Author Topic: How to help a daughter that can't handle money  (Read 21197 times)

Kitstache

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How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« on: December 13, 2013, 05:38:07 PM »
My younger daughter won't stop spending.  She is 23, lives at home (stays over at boyfriend's house often)  and is a full-time student at a local state university.  She also works part-time, and has not developed any saving habit.  She spends all of her paycheck and then when she runs out of money, charges on a credit card.  Wells Fargo  gave her a credit card without any co-signer or anything as part of a college student account package.  She is currently over the limit and has not made her minimum payment due for the month.  I know because I looked at her statement, and in fact all her statements for the year to get school book purchase info. for our tax returns.  The stuff she spends on is basically starbucks, redbull, cigarettes and restaurants or fast food.  I just don't understand it.  I have another daughter just one year older that is so responsible and frugal.  And we raised them the same!  My husband and I have never ever been in credit card debt in 26+ years of marriage.  We use a rewards card and pay off monthly.  It seems she can't postpone gratification.

I have bailed her out before - once I took about $1300 out of her college savings and paid her card off - but I didn't make her close it.  She ran it up again.  Then once when she was laid off, I made payments for her until she found another part-time job.  The bank keeps raising her limit and now her limit is $4,000 and she owes just above that.  I am so stressed about it all.  No, my name is not on her card, but I am freaking out. She isn't though.  Not at all.  She always comes up with the minimum payment before it is 30 days late, so it's not reportable on her credit report.  The bank has never contacted her looking for a payment.  They just keep increasing her limit. 

She was actually diagnosed with ADD a year or two ago.  Not the hyperactive kind, but "inattentive ADD", after struggling in community college a few years.  She is actually quite bright.  I wonder if it is related?  She is on medication and seems to progressing in school at a large state university. 

Another concern - she has been going out with a nice young man for over a year now, and I would not be suprised if there is a proposal in the next year.  He does not know about the extent of her credit card debt.   I  told her she should be honest and talk about the specifics of her financial situation, and ask him for his moral support. Maybe he could be on board to encourage her to make coffee at home or pack her lunch. Or report her progress to him. He is established in his career, makes a very good income for his age,  is not by any means extravagent, and does save and invest. 

It seems my daughter can't seem to see the future more than maybe a week ahead.   I really don't know what is wrong with her or what to do.  I want to support her until she finishes school, so that she will at least be able to make enough money to support herself.  But I also know that without financial discipline her income won't really matter. 

My husband - her dad - seems to think "let it be her problem - we aren't the ones that charged up the card".  And he is not stressed like I am.   Should I find a Dave Ramsey course to enroll her in?  Should I say that as long as we pay her car insurance, support her etc, that she has to sit down with me every time she gets her paycheck and I watch her make her card payment?  She says she wants help with setting a budget after she comes back from spending the holidays away (meeting BF's parents in another state).  I feel like she needs a conservator like Britney Spears has!  Has anyone been through this before? Can I help her change? 

ShortInSeattle

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 06:19:56 PM »
You can't force someone to be responsible. The beat thing you can do is influence her.

A few ideas:
1) Tell her that you are concerned that she isn't keeping up with her bills.
2) Tell her that you won't be bailing her out again, she is old enough to be responsible for her own debts.
3) Tell her that if she asks, you'll help her put a budget together.
4) STOP bailing her out. You are generous in providing food and shelter. Leave it at that.
5) Don't stress about her boyfriend. Nothing for you to do there.
6) As she approaches graduation, communicate your expectations. Do you expect her to pay rent? To move out? Give her a timeline.

Good luck!


Letj

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 06:34:52 PM »
I have a 12 year old who has ADD.  I got a diagnosis but already knew that.  She is very much like your daughter, impulsive, cannot delay gratification, spends her allowances immediately and does not work to her potential in school.  I refuse to give her medication because I am convinced that medication would only make the problem worse as an adult because her brain would become more and more dependent on the dopamine.  I worry about her everyday and hopes she outgrows this.  It's affecting her school but she is not failing.  I am providing a lot of support with tutors, private schooling and therapy to help with concentration. 

aspiring mustachian

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 06:37:48 PM »
Speaking from experience, as someone with inattentive ADD and other issues with executive functioning, I'd say let her hit rock bottom. Don't bail her out. It sounds harsh, but, speaking for myself, the best way for me to learn was to fail...and then fail again until I learned not to suck or to suck in different ways. When my parents bailed me out, though, I really didn't fully learn the lesson beyond being frustrated and ashamed with myself and hating myself for getting into that situation in the first place. I didn't ask them, but they got the bills in the mail, the inevitable fights would erupt and then they'd pay it off.

What broke the cycle was when my parents stopped supporting me after they found out I'm gay. I hadn't finished school yet; I was recovering from a major depressive episode and had come home because the school forced me to take a leave of absence. I decided that success was the best way to say "fuck you" to the sperm donor, who precipitated the decision. It forced me to cope with grownup responsibilities, like paying rent and utilities every month and on time or face the wrath of my roommate(s) or be evicted, paying my own cell phone bill, paying a car note (not Mustachian, but I learned from that!), and so on. I went on to finish my degree after waiting 2 years to go back to school so I would be considered an independent student for FAFSA purposes. It's been over 6 years since all of that took place, but in some perverse sense, being kicked out was one of the best things that happened to me, especially now that I see my younger (24 y/o) sister making similarly stupid decisions with her money and still being bailed out and coddled by our parents. She happened to get a well-paying job right out of college, so she isn't quite feeling the impact of her choices yet, but I have a feeling that it's coming. I wish her no ill will, but I'm not stupid either.

