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October 11, 2021

Should you bail out those spendthrift parents of yours?

Although you hear lots of stories about parents supporting their grown offspring, sometimes positions are reversed and it's the kids that have to carry the load. 

We're not talking here about parents who fallen on hard times because of disability or ill health.

No, this is more about dealing with those who've simply lived too high on the hog, leaving their grown children to pick up the tab for their irresponsibility -- whether through addiction or poor money skills. 

What do you do when your parents ask for money? Just say no, advises Dave Ramsay, a syndicated radio show host who's known for his black and white views.

Not that it's going to be easy though. First, forget about injecting your opinions about your parents into their lives. They don't want to know.

Instead, try something like, “I just can’t do that right now. I’ve got some other goals and some other things I’m trying to hit," Ramsay suggests. "If you want some help with me coaching you on how I’m handling money, great, I’m really excited about getting out of debt and building up an emergency fund. I’d love to see you guys be able to do that."

Try not to be patronizing. Don’t talk about how dumb they are but about how dumb you used to be and how you’re not anymore, he adds.

Whatever you do, don’t let them game you, Ramsay says. It’s not good for them, and it’s not good for you. If you could completely support them — and you can’t — it wouldn’t be good for them anyway. They need to learn to take care of themselves.

Talk about tough love.

Have you ever turned down your parents this way? Would you?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...