Dear son, we’re not sending you anymore money

When Elizabeth’s son asked to borrow some money to settle his credit card debts, she found herself cornered. While she

When Elizabeth’s son asked to borrow some money to settle his credit card debts, she found herself cornered. While she had every intention to help her son, she also feared that what little savings she had left for her retirement would be lost forever. Eventually, Elizabeth decided to tell her son that not only was she going to decline his request for help, she’s also going to stop sending him money. After all, he is a grown man and the problems he is in were created by himself. But when it came to actually communicating her decision to her son, Elizabeth chickened and ended up to just stop responding to her son’s messages.

Elizabeth is just one of the many new and soon-to-be retirees who find it hard is to say “no” to adult children when it comes to  denying them money for a business idea, giving them cash to cover past due bills, or financing a big purchase. Because chances are they’re going to keep asking until you go broke or say “no.”

A 2012 study  found that 93% of boomers have provided financial support to their adult children and 34% of who admit that helping their adult children has slowed down their retirement savings.

Worse, further evidence comes from the National Endowment For Financial Education (NEFE) who reported that in 2011 almost 60% of parents provide some sort of financial support for adult children no longer in school. Financially speaking, 26% of parents have taken on additional debt; 13% have delayed a life event, such as buying a home or taking a vacation; and 7% have delayed retirement.

To help baby-boomers deliver the tough news, retirement activist Robert Laura wrote this awkward but clever letter to help your son or daughter see that your decision to “cut them off,” isn’t so bad after all. Robert also said that parents need to not only salvage their retirement savings but also teach their adult children an important lesson: to be grateful for what they have and to make the most with what they are given.

The letter reads:

Dear Son,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I know you need some money to cover the bills your roommates stuck you with, and to start that new business. Well, several things have happened since we last spoke.

A few weeks back a young man came to our house and “guaranteed” we’d make a lot of money if we invested with him. We’d never heard of the company he was working for but it seemed reputable, and the ambitious salesman reminded Mom of you.

So, after a couple more meetings, we turned our savings over to him and, since he asked, even allowed him to stay in your old room for what we thought would just be a day or two. It turns out that his parents disowned him because his girlfriend is pregnant and they refuse to get married and go to church.

We were helping them pay for some of the tests and treatments for the unborn baby, but all that will have to stop now that your Mom and I are in therapy and facing our own challenges. Seems that Mom and Uncle Jerry have been in a relationship for several years and now she wants to move to Florida and live with him.

At the same time we’re getting our DNA tested and suggest you do the same. Your Mom says she isn’t sure if you are actually my son. I guess there’s a possibility you might be someone else’s. As you might imagine, all this has been pretty overwhelming and, I hate to admit it, but I have turned to alcohol and pills to help. I’ve tried sobering up but I only feel better after I swallow a couple pills and knock back a few drinks.

Worse yet, I found out today that our new financial guy was not disowned by his parents, and there is no “baby on the way.” But he did use our money to buy a new sports car, which he totaled, and is now going to jail for fraud.

Now that you’re up to date on everything I want to tell you we didn’t really turn our life savings over to a con artist, your Mom never slept with Uncle Jerry, and there’s no need for a DNA test to prove you’re our son. But we’re not sending you any more money, either. We just wanted you to see this decision in the proper perspective and to encourage you to count your blessings instead of your concerns.


Dad & Mom

Would you ever write something like this to your kids?

  1. greg  

    I love it and the twisted example of lies and excuses that over indulged and irresponsible children use to hide their own lack of values and maturity.

  2. K. MOntagna  

    What is it with this generation? I never once asked my parents for cash and none was given, but they supported me when needed and never saw me go without. They worked and saved for everything they had and expected their children to do the same. Where did we go wrong with our kids? Of course we want better for them than what we had, but along the way we’ve instilled an expectation that we should continue to support them whenever the whim takes them – new cars, bad debts, get rich quick schemes. What little we have, we have because WE were careful with our finances.

  3. jacqueline tautau  

    yes that is good they way they put it,,for there son,,,,,

  4. I loved the letter !! As soon as my kids were out of the nest and on their own, they had to cope with their own finances (as did I when I left home) They still get babysitting / advice ect for free 🙂

  5. Kay Feain  

    I loved the letter and agree that some kids of today have expectations that their parents will bail them out every time……….but wait……..I’m 63 and my older sister still expects my Dad to pay her way.
    I left home at 20 having experienced a holiday in Europe (which I paid for) and have NEVER asked my Mum and Dad for a cent. My sister has an expectation that everything she does for them comes with a price.
    The difference between us is that she lived at home until she was married whilst I managed living in a rented house on my salary from aged 20.
    Too many handouts at home lead to long term expectations

  6. Frank  

    this is analogous to the teenage daughter’s joke – ‘mum – I’m pregnant to the local gang member’, etc., etc. – then ends on – just to let you know there are worse things than my real news – ‘I failed my maths exam’

    • Susan Gabriel.  

      I enjoyed the joke letter and your joke too.

  7. My mum who would be well over 100 today, used to tell her favourite joke.
    Little Johnnie went overseas and was living it up. Sadly little Johnny ran out of money, so he sent a telegram (yep the joke is old). “No mun, no fun, your son”. To which his father replied “Too bad, so sad, your dad”
    Sounds like this is an ongoing problem

  8. Barry GulBransen  

    It’s Ok she is a mOm not amUm so …end of story…

  9. June CP  

    I have alway’s supported my children financially, starting with first car, but I would never lend money again until the debt was paid in full, no interest charged.
    Of all the four children three always pd back, the one who didn’t stopped asking.
    Rule one never ask for more money until the last loan is pd in full.

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