When you leave home and start work I think you are too old.
I suppose it's a different case if you really need the money and they have money to spare.
But, this doesn't stop them offering to help.
My parents helped us and offered us more than we ever accepted. It was very nice to know if we needed help it was there.
My parents were very open about money and talked about looking after it and the value of saving a lot.

i have never ever asked my parents for help. But that hasn't stopped them helping me and getting quite cross that i haven't asked, big credit card bills as an example. They have helped us out in every way imaginable, from deposits for houses to weddings to cars to holidays to hard cash. i couldn't begin to add up how much they've given us over the years. We're in the funny position of being absolutely skint, but having two cars and some great holidays. it's madness really.

i very much hope to be in a position to do the same for my girls when they're older. i very much doubt it though sad

BlimeyRiley Mon 03-Dec-12 15:52:59

This is a tricky one as I think it depends on a whole host of factors - I myself am very fortunate in the fact that my parents can afford to continue to help me into adulthood and I do know that they would never ever see me struggle - so if I were in real need I would not feel bad for asking at any age. I do also know that if they knew I were struggling and hadn't asked for help they would be cross!

However - I do think it is extremely important to stand on your own two feet and support yourself - which would put me off asking them entirely. It would be like taking a step back in time. And if I knew that they themselves were struggling I wouldn't dream of asking.

I have recently moved back in with them in order to save for a house (they will also be helping me with the deposit) and whilst I am living there I am paying minimal rent. I do feel v lucky that I have this opportunity and know that I would want to do the same for my DCs when I have them one day.

YourHandInMyHand Mon 03-Dec-12 15:53:42

IMO an independent adult ASKING their parents for financial help is a bit off.

What's wrong with adults being self sufficient and not relying on parents?

My mum has always relied on my nana, they are now 50 and 70 and the situation continues as my mum has always known she can ask. I on the other hand have always been too proud and independent to ask for financial help and mot surprisingly am extremely careful/ responsible with money.

FreckledLeopard Mon 03-Dec-12 16:02:56

Difficult question. We have a weird set-up, given that my mother feels that 'her' money isn't really hers, since my father was the one that worked, earned it, then died. I'm an only child, parents pretty old when they had me, my mother has always had high expectations of how to live (i.e. she does a daily shop and has never, ever worried about money). Unfortunately, I inherited her care-free approach to money and, as a single, student parent, got into debt, she bailed me out, and I've had numerous handouts ever since. She contributes towards DD's school fees and extra-curricular activities. I am still skint (getting divorced and moving house isn't great for debt management), my mother is still helping out. I suppose though, that I would have the same kind of attitude for DD - expecting to help her financially for a long time....

I think we just have a screwed up attitude to money, really confused

worldgonecrazy Mon 03-Dec-12 16:07:45

When are you too old to ask your parents for financial help?

Never, and the role is reversed too. I hope, should they ever be in financial strife, that my parents would feel able to ask me for help, whether that help be financial or of other forms.

But we are talking about ideals here aren't we? I think financial aid is just one of the ways that good strong families support each other.

EarnestDullard Mon 03-Dec-12 16:09:13

I think that once you are living away from your parents and earning a wage you should be able to cope financially by yourself. But there can be extenuating circumstances; sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and I'd like to think my parents would help me out in an emergency, if they were able. I wouldn't expect or demand it, but I'd like to think they'd want to.

Also, I would have struggled to get onto the property ladder without help from my parents (when I was about 21). I didn't ask for or expect their h, but I was (and still am) very grateful.

gazzalw Mon 03-Dec-12 16:31:19

I agree with the posters who say that once you've left home you really should be financially independent. We don't all have the luxury of relying on the Bank of Mummy and Daddy to bail us out. However, if I need some advice about financial investments etc...I might consider asking respected elders although not necessarily my parents as they never had a cent to their name and in retirement my Dad just spends his pension indulging himself in a way he never was able to in his deprived childhood or when he was a young and impoverished parent!

All those of you who have had financial help getting on the property ladder can count yourselves as very lucky. DW and I did it on our own (and not with particularly well paid careers either) which is probably why we live in not a very nice area!

CheeryCherry Mon 03-Dec-12 16:40:56

I have contradictory opinions on this as when we first set up home, we did it by ourselves, and proudly too-though we would not have expected any help at all, wasn't an option. However 20 years on with 3dcs and debt problems, we were thrilled when my parents handed over a few thousand when they downsized. It made a ripple on our money problems but nonetheless was so appreciated. My BIL on the otherhand constantly scrounges off his parents...which I feel is a selfish, thoughtless manner. We feel he should be independent as he's in his forties, works, spends unwisely. As a parent when my dcs grow up I would love to be able to help them out, but its very doubtful it will happen.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 03-Dec-12 16:41:04

DPs own their own house thanks to the generosity of my DGPs, who lent them a large deposit at a low interest rate.

I am comfortably off thanks to DPs supporting me fully through 5 years of higher education (wasn't eligible for grants or loans).

DB owns his own flat thanks to extensive support from my DPs when he was in his thirties.

I am now in my forties and was chatting about holidays to DM - I mentioned in passing (literally as a throw away comment) how shock I was to find that a Mark Warner family holiday in the Med now costs 4 grand. She immediately offered to pay - I declined, for any number of reasons. I'd never take money for a holiday, or a new car when our crappy old one still works fine. I wouldn't ever ask for money for me, but I would ask for the DCs. If DH ran off to Acupulco with all our savings I'd ask for help to get decent accommodation for them, or a computer so they could do their homework, or school uniform that fitted. And if we ran out of cash with a DC midway through exams at private school (private school is very rarely a necessity, but if you're half way through A Levels then staying on can be vital) I'd ask for help with the bills without a qualm.

