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Old 12-29-2008, 08:15 AM
 
Location: NY
1,416 posts, read 3,423,917 times
Reputation: 523
Default Are children "obligated" to help parents financially?

I normally agree with Suze Orman's philosophy but something she said on her last show somewhat bothered me. She told a caller (who was asking how she should break the news to her grown married children that she had recently filed bankruptcy, since her kids have always assumed she "had money") that she should not only tell her kids right out (agreed) but asked "How come your kids aren't helping you? Children who are doing well SHOULD help out their parents, and parents SHOULD help out their children."

Leaving aside the ambiguous question of what "doing well" actually means (whose yardstick are we using??), do you agree with Suze Orman that there is a familial obligation either way? One way? No obligation at all?

It seems to me that there are SO many factors other than what each party's net worth or income is, that have to be considered in a situation like that. For instance, what was the cause of the financially stressed party's situation? Was it unavoidable or a result of self-destructive behavior?

Blanket generalizations like that just don't sit well with me. What do others here think? Is any financial obligation created by the parent/child relationship?
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
2,193 posts, read 3,145,170 times
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Well if the money was gambled away then I don't think children should help. But the lady did say she was ill. So yes I think children should help out parents. If you can't rely on your family when times are tough, then who do you rely on?
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,377 posts, read 11,509,114 times
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As sheenie said, if the party needing assistance got in that position because they couldn't handle money, and blew it all on stupid things, then let them starve.
If on the other hand there are legitimate reasons they are down on bucks, then you have a moral, not legal obligation to help out if you are in position to do so.
We have a single daughter in her thirties who has held the same good job for 20 years, owns her own home, doesn't drink or party, but struggles to have the extra nice things being on just once income. She doesn't blow her money, just doesn't have a lot. She is a good, responsible person.
We can afford to help her out, and she is the only heir, so she will get it all anyway. We like doing things now to make her life more comfortable. We paid down her mortgage to where the payments are quite comfortable, we just had her condo re-carpeted, lots of things she needs but can't afford on one salary, we help out with.
If she was irresponsible, I wouldn't help her out. The same would hold true for a parent....
Sooo, it all depends on the circumstances....
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:58 AM
 
388 posts, read 1,011,058 times
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The thing is that her wealthy child wanted to go to some expensive family event and the mother felt bad about telling them she couldn't afford to go. So, Suze Orman said that because her child could afford paying the trip for her. It's either that or she can't go.

I think Suze said this statement for this particular situation. There have been many callers who wanted or have helped their very irresponsible parents and Suze said they shouldn't help them, even if their parents insist. Especially since the children in question where about 25 and just starting out. Hope this helps!
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:33 AM
 
Location: USA
137 posts, read 222,375 times
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Touchy subject for some. I personally don't feel obligated to help a parent out. Morally...case by case. You have a lot of parents that have children just for the sake of having them so when they're old and gray the kids can take care of them. That's BS. And a A LOT of people have this mentality. You bring children on this earth so that they can live their life--not some financial backup plan as so many do. It's the adult's responsibility to take care of themselves and rely on themself for stablility etc. What if you didn't have children, whose responsibility is it then? That's right, you rely on yourself just as you should.

Yes, this crap burns me as I see this all day in my line of work.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Montrose, CA
3,031 posts, read 5,537,743 times
Reputation: 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by totallyfrazzled View Post

Leaving aside the ambiguous question of what "doing well" actually means (whose yardstick are we using??), do you agree with Suze Orman that there is a familial obligation either way? One way? No obligation at all?
I feel no obligation whatsoever to help out any family member.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:02 PM
 
3,682 posts, read 7,464,901 times
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I'm don't feel obligated to help my parents but I can't imagine not helping them if they needed it. As long as my folks didn't **** there money away I would help them without any questions being asked. If they pissed it away I would still help but it would be under my terms. Basically I would personally pay the bills to make sure they had the things they needed. I can't imagine watching my parents sink while I am doing pretty well. There would be no legal obligation but I would certainly feel a moral obligation.

Reggie
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:03 PM
 
16,448 posts, read 10,258,436 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totallyfrazzled View Post
What do others here think? Is any financial obligation created by the parent/child relationship?
There was a time when it would have been thought an obligation to help ones aged parents if they needed help. That was way back when people still believed in right and wrong. Since you asked the question I'm sure you won't understand the answer.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Montrose, CA
3,031 posts, read 5,537,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bideshi View Post
There was a time when it would have been thought an obligation to help ones aged parents if they needed help. That was way back when people still believed in right and wrong. Since you asked the question I'm sure you won't understand the answer.
There is no answer to this question that can be given for ALL circumstances. My parents were terrible parents, and their actions in raising me caused me a lot of heartache for many years. I feel absolutely no obligation whatsoever to give them anything, because as far as I'm concerned they aren't parents, they're DNA donors who just happen to have donated my DNA.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:25 PM
 
12,360 posts, read 7,947,395 times
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my family is terrific and i would do anything to help them, as i am sure they would do anything to help me if it was needed. i think that the country would be better if families could stay close and help each other out. remember that it is much easier in life to see where you have been mistreated than how you may have mistreated someone else. nobody is perfect! (although i am sure that there are some actually horrible parents like casey anthony).
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