I'm not saying that you should kick her out, but putting some external pressure on her (assuming she doesn't pay rent or contribute to household expenses) might give her more of a sense of urgency. IMO, it would be a good idea to offer your help with budgeting and money management, but tell her that non-monetary help is all you can and/or will offer. I agree with ShortInSeattle with regard to giving her a timeline. The worst thing you can do is subsidize her bad decisions and irresponsibility.

As for the ADD, meds can be a BIG help, but for many people they're only half of the picture. Behavioral modification and recognition of deficits is the other half. I'd argue that the latter is more important than the former, but for many people both aspects are necessary for them to be fully functional. While behavioral mods help me, I'm a lot more functional when medicated. I often wish my parents had medicated me as a child, but that's another discussion. For behavioral modification to work, however, the person has to be on board and fully committed to change. Like addiction to drugs, it's SO easy to assume that one doesn't have a problem or to deny the severity of the problem until that rock bottom moment.

Not to be harsh, but IMO, it's not necessarily a good idea to think that the boyfriend should necessarily be a part of her fiscal recovery. It's nice if he is able and willing to provide that kind of support, but I also wouldn't be surprised if their differing attitudes with regard to money were a deal breaker for the boyfriend.

All that being said, she truly might want your help. I don't think there's anything wrong with agreeing to help her, but if she's just going through the motions, she might not learn very much beyond doing what you tell her to do.

Spork

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 06:47:53 PM »
Speaking from experience, as someone with inattentive ADD and other issues with executive functioning, I'd say let her hit rock bottom. Don't bail her out.

THIS!!! OMG, This!

My sister is mid 50s.  She was coddled and helped and bailed out since she was 18.  I've added up the amount she's been given over the years and it is more than enough to retire on.  She never got over it.  Her money problems blossomed into drinking problems (with money problems).  At this point, there is probably no way out for her. None.

I've seen (and continue to see) multiple instances of this.  It's not your problem.  I know you are the parent and want to help.  But if you want to raise an adult, you have to back away.  If you let it remain your problem, you will raise a (permanent) child.  I'm sorry if this sounds harsh.  That's not how it's meant to sound.... but it strikes close to home.  Please... be blunt, kind and honest... and back away.

My only regret dealing with my sister is I tried (more than once) doing the "tough love" thing... and it just didn't work.  I feel like I could have dealt with it differently with at least a mildly different result.

shelfins

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 06:58:12 PM »
You need to stop bailing out your daughter! Of course she's not going to be worried about her credit card debt if she knows you'll just pay it off in the end--it's free coffee and cigarettes on mom and dad. When your daughter gets back from her trip, sit down and have a heart-to-heart with her. Explain that you are happy to help her set up a budget, but from this point forward she's going to get no extra financial help from you guys. She's an adult, and that means she's now able to make her own financial choices, but that means she'll also have to live with the consequences of those choices. Explain that you are happy to help her with advice or guidance, but that if she wants that advice she needs to ask, that you will not be nagging or offering unsolicited suggestions. And then you leave her alone. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but the only way she is going to learn to be responsible with her money is if you actually make her responsible for her money. And this is actually a time in her life when the mistakes will be relatively small and ones she'll be able to fix, albeit not without some pain. She can do a lot less damage to herself with her $4,000 credit limit than in 5 or 10 years, when she's taking out a 0% down mortgage on a McMansion. So let her make her mistakes now, and let her suffer the consequences of making them. When she gets laid off next time, don't make the credit card payments for her. Let her credit score get dinged--they'll stop upping her credit limit--or let her figure out a way to scrape together the payments to pay it off. When she's struggling to pay for luxuries she's already enjoyed, putting those same luxuries on a credit card in the future will be a lot less appealing.

Right now, you're completely taking on the burden of responsibility for your daughter's financial life. She knows you're on top of it because she sees you stressing about it and lecturing her about it and bailing her out when she needs it. You've taken care of her her whole life, so she knows that as long as you are taking responsibility for it, she doesn't need to worry--it will work out in the end. The only way to change her behavior is by communicating to her through word and action that you're not taking responsibility for it, and that includes leaving her be to decide how to manage things for herself, and letting her see that if she makes mistakes, she will actually suffer the consequences of them--you won't fix them for her.

gimp

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 07:03:22 PM »
Also, charge rent. 23 years old means rent needs to be paid.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 07:20:29 PM »
I agree with everyone who have suggested a little tough love, and let her figure out the consequences of her actions herself.

impaire

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 07:42:28 PM »
I don't think I agree with changing the rules on her (i.e. making her pay rent) right now, but I agree with everyone and your husband saying let her be in trouble. The bank must be loving the situation, right now--they'll stop enabling her if you do too!

