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When are you too old to ask for help?

 Content supplied by Barclays 

When are you too old to ask for financial help from your parents? Once you're out of full-time education, you should be standing on your own two feet, financially. This is what most Mumsnetters expect of themselves according to Barclays recent Mumsnet discussion.

It's a matter of pride and responsibility to most of you: "I would definitely feel awkward asking my parents for money," says EllenParsons.

However, that's not to say we shouldn't or wouldn't ask for support from our parents if we're struggling for necessities, and they can afford to help. And that goes for big payouts, like house deposits and boiler or car repairs too. For things like that, "there's not an age cap," says BabysPointlessPocket.

None of us expects our parents to fund a lifestyle we can't afford, or buy us a new iPhone, but there's a lot of love out there, with many people agreeing with GeraldineH that our parents "would be mortified to learn that we were desperate and hadn't told them." Parents seem to have a second sense about when they need to offer a loan or gift to help out and most of us are very grateful to accept.

Family is family for many of you, it's not just sons and daughters that benefit, but grandchildren get a helping hand too. In a recent piece of research with a panel of Daily Telegraph readers, 45% said they'd helped their children get on or move up the property ladder and this figure rose to 53% for grandkids.

It does, as Arcticwaffle points out, "make a big difference how well you get on with your parents… My parents would use money as a way of controlling (our) behaviour." Don'taskforthe99 suffered just that: "My mum loaned us £3000 for a deposit on our first house… she never let us forget how much she had given us and commented on everything we bought or did."

All of this presupposes that our parents can actually afford to lend money, many can't. In a YouGov survey of parents for Barclays, 50% said that they would find it hard to financially help their child buy their first home. However, they are more than willing to help in other ways. Many Mumsnetters have found a solution that doesn't actually involve the exchange of hard cash, which can ease the relationship on both sides. "My parents do one afternoon of childcare a week for me," says Jellyandcake, "this is an enormous financial help."

For many families, the help flows both ways, "I am in a better position than my mum," says ThreeLittleducks, "on the other hand, we do borrow money from DH's dad when times are rough, so swings and roundabouts."

There also comes a tipping point in many families, often when parents retire, that the situation can reverse and that in itself can be an awkward situation as parents and adult children adjust to a new power relationship.

The most important thing, says Clubnail, is that we should all be talking to each other about money: "in the UK we're too uptight about discussing these issues." She has a point. You can still let us know your thoughts here.

If your family are in the fortunate position of being able to support you in buying a new home, Barclays have built a new solution to help with this, the Family Springboard mortgage.


Top tips for 'that' conversation with a family member

1. Decide if it's fair to ask. 
Before you ask them, think about your lender's financial circumstances. Can they afford it? Is it fair to ask? 

2. Make your intentions clear. 
Be honest about whether you are asking for help with your house deposit as a gift or a loan that you intend to pay back.

3. Consider the pros and cons
Weigh up the practical and emotional consequences of your request. Could the lender view their financial help with buying your home as an opportunity to get involved in your other life choices? If so, be clear that what you're borrowing is for a specific case and other financial decisions are yours to make

4. Make repayments realistic
Work out how much and how long it will take you to pay back a loan. Set yourself realistic repayments that you can afford to repay regularly and agree this figure with your relative before borrowing.

5. Do your research
Research reputable commercial loans first, so that you're in a position to explain why this option doesn't suit your particular circumstances.

6. Get the timing right
Pick your moment to ask. A face-to-face chat on neutral territory, where you're not likely to be interrupted, is ideal.

7. Know that no is an option

Remember, they have every right to refuse your request.

8. Put it in writing

Make sure everyone is clear about the terms of the arrangement. Having something in writing that both of you can refer back to will ensure everyone knows where they stand.


Family finance, from Barclays

For great tips and information about family finances, head to Family finance, from Barclays for property, savings, education, budgeting

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Last updated: over 3 years ago