There are good reasons why you shouldn’t help your kid repay his debt. Of course, as a parent, you may want nothing more than to help your child overcome a hurdle. However, even if you have the financial resources to help your child, is this in his or her best interest? Before stroking a check to clear your child’s debt, here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t help your kid repay his debt.
1. Puts a Financial Strain on You
Need a reason why you shouldn’t help your kid repay his debt? Take a serious look at your own personal finances. If you’re retired or earn a modest income, helping your child repay thousands of dollars can put a serious dent in your personal savings. And what if you don’t have the money? A handout may impact your quality or standard of living.
2. No Accountability
Let’s be honest, there is a chance that your child may not own up to his or her mistakes. Yes, your child has financial troubles, but don’t let this cloud your good judgment. Does your child recognize the error, or does he or she feel that debt is simply a part of life?
3. Doesn’t Teach Problem-solving Skills
If you come to your child’s rescue now, she may never learn how to solve her own financial issues. Here’s the thing, this problem is only the beginning. As your child goes through life, she will experience different financial hurdles - just like everyone else. And like everyone else, your child needs to learn how to fix her own mistakes, and not run to mommy and daddy.
4. Doesn’t Teach Money-management Skills
If your child is forced to repay his own debt, this essentially forces him to learn budgeting and better money management skills. He will need to create a realistic debt repayment plan, and then make sure that he has enough money in the bank to pay his creditors each month. Stepping back and letting your child fix his own financial mess has long-term benefits.
5. Increases the Risk of Repeated Behavior
With regards to credit and money, most people learn from past mistakes. For example, a person who maxes out his credit card and then spends five years repaying the debt is less likely to repeat this mistake. Each time he makes a new credit card purchase, he may remember the consequences of past actions. If your child doesn’t reap the consequences of his behavior, he may find himself in a similar predicament in the future.
6. Creates an Easy Way out
Maybe your child’s high credit card debt is preventing him from buying a house or car. In his mind, asking mom or dad to repay the debt is the quick solution. This will eliminate his debt plus increases his credit score, thus opening the door to a loan. But is this really the answer? Even if you’re happy to help, paying off the debt doesn’t benefit you or your child.
7. May Strain Your Relationship with the Child
Maybe you agreed to loan your child the money to pay off his debt. This approach can work as long as your child repays you. But if he doesn’t fulfill his end of the deal, this can create problems within the family. Ask yourself, is it worth risking the relationship with my child?
Even if your child begs and pleads, or feels that he’ll never be able to pay off his debts, there is a way for him to satisfy balances. It’s all about a good repayment plan - and patience. Have you helped somebody pay off a debt? Did this situation end well for you?