Should adult children pay a little…?

We have been having this discussion in our home this past week. I have two adult children living at home. One is just 18 (almost 19) and still in community college. The other has recently graduated from college and is job hunting…

We have always allowed our adult children to live at home rent free. We have never believed in “charging rent”. We wanted the children to have an easier start than we had. We have home schooled four out of six children. While in community college, a few of them worked just for some extra pocket money, but we provided a car, insurance, pocket money, as well as health insurance,  and paid their phone bill. Once they went on to University, they did get jobs but we still provided extra food, furnishing the dorms, as well as pocket money and a wealth of other expenses. Once I found out that there may be partying involved, I cut the money off and they had to get jobs while going to University.

Our 18 year old is in his second year of community college. He is the only one that has worked the entire time. I did not want him to. He secured a job that turned in to a great job with a future. So I didn’t say anything as long as he kept up his grades. So far he has done so.

The 21 year old has not yet secured employment, so she can’t contribute at all.

Years ago we allowed the eldest, his young wife, and baby to live at home but they paid their car insurance and cell phones and car insurance.

We recently learned that we are unable to secure a small mortgage on the Fixer Upper once paid off (6 months or so) due to lower than expected credit scores, new mortgage laws, etc. We would have to clean up the credit report and obtain a Home Equity Loan. That’s difficult because we are in a Fixer Upper so the house isn’t worth much. We also have to get our credit rating higher in order to do that.  The reason we wanted to get a small mortgage is to pay off the family members  that have opened credit cards to help us fix up the house to be livable!!

Thus, the discussion to eliminate unnecessary expenses. We talked about each grown child paying a little bit each week, (50.00) and their own car insurance and phone bills.

Wow! I was hit full force with opposition!!  (I will just move out)…I calmly told them to pack because I need a bedroom. (I was mad)…

I really don’t want either of them to move out, especially the 18 year old because he is still in school and has heart disease and I would like to keep him around as long as possible to make sure he is taking care of himself.

However, with all of the phones on our family plan, the bill is 300+ each month. I have told them that they are going to have to pay something each paycheck on their phones. We just can’t afford it. The 21 year old has said she will take over her phone, car insurance and health insurance once she obtains full time employment but she was mad too.

The fault is mine. When they wanted to upgrade their phones, I had No Idea how expensive these phones were and kind of waved them away and allowed them to upgrade. Being sick for the summer probably had something to do with that. If I had taken the time to see how much these phones were, I would have said,”your phone is 600 or 700 dollars”…if that’s what you want, once you save the money, sure, upgrade if you like. But I didn’t do that. My fault.

Their car insurance is only about 30.00 a month each for they both drive older, paid for cars. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to pay it.

I was paying my own way at 18. I worked since I was 12. I contributed to my mom’s household even when my eldest and I lived there when young. She wouldn’t allow me to pay a bill nor “rent”, but I bought groceries as much as I could and put gas in their cars.

We are trying to buckle down and pay off this house, clean up our credit and get the debts off our backs. It’s a collective effort I think.

However, now I am a Tyrant and Terrible Mother and I let others before them live rent free, and paid expenses (we had money then…hello!!)….and thus I guess their feelings are a bit hurt.

How hard is it to buy toilet paper and paper towels once a week?  Or laundry detergent? Or pay on your dumb phone at the AT&T store when you get a paycheck? Is is fair that Dad works with his body So Awfully Hard to provide what they have? A roof over their heads and food on their table, they all have cars. He fixes everything for them and does the best he can with a house that anyone else would have bulldozed?

It was a shocker For Sure to find that we could not borrow 30K to pay back what we owe to friends and family, as well perhaps use a little of that to fix the side of the house that is Falling In and buy New Cheap windows….sheesh..

If I find out on Monday that my diverticulitis isn’t a complicated case, I will work a minimum wage job at night while home schooling the youngest for  his last year in addition to my regular job (doing estimates, selling jobs for the company) and get my lower plate so I will have Teeth. Then start paying down credit cards in addition to the minimum payments we are making. Paying down the highest interest cards first. That’s where all my checks will go to.

I hate to do this at my age. I am not feeling sorry for myself but I am tired. I have worked two jobs before and unfortunately many people have to do that. I was just hoping that the children that are grown and have the ability to pay a little to Help with the Family would be more open to it. That they would Want To….

