Is there ever a point at which one is too old, too financialy stable, or too something-else to accept financial assistance from his or her parents?
I am assuming that the answer to that question is “yes,” but it seems very difficult to pinpoint the exact time or circumstance when that is the case. Surely it must depend on a number of factors such as:
- The “child’s” financial status
- The parents’ financial status
- The age of both parties
- The form of assistance (cash, gifts, time, labor, investments)
- The reason or motive behind the assistance.
On the other hand, perhaps the acceptability of receiving a parent’s generous offer is never truly extinguished. Otherwise we would have to turn down inheritances, life insurance proceeds and even gifts and educational funds for the grandkids.
There is one situation in my personal life which has brought this dilemma to my attention. I still accept financial assistance from my parents in one key area: they reimburse me for the cost of my flight whenever I fly home, which is usually twice a year (at Thanksgiving and Christmas) and averages around $350 per round trip flight.
There’s really no other time or circumstance during which they offer me money, but this offer has stood ever since I left for college. And they continue to offer every year despite the fact that I graduated several years ago and am perfectly capable of affording my own flight. Well, my mother continues to offer, I should say. I think it’s really her way of showing how excited she is that I’m coming to visit; in fact she always ends up offering in a moment of exuberance when I tell her when I plan to arrive – and/or when I casually mention how much flight prices have gone up.
I’m starting to feel a bit guilty about this. Reason One: I can easily afford to pay this expense now. Two: I spend at least that much every month on going out and other discretionary items. Three: I happen to know I have a higher salary than my mother (she’s a teacher and works mainly for fun and for the insurance benefits).
Of course I know they can easily afford it, or else I would never accept at all. But I think it’s time I stand up and say “no, mom, don’t worry about it” when she offers this year (which she’s already done once). Besides, I’m the oldest, and I should set an example for my three younger siblings. I shouldn’t be accepting this kind of “help” when I have a well-paying job and when they see me strolling in with a designer purse or other item I splurged on during the year.
HOWEVER, if my parents ever offer to set up education funds for my future children, instigate an annual financial gift for me and my siblings as part of an estate plan, or even take the whole family on a trip, I plan to graciously and happily accept.
More from Meg at The World of Wealth