I refuse to give her medication because I am convinced that medication would only make the problem worse as an adult because her brain would become more and more dependent on the dopamine.

Have you discussed this with you doctor? I know this is very different from one person to the next, but teenage years chemical imbalances often corrects themselves after a while, but the educational delay remains with you and can become a big disadvantage. My younger brother took meds after he was diagnosed (late) between the age of 14 and 18-19; he stopped without an issue, but it took him through some very hard years where dealing with difficulties in concentration and the resulting damage to his self-confidence were not exactly easy to live with.

MoneyCat

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 07:50:31 PM »
If you've been trying to help her and she refuses to see reason, then it's time for some tough love.  She needs to fail and fail hard to realize that she has to take charge of her finances.  As a parent, you want to help her and not see her get hurt, but hard knocks are necessary to learn how to be an adult.  (And I'd give her a copy of Suze Orman's "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke" while you are at it.)

Dellainacan

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2013, 08:01:21 PM »
I agree with most of the people in the thread. You can't bail her out forever.  I think about the impact this has on your other daughter. As I am her in my family. My parents will continue to bail out my oldest sister at their own expenses. You have no idea the dislike I have for sister because of this. I have a significantly impaired relationship with her and we are currently not on speaking terms. Think about the dynamics you are establishing in your family unit. Of course it's hard. You're a mom first. But you will not always be there.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2013, 08:50:48 PM »
I agree with what everyone else has been saying, and I can tell you from my own experience that it has nothing to do with how you raised her. My sister and I were brought up exactly the same, but my sister was (from a VERY early age) more impulsive and flighty and never worked hard at anything. Since our father never stopped bailing her out, she never learned how to be truly financially responsible. She's not a bad person, but she is awful with money, and I can only hope that she gets better now that she truly is on her own now.

I think it might be a good idea to have a sit down with her, and tell her that the way she's handling her finances are very concerning and she's in danger of getting herself into serious trouble down the road if she doesn't start changing her ways. That the reckless spending could impact her schooling, her job, her relationships... all of it. Do give her some finance books and blog suggestions and tell her that going forward, you will be there for advice and emotional support, but you will not be giving her any more money to bail her out any more as she needs to learn how to stand on her own two feet.

I don't know what your relationship is with her intended, but he has to know a little bit about the fact that she's careless with spending, and hopefully he's smart enough to have a talk with her about the big stuff before getting married. I would tell her if/when they get engaged, that it would be a VERY smart idea to discuss things like money/debt, children and religion as those are the big three that cause issues in many marriages.

Argyle

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2013, 09:10:15 PM »
It might help to look at it this way.  When your daughter runs up her credit card, her subconscious says, "I wonder what happens when I don't pay my card."  And it waits to see.  And you pay it for her.  And her subconscious says, "When I don't pay it, it gets paid for me."  And she relaxes.  Not that she is plotting this all out evilly.  But as I know myself from having been a flighty 23-year-old, parental warnings go in one ear and out the other.  It's events, not words, that register.  The event that has registered is that whenever she's irresponsible with money, she gets bailed out.  Problem solved!

So as they say, "If nothing changes, nothing changes."  It took me several irresponsible episodes before I started getting wise.  I kept thinking maybe something would magically rescue me.  Finally, when nothing had rescued me several times, I started thinking smarter.

Good for you for looking this square in the face.  I predict good changes in your daughter's future -- not immediately, but in time.

ch12

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2013, 09:40:42 PM »
Don't bail her out. It's very hard as a parent not to take care of her, but she is now an adult. If you continue to support her when she makes bad life choices, she will expect it when she's older. My uncle flies out, runs up the max on every credit card he can apply for and get approved for, and then comes home to pressure my aunt into paying them off. My other aunt decided to run up $10,000 in debt and also told my aunt to pay it off. Because my aunt had bailed them out before, they expected it again and again. My uncle and other aunt are 59 and 75 respectively. Is that the future you want for you and your daughter?

Nip it in the bud.

Kitstache

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2013, 01:01:06 AM »
Thank you for all of the good advice, everyone. I love this beautiful young woman that has so many good qualities and I would hate to see her future happiness ruined by her inability to handle money. As a mom I want all the best for this child that was wanted, cherished and raised in a loving home. I always thought "oh if I help her out this once then she will have a fresh start and will change her ways". But it never worked that way. Then of course I would feel disappointed when she started spending again, and would think that I shouldn't have helped her.

It's weird that when I talk to her sometimes she agrees so whole heartedly with me but then I will see her the next day with a venti soy latte. It's just weird. Like she has some loose marbles? Yes she takes add meds now to help her study and it seems to help her focus but I can't imagine someone taking that stuff forever. And it hasn't helped her with her spending.

She is sociable, has many friends, is generous and kind. Yet in other ways seems a bit spoiled and entitled. I think she will have to suffer some consequences in order to make a change. You guys are right.  Even if she isn't looking to the future, I am!

Yeah, maybe boyfriend doesn't need to be involved unless they become engaged. Then it all should be laid out. They are both Catholic so they will have required pre marital counseling etc if it comes to that.

