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Sunday, July 7, 2013
WASHINGTON - As a parent, your job is to help your children develop the skills they need to become good citizens, and this includes being financially responsible.
During a recent online discussion, I answered questions from parents concerned about their adult children's financial lives.
Q: My daughter is having a baby in October and she and her boyfriend only have one car. Right now she is partly living at home and uses my car pretty much when she wants. She has poor money management skills, no college degree, and works part time as a waitress. She keeps getting declined for car loans, and has asked us to co-sign for her, which we really do not want to do. My husband's car has 200,000 miles on it and has been paid off for a couple of years. My car is two years old with 66,000 miles on it (75 percent put on by my daughter) with about $8,000 left on the loan. What sort of advice would you offer about the best way to get her a car, which she is really going to require with the baby? I wouldn't object to somehow selling her my car and getting a new one, but can't see how that would work very well either.
A: You need to let her grow up. She's not being financially responsible because she doesn't have to be. Let's look at the situation:
So while I understand your concern for the baby and your daughter, help usher her into adulthood by not bailing her out.
Q: I have two young adult children who continue to struggle after college with jobs and their finances. They are both back home with me. I do not charge them for rent but I do ask that they save so they can move out and into their own place. Do you think that I should be receiving some kind of financial fee for their lodging?
A: I wouldn't charge them rent if they are saving as much as they can to move. Keep asking for proof. For free lodging they should be willing to show you their savings account balances. Watch what they are doing and their spending. The moment you see that they aren't saving as they should, kick in some rent and rules! They will save and move soon enough.
Michelle Singletary is a personal finance columnist for The Washington Post. Her column runs Sunday.
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