In return I will help the DCs if they need it for as long as I am financially able and in sound mind.

SantaJaxx Mon 03-Dec-12 16:51:37

I don't know if you're ever too old TBH. My nan was helping my mum out financially right up until she died and my mum was 51 then.

I honestly wouldn't be able to survive if it wasn't for my mum and dad and I'm 34! They're helping us more than ever atm because we're on the dole, but even when DH was working they still helped us out financially. I'd like to be able to not have to fall back on them but we've never earned enough to be able too (always on MW).

I realise I'm very lucky to have my parents to fall back on. DH has never had help off his mum, ever, and had to stand on his own 2 feet from the age of 16.

I'd like to think when my dds grow up we'll be in a position to help them. Although DSD is grown up now and unfortunately we're not in a position to help her at all. (Although she does still live at home rent free).

Thanks gazzalw, I never would have known to be grateful if you hadn't pointed it out. Phew. hmm

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Dec-12 17:16:21

LRDtheFeministDude - we raised your feedback direct with Barclays and they have asked us to pass on the following message "We're sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience. Please contact Barclays direct at with your full name and postcode and they will be happy to look into this for you"

TheProvincialLady Mon 03-Dec-12 17:27:33

I think you are too old to expect financial support once you leave home, or earlier if you are working. I don't think you are ever too old to ask for financial support if you need it and your parents can afford it - as long as you graciously accept their answer if they say no. I would expect the same from parents who needed to ask their children for financial support.

My parents paid the stamp duty on our home, and have paid for a new boiler and many other things and I am incredibly grateful. My mum says she likes to support us because she never had any money when I was growing up, whereas now she is very well off. I don't always accept her help but when I do, I am mindful of how lucky I am.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 03-Dec-12 17:31:05

You're never too old to ask for help in a real emergency. I imagine most parents would rather their grown up children borrowed from them than have them take out a loan or credit card debt.

My parents have made it clear that I can ask them for help should something go horribly wrong with our finances, but I would feel embarrassed to have to go to them. I'd have to be seriously desperate to admit I needed their money, but I hope I could solve the problem before it came to that.

mrscumberbatch Mon 03-Dec-12 18:22:32

The minute that I got out and got a job as a teenager I felt too old to ask my parents for financial help. I knew that things were tight for them and would never have dared ask.

That said, they are very generous when they can afford to be, and they did help us out with furnishings and baby things when my DD was born.

When it came to buying a house, they were great in helping us find, decorate, move house etc and had us round for tea when we were too skint to feed ourselves due to saving for deposits etc - but I would have died of shame to have actually asked for help outright.

Threelittleducks Mon 03-Dec-12 18:24:57

In this day and age I feel that it's working both ways - we kind of support each other. Just that now I am in a vastly better position than my mum, so I am in the 'parent' role. On the other hand, we do borrow money from DH's dad when times are rough, so swings and roundabouts.

I suppose I am in the minority in that I have never, and probably never will be able to, ask my dm for financial help, basically because she doesn't have it. But she supports me in other ways and would give me the shirt off her back if she thought it would help.

I don't think you are ever too old to ask for financial help from parents. The world is such a funny place at the moment and it would be difficult for someone nowadays to assume that they aren't going to need any financial help in the future from parents - you never know what life is going to chuck at you.

nickysom Mon 03-Dec-12 18:29:56

These posts make me sad but also make me feel a little guilty as I am in my 40s and still get financial support from my parents when I am struggling.

I would never class myself as being too old but on the other hand I think maybe if my Mum and Dad had been less inclined to help whenever things were tough then maybe I'd have been more capable of standing on my own two feet and not requiring assistance. It's a difficult one but I do agree with helibee who says it's swings and roundabouts. My Grandparents often helped my parents out, now my parents help me out and I would like to think that I'd help my daughter out if and when she needed it. In relation to my parents if they ever needed me to help them either on a financial basis or just to take care of them or have them move in with me then I would without a moments hesitation. In fact I have lent my parents money in the past and my parents are due to move in with my brother in a few weeks time to enable them to find a new home now that they are moving back to the UK so I guess my brother has the same attitude.

I guess it just depends on your own family views and circumstances but I am very happy that my family are close and would do anything to help one another out and support one another, be that financially or emotionally.


crochetcircle Mon 03-Dec-12 18:40:03

You're never too old, but you might get too rich?!

My dad thinks both his kids are doing just fine, as my brother earns more than him and I earn nearly as much. So that makes it hard to justify asking for anything.

Dededum Mon 03-Dec-12 19:04:08

Our parents helped when DH was made redundant and we would have lost the house. We asked but I knew the they would help, being very financially secure. They helped because they knew that we were doing our bet to get back on our feet.

carovioletfizz Mon 03-Dec-12 19:07:45

I guess once you're married with children, in an ideal world you should be able to support yourself and not need to ask for help. However, that's an ideal world and the reality of modern life is often very different.

I think though once you've finished your education your parents aren't really under any obligation to help, though I'd like to think I would help my children whatever their ages and circumstances.

IceNoSlice Mon 03-Dec-12 19:26:35

I think for day to day financial support, this should stop once you leave FT education (if not before). After that, I think it ok to ask/offer in emergencies as I can't see parents ever wanting their DCs or GDCs to go hungry, cold or lose their home. In that situation it would probably be an informal loan.

However for capital items (houses etc) then I think there is some sense in parents passing on money that would have been DCs inheritance early to help with deposits and to keep the Loan-To-Value down to keep borrowing rates as low as possible. Depends on whether there is family money to be passed down.

IceNoSlice Mon 03-Dec-12 19:29:18

In addition, I think we will need to be prepared to support them (DParents) in their old age if they need it too. Care homes are not cheap.

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