Thanks so much for your honest responses. We will see how this goes. I know something had to change or she will be impulsive and irresponsible forever...

shamelessHedon

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2013, 03:29:13 AM »
If she does stay this way forever, you have to figure out how to love her anyway. If she chooses not to or isn't capable of being what and who you want her to be, you still have to love her anyway.  And not let it be a constant bone to gnaw.

My daughter no longer speaks to us. The ties that bind are more fragile than we realize, even (or especially) when we are just trying to help.

chasesfish

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2013, 05:54:06 AM »
Kitstache - you have to do what you think is right, there's a fine line with "cutting someone off" for their own good and permanently damaging your relationship.

Some people will always be knuckleheads with personal responsibility decisions, but most do have a realization and improve over time.

I wouldn't go down the route of charging rent, but do try to set down the line of where your financial support end.  If you decide that's limited to food in the fridge and a roof, know that you're being very generous.

Is there other monthly support you give her?  Car?  Insurance?  School Tuition?

ch12

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2013, 07:09:11 AM »
If she does stay this way forever, you have to figure out how to love her anyway. If she chooses not to or isn't capable of being what and who you want her to be, you still have to love her anyway.  And not let it be a constant bone to gnaw.

My daughter no longer speaks to us. The ties that bind are more fragile than we realize, even (or especially) when we are just trying to help.

shamelessHedon, this is not against you at all.

1) I think that OP definitely loves her daughter. I don't think that she has to figure out how to "love her anyway." OP loves her daughter despite any flaws.

2) Unsolicited advice is something that I try to hold back on giving; I can and will talk your ear off if you ask me for advice IRL (I consider posting in the forums asking). It's doubly hard when you are a parent, because you've raised your child. OP's daughter is now 23, though. OP has already had conversations with her daughter about her spending habits, so it's not lack of education on financial constraints that's holding her back. It's not a lack of caring on the OP's part.
I love this beautiful young woman that has so many good qualities and I would hate to see her future happiness ruined by her inability to handle money. As a mom I want all the best for this child that was wanted, cherished and raised in a loving home. I always thought "oh if I help her out this once then she will have a fresh start and will change her ways". But it never worked that way. Then of course I would feel disappointed when she started spending again, and would think that I shouldn't have helped her.

It's weird that when I talk to her sometimes she agrees so whole heartedly with me but then I will see her the next day with a venti soy latte. It's just weird.I know something had to change or she will be impulsive and irresponsible forever...
Quote
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

No amount of talking, explaining, or agreeing on changing her daughter's financial habits will result in her daughter changing her financial habits. Her daughter honestly needs to make the choice on her own. In an adult-to-adult talk, the OP can make it clear to her daughter that there will be no more bailouts. As other posters have said, a roof and food are more than you owe her and possibly all you should offer.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 07:15:30 AM by ch12 »

MrsPete

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2013, 07:24:54 AM »
I'd ask first, who owns the problem?  I say it's you.  You are unhappy, concerned for the future -- and rightly so -- and you want change.  She has no problem.  She is living comfortably now, doesn't grasp that there's a problem.  This system has been working throughout her college years, and she isn't going to see a problem now.  The boyfriend has no problem.  He's blissfully unaware.  So you are the one with the problem, and you are the only one who will make a change. 

As such, I side with those who say, Stop enabling her.  You don't have any legal way to make her stop using the credit card, but if you don't pay it off, they'll stop raising her limit.  The credit card company will punish her, and it will hurt you to see it because you'll know it was avoidable.  Stand tough.  If you don't let her reap the consequences of her actions now, she'll graduate and buy a house and car she can't afford, and this'll escalate to a larger scale. 

I would not start charging her rent now.  She hasn't been paying rent thoughout her college career, and I don't see that working now mid-stream.  Ideally, it would've been good to require her to pay into a savings account (inaccessible to her) during her college years so that she could graduate with savings, but that ship has sailed, and she's not likely to change her habits this close to graduation.  What would you do if she didn't pay rent (which is a very good possibility)?  Would you kick out your college daughter?  How would you do it?  Change the locks?  That'll be unpleasant.  Never enter into something with a teenager (and your girl is functioning on a teen level) if you aren't willing to see it through. 

I would talk to her now about planning for money after graduation.  I would not be surprised to learn that she's one of the kids who thinks that once you have a degree, money is just easy and all falls into place.  Walk through a budget with her.  If she's planning to stay at home after graduation, tell her upfront what you expect her to pay.  If you're paying "invisible things" like her health and car insurance, be sure she grasps the reality of what graduation will bring.

As for the boyfriend, he's not your responsibility.  I do think it'll be good for them to do a pre marriage counseling session that'll include some financial counseling.  She might hear this more effectively from someone who isn't you. 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 07:27:45 AM by MrsPete »

shamelessHedon

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2013, 07:32:58 AM »
I'm talking about loving this adult child in such a way that her primary perception of her parents is that she feels loved rather than a focus on "management" of her and what mom/dad perceives to be her "problems". Not just feelings of love, loyalty, affection, etc.

The transition from parenting a child to parenting an adult is hard when the person changing from a child to a adult doesn't follow the path the parent sanctions.

