What to do if your children are in debt
If your children are struggling, it's natural to want to help them. But rather than throw money at the problem, what other things can you do to help them get out of debt?
We recently carried out research that found that 42% of under 25s approaching us for advice were unemployed. With jobs so hard to come by, it's easy to understand why many of the younger generation struggle to keep on top of their finances.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
After years of bringing up your children it's scary when they go out into the world on their own. No matter what their age, they're still your kids and it's natural that you want to look out for them. So how can you help your child if they've got into debt?
Don't throw money at the problem
Often paying off debts on behalf of children doesn't address the real issue. If the debts came about because of poor money management then a cash gift could lead to a vicious cycle of continuing bailouts. So if giving your kids money doesn't always help, what else can you do?
Help them plan a budget
It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just one list of all the money coming in and another of all the money going out, and then review. We've got a useful article on our MoneyAware blog that talks through how to plan a budget and stick to it.
Encourage them to cut back
After you've planned a budget you can work through the outgoings and see what's essential and what can be cut back on. While opinions might differ on what's an essential cost, encourage them to reduce everything that they can without being too drastic.
Your children will be better placed to deal with their debts if their expenses are kept to just the most important costs (with perhaps a small allowance for entertainment).
Teach them some of your old recipes
With a bit of parental guidance your offspring will be able to cook meals for themselves that work out much cheaper than the ready-made alternatives. It's easy to think that anyone can knock together a spaghetti bolognese, but everyone has to learn somewhere.
Suggest they get professional debt help
Taking the first steps towards getting debt help can be very scary, so some gentle encouragement from you might just be enough to nudge your son or daughter towards getting the help they need.
We have an online service called Debt Remedy, which can help your children make sense of their finances and explain all the available debt solutions. If they'd prefer to talk to someone then they could give our helpline a call and talk to an advisor.
It's also worth mentioning that we regularly speak to parents who call on behalf of their children. This could be another way that you could help your children, if the prospect of taking the first step is just too scary for them.
If you've got any more suggestions for how parents can help their children with their debts then please pop a comment below.