The 9 Do’s and Don’ts When Your Parents Ask For Money

Parents Ask For Money. A Woman counting dollars bills.
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Providing financial support to a parent or family member isn’t always easy.

According to a recent study from, 1 in 3 millennials and Gen X’ers help their parents financially.

This is more prevalent than we think. Topics such as mental health and financial support for parents are just a more taboo topic amongst millennial peer groups. After all, everyone wants to live an Instagram-worthy lifestyle, not talk about how they need to give money to their parents.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where your parents are asking for money, read these 9 Do’s and Don’t before mailing a check.

Do Be Empathetic

It’s extremely easy to point fingers and become instantly upset when our parents are asking for financial support.

Trust me, I’ve done it…

However, keep calm and simply hear them out without interrupting or interjecting. Don’t get mad, don’t get upset, don’t yell. Ask clarifying questions and understand the situation at hand. If you do, chances are the ‘rents will be more receptive to your comments and ideas so you can move towards a solution.

Do Suggest Side Hustles

Not everyone’s parents are update-to-date with the gig economy and technology in general. However, if your parents are asking for financial assistance, before you hand them a check, offer alternatives such as picking up gig jobs such as:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Walking dogs or Pet sitting on Rover
  • Selling clothes on Poshmark
  • Selling household items on Facebook Marketplace
  • Delivering Food on Postmates or UberEats
  • Signing up for bank bonuses

There are lots of opportunities out there. You just need to take the time to explain the earning potential that’s available.

Do Offer Alternatives

Turning to a family member is often the quickest way to get cash.

However, are there other ways to access funds, such as tapping a Home Equity Loan, 0% introductory rate Credit Card, or even looking for a new job? Float those ideas, but don’t press them. They are probably already stressed out over money. Everyone’s situation is unique, but it is best to consider all options and weigh them against each other.

Do Consider Downsizing

On average, Americans spend 31% of their take-home income on housing and housing-related expenses.

It’s a considerable expense. Chances are, if your parents are asking for money, you may not even be living there. If that’s the case, question whether or not your parents really need all that space.

They probably don’t.

Entertain the idea of downsizing as a strategic solution for their cash flow issues, but don’t expect them to jump up and call the real estate agent that second. This is a long-term solution.

Do Discuss With Your Significant Other

If you are married, co-mingle finances, or have a serious relationship where money is a topic between you and your partner, then you should discuss the situation before making a decision.

Make sure you thoroughly explain your parent’s circumstances. Listen to your partner’s thoughts, and make a decision you are both comfortable with. The last thing you would want to do is surprise them with a $5,000 plumbing bill for your parents.

Don’t Throw Good Money After Bad

If your parents generally have bad spending habits, it’s a terrible idea becoming their personal banker.

Providing them afloat won’t change their practices. The money will just enable them to continue making poor decisions. This sounds harsh, but sometimes they need to face reality.

In my experience, it wasn’t until my mother maxed out all her credit cards when he was facing the reality of a real budget. If they are technologically savvy, suggest using a free personal finance app like Personal Capital.

Don’t Lecture Them About Their Spending Habits

As their child, this won’t end up well….

Again, speaking from personal experience

You may even get a comment about how you’re young and haven’t experienced the world yet. How your parents spent money in the past – is exactly that – the past – let it be. You can only learn from previous mistakes, but it’s not healthy to harp on them. If you lecture your parents about their spending, they are going to become defensive to justify their habits, and you’ll end up back where you started.

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Don’t lecture your parents about their habits. You will end up stressing yourself out too.

Do Consider Helping if you can afford it

The last thing you want to become is your parent’s ATM Machine.


If you are in a financial situation to be able to help out or have enough money in your emergency savings, then you should seriously consider it, particularly if the money is for any basic needs such as:

  • Illness
  • Mandatory Home Repairs
  • Food
  • Automobile Repairs

Do Set Your Boundaries

If you end up helping your parents, set boundaries not only financially but emotionally too.

If it’s a one-time expense such as a car repair, plumbing bill, let the rents’ know what your boundaries are before you commit to anything.

If you don’t…

Be prepared for a fiancial and emotional rollercoaster. If they ask you for more money or try to vent about their financial struggles to you, politely remind them of your boundaries. Then, circle back to the other suggestions listed above.

Final Thoughts

If your parents are asking for money, carefully look at the underlying reason and have a meaningful conversation with them.

The worst situation is to throw good money after bad if your parents have poor spending habits. Unexpected expenses do arise, and we are unable to meet the obligation financially. Every situation is unique, and it’s impossible to apply a blanket approach. But, if you consider the 9 Do’s and Don’ts listed below, you are much more likely to make a well-thought-out decision and have a better relationship with money and your parents.

  1. Do Be Empathetic
  2. Do Suggest Side Hustles
  3. Do Offer Alternatives
  4. Do Consider Downsizing
  5. Do Discuss With Your Significant Other
  6. Do Consider Helping if you can afford it
  7. Do Set Your Boundaries
  8. Don’t Lecture Them About Their Spending Habits
  9. Don’t Throw Good Money After Bad

Have you given or lent money to a parent, friend, or family member? How did you decide it was the right decision to make? Comment below and let me know.


Parents Ask for money. The name Adam is cursive.
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