It is a different and very difficult way of loving someone.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 07:36:37 AM by shamelessHedon »

lifejoy

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2013, 11:15:46 AM »
As a 25-year-old daughter, I have to agree: she needs to learn the hard way.

Having parents as a safety net makes people live their lives very differently. To put it bluntly, stop enabling. Offer support. And I love the person that said, let her come to you. Don't force your support, but know that if she needs emotional or budgetary assistance, you're there. No more dollah dollah bills, though! :)

lifejoy

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2013, 11:16:13 AM »
Oh, and watch Gail Vaz-Oxlade's show "Princess" if you can. It will be eye-opening.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2013, 12:14:26 PM »

It is not fair to siblings of people like that. Your other daughter may grow to resent her. It seems that you are helping her plenty by housing and feeding her. I would do the same. It seems that it is unfair to your other daughter for you to give handouts to this one so much.

If you do offer her more assistance, it should come with financial counseling. I cannot imagine ever paying my kid's credit card bills, honestly. We have family where two of the three kids are "helped out", and they have never stopped needing help. It has enabled them to have better clothes, cars, phones, etc than the rest of us that are independent.

Oh, my yes. My father's different treatment of my sister and me caused a huge fracture in our family dynamics. It seemed to me growing up that my dad hardly ever paid much attention to me since I was the "responsible" one and he went out of his way to bail out my sister every time and gave her much more time and attention since she was the one that "needed" him more. Besides crippling her ability to stand on her own, it also made me resent her (and him) as she received much more in every way from our father - and didn't appreciate what she received at all, since she never had to work for what she got. She would ruin or not keep up on basic maintenance since she didn't know and didn't care enough to take care of things - as dad would pay to fix or buy her new stuff if things got ruined.

No one's saying that if it was a true emergency situation like an accident or sickness that you shouldn't help her out, but she's causing her financial messes due to carelessness and lack of maturity, knowing that someone will fix it for her.

I think that she's never had to be on her own is scary - if she goes from mom and dad taking care of her, to marrying a guy that will take care of her when she messes up, she's going to go through her life thinking that she never has to be responsible for anything.

Spork

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2013, 12:26:33 PM »

It is not fair to siblings of people like that. Your other daughter may grow to resent her. It seems that you are helping her plenty by housing and feeding her. I would do the same. It seems that it is unfair to your other daughter for you to give handouts to this one so much.

If you do offer her more assistance, it should come with financial counseling. I cannot imagine ever paying my kid's credit card bills, honestly. We have family where two of the three kids are "helped out", and they have never stopped needing help. It has enabled them to have better clothes, cars, phones, etc than the rest of us that are independent.

Oh, my yes. My father's different treatment of my sister and me caused a huge fracture in our family dynamics. It seemed to me growing up that my dad hardly ever paid much attention to me since I was the "responsible" one and he went out of his way to bail out my sister every time and gave her much more time and attention since she was the one that "needed" him more. Besides crippling her ability to stand on her own, it also made me resent her (and him) as she received much more in every way from our father - and didn't appreciate what she received at all, since she never had to work for what she got. She would ruin or not keep up on basic maintenance since she didn't know and didn't care enough to take care of things - as dad would pay to fix or buy her new stuff if things got ruined.


I can say this was my exact experience as well.  In fact, the "assisted sister" really has nothing to do with the family now.  Things eventually got so bad that even her kids don't want to be around her.

Psychstache

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2013, 04:11:55 PM »
I agree with everyone else here, nothing is going to magically change in her life unless she experiences some hardship and feeling a litte pain.

Sidetrack:

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I refuse to give her medication because I am convinced that medication would only make the problem worse as an adult because [she] would become more and more dependent.  I worry about her everyday and hopes she outgrows this.

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she takes add meds now to help her study and it seems to help her focus but I can't imagine someone taking that stuff forever.

As a mental health professional who works with kids with ADHD all the time, I find this attitude extremely frustrating. It dismisses the fact that ADHD is a neurological condition, not a willpower issue. It is a medical condition that needs some kind of treatment. Some people will be fine with just therapy, and that's ok. Some poeple will need to take meds and be in therapy and maybe someday be without the meds and that's ok. Some people will need the medication for the rest of their lives in order to function, and that's ok. There's no one size fits all solution.

One of the best ways I have found to think about it is ask yourself if you would say the above comments to someone with Type 1 Diabetes.

/rant

_JT

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2013, 04:19:19 PM »
Is type 1 diabetes drastically over-diagnosed and used a catch all for any sort of excitable childhood behavioral traits? Your analogy fails entirely there.

Psychstache

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2013, 04:41:58 PM »
The is no doubt that there are issues with over-diagnosis, but that doesn't mean we should think about ADHD as a character flaw instead of a medical condition. There are plenty of people who do have a true neurological issue that inhibits impulse control, hyperactivity, focus, and executive function. They are not going to grow out of it. They bust their ass developing coping skills that most people pick up naturally or they will need help in the form of medication to regulate their mental state.