Full disclosure:  The hubs doesn’t want them to pay anything. He feels he paid for the other ones, he will pay for those that are still living at home and he doesn’t want them to have to work as hard as we have. While he is Hurting Himself Working Like Mad….This is all me. ….the Tyrant Mother.

I don’t think that giving everything to kids is good for them unless one is really wealthy. How can they be taught about the real world where Bills come in Every Month and you have to pay them??

Comments welcome please, maybe I am wrong…

Very disappointed….


13 thoughts on “Should adult children pay a little…?

  1. My mum and dad were always good with me financially, but looking back, it never taught me how to handle money. I only learned this when I moved out. I was then able to appreciate all that they had done for me. I’d sit down with them and tell them exactly what you’ve told us. They’re old enough to get a grip of what you are going through. My sympathies. Hope it all gets sorted 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll tell you my experience with paying bills and buying things for myself. I started working when I was 16. My father was/is a sorry father so my mother pushed us to begin working as early as possible. As soon as I began working, I began buying everything for myself immediately (clothes, hygiene products etc, phone bill, car insurance, gas, food for lunch, my basketball stuff, whatever I wanted or needed.) The only thing I didn’t pay for was grocery and shelter. I 27 living at home now but certainly not by choice. I contributed to groceries and am responsible for all of my bills car note, insurance, clothes pretty much what ever I need except my phone bill, which was recently taken over by my father after I lost my job and did not have a phone for possibly a month and a half. Before all of these unfortunate events, I live by myself and was responsible for all living expenses. Occassionly, I may need to use soap from my mother and vice versa until I go to the store. Most my friends have never had such responsibilities and don’t understand why my mother required me and my sister to take on these responsibilities. I had no choice but to either move back home or be homeless after my lease ended after I suffered a herniated disc in my back from a car accident. (my mother suggested as well) If it was totally my choice, I would not be at home living with my mother or sister. Unfortunately, I was never taught how to save money or why, so with many trial and errors, I learned the hard way and I still struggle with saving. (Just my experience)

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  3. We are in a similar situation. My mom always said she’d never charge us rent or anything if we lived with them. Our oldest son and his wife are with us until they can save up what they need to get an apartment. We don’t ask for rent but they do help out with some groceries and incidentals. They also help with chores. And I think that if our financial situation was different, I’d still expect them to contribute in some way. No matter who you are, or where you are, or even with whom, I think it’s best to contribute whatever you can with a positive attitude. Done grudgingly, everyone ends up feeling horrible and drained. I hope my opinion was helpful. It’s interesting how we seem to be in such a similar situation. Wow!

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  4. I’m autistic so fairness is an obsession with me. If you paid a lot of the expenses for the older ones and not the younger ones that is unfair. Wait I don’t think your wrong it’s a process. I find myself angry & hurt that my kids don’t take on the burdens I did for my parents even though I went to great lengths to stop them because it was so damaging to me, so I understand your frustration but in a way you wanted this. Your younger kids are probably emotionally fighting with their older siblings (why did they get & I didn’t); classic sibling rivalry. But you feel they are prioritizing themselves over you, so of course you are hurt, you get angry and everything escalates. You could try not making it a rule but asking for their help, instead of being the less nurtured child they become the hero child. Consider reaching out to all the kids for help; being non judgmental about their inability to help. With your husband mentally work out compensations at a later date (I hate to be morbid but in your will) and discuss this with the kids. The emotional difference between being denied what your older siblings had, and responding to a plea for help with an acknowledgement of your sacrifice (theirs not yours they are kids, its hard for even adult kids to understand parental sacrifice). Then work together to reduce expenses and get financial support. If you take all the negative emotions for all of you out of the equation you may be surprised at how easy the financial solutions will be. I’ve borrowed money from my kids and reduced their expenses, the easiest way to do it is to make them the hero/financial rescuer and then bite my lip as they crowed. Well if they were as mature as us, what have we been doing with our lives! Just an idea, best of luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, I am very confused about my dilemma as well. I suspect that things will continue as they are because my husband does not feel comfortable with any of the grown children paying for anything other than their phones. I was financially able to help all six of them years ago, but these days, we are not financially sound at all…I am just rolling up my sleeves and plan to get to work and do the best I can!!

    Liked by 1 person

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