Disclaimer: I am a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. I don't have the ability nor the inclination to prescribe medication, but I have seen the near miraculous change that it can make in a child's life if they truly need it.

melalvai

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2013, 05:27:11 PM »
Oh, I feel for you! I'm finding it SO difficult to let my 18 yr old make her own mistakes. And her mistakes aren't as serious as your daughter's. Her first semester is over, and she managed to pull a B in the super hard chemistry class (yay!) but got an F in the 1-credit hr easy-A freshman engineering class! (She was supposed to go to events in the evening, and she was always tired then so she never went.) It took all my fortitude to be calm and compassionate about her F and to just focus on the good news about Chemistry.

She told me that she appreciated my response, that I didn't scold or throw a fit about the F. That about brought tears to my eyes.

I've already told her my opinion about racking up so much debt to go to college. I hate that she's going to graduate so far in debt. But you know what, maybe it's not the mistake I think it is. And if it is, well, I sure made my share of mistakes at that age. I had good scholarships (back in the day, you know, when you could get decent financial aid) and I graduated without any debt and went on to get a PhD. Guess what-- I regret it. I ended up in the wrong field and I stuck with it because I could never afford to change. My stipend or fellowship was always just keeping us afloat. 20 years later, at least I'm in a position where I can change. So what that I didn't have a lot of debt? I spent a long time in a career that wasn't a good fit. And we're nowhere near financially independent.

It's hard to see how letting your daughter rack up a lot of credit card debt can be good for her. Have you ever heard someone who was fired from a job, absolutely devastated, but later said "That was the best thing that ever happened to me"? Or someone is severely injured in a car wreck and that was the wake-up call that changed their life.

Keep loving her and treating her with respect. Of course don't bail her out but keep the lines of communication open so that she'll feel able to come to you if one day she wants to change.

MrsPete

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2013, 07:02:31 PM »
As a 25-year-old daughter, I have to agree: she needs to learn the hard way.

Having parents as a safety net makes people live their lives very differently. To put it bluntly, stop enabling. Offer support. And I love the person that said, let her come to you. Don't force your support, but know that if she needs emotional or budgetary assistance, you're there. No more dollah dollah bills, though! :)
I can't say I'm anti-safety net altogether.  My parents made it crystal clear to us that as soon as we turned 18 /graduated high school, we were O-U-T, OUT.  And we'd better not think of asking for anything.  Want a car?  Better do it without a co-signer.  Ditto for an apartment.  You'll learn to appreciate what you have if you have to earn it yourself.  College?  Work hard.  We're not going to encourage bad habits by helping you (okay, they did fill out the FAFSA for me five times in seven years, and the other years they told me it was my own fault I didn't get any financial aid, and the lack of the form had nothing to do with it).  I was 100% clear on the fact that I was allowed to come home for holidays and Sunday lunch, but that was it -- even if I'd been very sick, I was a legal adult and was supposed to be able to take care of myself.  They did do one thing for me:  They maintained me on their health insurance.  Why?  Because it cost the same for one kid vs. all five kids.  Okay, in all fairness, everything in my teen years prepared me for this kick-in-the-butt into the world of adulthood, but that didn't make it any easier. 

Did it make me stronger?  Yeah.  But it also made me bitter.  I understand that they didn't have enough of . . . well, anything, but just some help, just some guidance, just some support would've made the transition from high school student to adulthood so much easier for me.  Just some little things like letting me take the bed out of my bedroom at home would've been something.  But they were soooo caught up in the "you've gotta do it all yourself, or you'll fall into bad habits". 

As it was, yes, I did okay.  In fact, looking back, I'm not sure how I made it, but I did finish college.  I didn't go into debt (largely because I was terrified that I'd have to take a year off, and then I didn't see how I could ever make payments on debt and support myself).  But it was harder than it should've been.  I lived in dangerous place /shared apartments with more roommates than the landlord knew.  I didn't always have food.  I did without textbooks at times in college. 

No, the right answer isn't to withhold a safety net "just because" or to prove a point.  The right answer is to find the "sweet spot" in which you're providing enough support and making it possible for the adult-child to make his or her own way in the world. 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 07:05:24 PM by MrsPete »

_JT

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2013, 09:15:14 PM »
The is no doubt that there are issues with over-diagnosis, but that doesn't mean we should think about ADHD as a character flaw instead of a medical condition. There are plenty of people who do have a true neurological issue that inhibits impulse control, hyperactivity, focus, and executive function. They are not going to grow out of it. They bust their ass developing coping skills that most people pick up naturally or they will need help in the form of medication to regulate their mental state.

Agree 100%. I'm just not sure there's ever been any other medical condition in modern times that is more over-diagnosed, and when I think of a large chunk of totally normal kids being medicated zombies it makes me crazy.

CDP45

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2013, 10:23:22 AM »
23 and still in school? Did she flunk 2 years? Catholic and staying at the boyfriends all the time? I think there's a bit of denying reality from the mother here, dad seems to have the right approach.

mm1970

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2013, 10:31:14 AM »
As a 25-year-old daughter, I have to agree: she needs to learn the hard way.

Having parents as a safety net makes people live their lives very differently. To put it bluntly, stop enabling. Offer support. And I love the person that said, let her come to you. Don't force your support, but know that if she needs emotional or budgetary assistance, you're there. No more dollah dollah bills, though! :)
I can't say I'm anti-safety net altogether.  My parents made it crystal clear to us that as soon as we turned 18 /graduated high school, we were O-U-T, OUT.  And we'd better not think of asking for anything.  Want a car?  Better do it without a co-signer.  Ditto for an apartment.  You'll learn to appreciate what you have if you have to earn it yourself.  College?  Work hard.  We're not going to encourage bad habits by helping you (okay, they did fill out the FAFSA for me five times in seven years, and the other years they told me it was my own fault I didn't get any financial aid, and the lack of the form had nothing to do with it).  I was 100% clear on the fact that I was allowed to come home for holidays and Sunday lunch, but that was it -- even if I'd been very sick, I was a legal adult and was supposed to be able to take care of myself.  They did do one thing for me:  They maintained me on their health insurance.  Why?  Because it cost the same for one kid vs. all five kids.  Okay, in all fairness, everything in my teen years prepared me for this kick-in-the-butt into the world of adulthood, but that didn't make it any easier. 

Did it make me stronger?  Yeah.  But it also made me bitter.  I understand that they didn't have enough of . . . well, anything, but just some help, just some guidance, just some support would've made the transition from high school student to adulthood so much easier for me.  Just some little things like letting me take the bed out of my bedroom at home would've been something.  But they were soooo caught up in the "you've gotta do it all yourself, or you'll fall into bad habits". 

As it was, yes, I did okay.  In fact, looking back, I'm not sure how I made it, but I did finish college.  I didn't go into debt (largely because I was terrified that I'd have to take a year off, and then I didn't see how I could ever make payments on debt and support myself).  But it was harder than it should've been.  I lived in dangerous place /shared apartments with more roommates than the landlord knew.  I didn't always have food.  I did without textbooks at times in college. 

No, the right answer isn't to withhold a safety net "just because" or to prove a point.  The right answer is to find the "sweet spot" in which you're providing enough support and making it possible for the adult-child to make his or her own way in the world.
My experience was similar.  But I didn't end up bitter.  There were enough kids that when each left, there was someone else who needed that bed. 

My mom, however, did send me care packages of macaroni and cheese and ramen when I was in college.

Lina

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2013, 01:08:31 PM »
We have always had the possibility to take interest free loans from the "daddy bank". My siblings have used it more frequently then me. Loans have always been given on the premise that you have to pay it back. If a part of the loan is forgiven then the other siblings have also received same amount of money. I would suggest that you give your responsible daughter the same amount that you have used to bail out you other daughter so there will not be any resentment between them.

Elaine

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2013, 02:56:46 PM »
As someone only a couple years older than your daughter (26), I can say with confidence that the kids who at 23 were still relying on mom and dad to bail them out, still are now. I know kids (you can't even call them kids, really) in their 30s who are still dependent and being bailed out. She knows she doesn't have to pay rent, or really for anything, so why should she save? The stay at homers I know stay there because it's easier to stay at mom and dad's and blow all their money on partying and trips than it is to move into a crappy apartment and learn to budget and not go out, and truck your stuff to the laundromat.

It may be a lot more deliberate than you think- but I don't really blame her, I lived in a disgusting place at 21 (when I graduated college) and rarely went to bars or clubs because I was working for low hourly wages. In retrospect though, I think it would have really been a shame to miss out on those years of coming into my own, and I don't think I'd be nearly as responsible or independent otherwise. I feel a bit sorry for girls (especially) who go straight from mom and dad to a spouse- they've never tested their wings, and I think that's very important. Just my two cents. 

SunshineGirl

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2013, 05:21:29 PM »
We have always had the possibility to take interest free loans from the "daddy bank". My siblings have used it more frequently then me. Loans have always been given on the premise that you have to pay it back. If a part of the loan is forgiven then the other siblings have also received same amount of money. I would suggest that you give your responsible daughter the same amount that you have used to bail out you other daughter so there will not be any resentment between them.

That sounds like a great idea.

Also, I recommend the book, Parenting Teens With Love and Logic. It gives concrete lessons in how to parent teens to grow into independent adults. Even though your daughter is 23, I think the techniques will work.

ch12

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2013, 10:02:59 PM »
We have always had the possibility to take interest free loans from the "daddy bank". My siblings have used it more frequently then me. Loans have always been given on the premise that you have to pay it back. If a part of the loan is forgiven then the other siblings have also received same amount of money. I would suggest that you give your responsible daughter the same amount that you have used to bail out you other daughter so there will not be any resentment between them.

That sounds like a great idea.


This is exactly how it should go. When you don't give out money equally, then it feels like you're favoring the one who can't handle herself. You have to be sure that you can afford to give 2x the help if you're going to give any.

Catherine

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2013, 12:37:27 AM »
Here's an AMEN from another sibling of an irresponsible child. Too much family drama to go into here, but there's resentment on the back burner for sure. As a mom, though, I can sympathize. My kids are still pretty young, but I can imagine it would be hard to allow them to make choices with such bad long term consequences.

Someone gave me Beth Kobliner's book "Get A Financial Life" when I was about your daughter's age. I highly recommend it. It's written for people in their 20's and 30's so it's covers the basics, but it's really smart too. Maybe something to give her when you guys go over her budget after her vacation. But then, yeah, don't give her anything else for a while. :)

MrsPete

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2013, 10:08:50 AM »
My experience was similar.  But I didn't end up bitter.  There were enough kids that when each left, there was someone else who needed that bed. 

My mom, however, did send me care packages of macaroni and cheese and ramen when I was in college.
Quite a bit of drama went into my situation, and in retrospect I can see things I didn't see then: 

My mom was very conflicted about me going to college -- 18 year old me couldn't see that, of course.  My mm had grown up in a house where college was expected, where her parents sacrificed a great deal to send her to school -- yet she promptly flunked out.  She was simultaneously 1) anxious to give me the same opportunity she'd had. 2) fearful that I'd follow in her footsteps and fail to take the experience seriously. 3) ashamed that she had not saved a single penny for my education. 4) not willing to let me go because I was providing a huge amount of free labor around the house.  Soooo, she was very inconsistent in her direction and encouragement -- but, again, 18 year old me couldn't grasp all that.  My mom actively threw road blocks in my way most days, but occasionally tried to help me.  What she actually wanted was for me to go to work in a dead-end job, figure out that I couldn't support myself on that dead-end job, and then go back to school a few years later a more mature person.  Thing is, I already knew I couldn't support myself on a dead-end job salary; I didn't need that lesson.  I am certain that on some level she wanted to see me fall on my face so she could say, "18 year olds aren't ready for college.  It wasn't just me."  She went back to school as an older student and was very successful, and in a way she thought I should follow that same path. 

For my part, immaturity hurt me.  I was perfectly aware that my mom was giving me different signals from week to week (even if I couldn't figure out why), and IF I had been sensible enough to say, "Mom, we need to talk about these things and make a plan", IF I had been forceful enough to make her see her inconsistencies, I suspect she would've seen that her actions were mismatched, and she probably would've been reasonable.  But since I didn't do that, she took it as a sign that I wasn't ready for college.  And when she told me I needed to get my own place after 18/after high school graduation, I should have negotiated -- I should have laid out numbers, should have offered rent, or whatever.  But, being young and foolish, I just agreed. 

No, no one was using my bed.  My mom wouldn't let me take it because she didn't want to "break up the set".  And always, always, always the "you don't appreciate it if you don't earn it yourself" thing. 
No, no care packages for me.  Not even once.

I understood that they didn't have money, but what I really wanted was a bit of guidance and support.  Filling out financial aid paperwork on time would've made a world of difference to me.  Emotional support would've been the best possible option.  My parents did better with the younger children.   

« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 08:39:41 PM by MrsPete »

MrsPete

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2013, 10:12:25 AM »
Here's an AMEN from another sibling of an irresponsible child. Too much family drama to go into here, but there's resentment on the back burner for sure. As a mom, though, I can sympathize. My kids are still pretty young, but I can imagine it would be hard to allow them to make choices with such bad long term consequences.

Someone gave me Beth Kobliner's book "Get A Financial Life" when I was about your daughter's age. I highly recommend it. It's written for people in their 20's and 30's so it's covers the basics, but it's really smart too. Maybe something to give her when you guys go over her budget after her vacation. But then, yeah, don't give her anything else for a while. :)
Hmmm . . . I just read online reviews for this book.  Sounds like a winner.  I've been looking for a couple financial books to give to my older daughter -- she's still in college and doesn't have enough to really save much, but she's expressed an interest lately in learning more about money and definitely has an eye towards the question "How will I manage my money once I actually have some". 

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2013, 04:16:14 PM »
Update: Daughter got home from Christmas out of town.   I haven't made a credit card payment or given daughter a single dime.  I will offer to help her set up a budget within the next few days, and see if she still wants help.   She still hasn't hit rock bottom or really suffered any consequences yet, it is still too soon.  It seems that although her credit card payment habits are apalling to me, they are good enough for the bank.  Obviously - because they have increased her limit several times!   

Yeah, I know there are people out there that never quite get it figured out - I have middle-aged co-workers like that.  I don't want her to be one of those people.  I know I can't control what she does, but I can control what I do.  I hope when she realizes no one will come to her rescue then she will "wake-up" and get her act together.  I still have hope!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their opinions, personal experiences and movie/book recommendations. I really do appreciate it.   I will update again when something happens - good or bad! 

Self-employed-swami

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #40 on: January 01, 2014, 09:17:47 AM »
Hold strong with your plan, you are doing the right thing!

impaire

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #41 on: January 01, 2014, 09:49:09 AM »
Thanks to everyone for sharing their opinions, personal experiences and movie/book recommendations. I really do appreciate it.   I will update again when something happens - good or bad!
And thank you for updating--sometimes these discussions do not seem to lead anywhere, and it's quite frustrating. I really appreciate the follow-up!

Mori

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Re: How to help a daughter that can't handle money
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2014, 01:04:00 PM »
She's actually probably the bank's favorite sort of CC borrower--one that does pay consistently (no charge off), but late (late fee $$$), and keeps a balance from month to month (monthly interest $$$).

Once she stops paying the bill, they'll cut her off. As a person that was recently in that boat, let the consequences hit her now. Better to realize a 4k mistake than a 40k (car) or 400k (house) one.

Good luck and hold strong.