A Problem Shared: Worried About My Son’s Debts

A Problem Shared Money Parenting & Family Advice | by | 28th Jul 2017

Credit card Worried About Son's Debts

A mother is worried about her adult son’s debts and is asking for advice on what to do without resorting to hand outs. Do you have any advice to share in this week’s A Problem Shared?

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If you need some help with any ideas or with any issues that are causing problems for your family why not share with the FamilyPoint Community? You can get advice and support from other parents as well as get an answer from one of our trained and experienced helpline adviser advocates. Click here.

Dear FamilyPoint,

I’m really worried about my son’s increasing debts. He is an adult in his 20’s and still lives at home with me and although I don’t know the full extent of his debts, I know it’s thousands. He has been taking credit cards out and paying off one debt by creating another.

He’s asked me if I can help him, but I lent him a few hundred a couple of years back but it obviously didn’t stop him spending. I can’t afford to give him any more money, especially if it won’t make a bit of difference and he’ll just be back again in a few months asking for more, but I’m desperate to help him in some way. What can I do?

Our FamilyPoint advice on how to help a child in debt

Thanks for getting in touch with us here at FamilyPoint. It’s a tough situation that you find yourself in and you’re not alone, many parents find it difficult to take a step back when you see your child experiencing difficulties, but there is a place for allowing your son to learn from his mistakes.

Standing on their own two feet

Stopping financial support may feel like a tough decision to make but this may work out better for the both of you in the long run. This will give your son the opportunity to sort out his own problems and stand on his own two feet. You can give help in others ways and there is a lot of support out there for you and your son that can help you to start sorting this out. A good place to start is Step Change the national debt charity. They provide free debt advice and can also support your son to work on a debt management plan. This is a telephone service, however there are numerous resources on the website that you could look at together. There is also a web chat if your son would feel more comfortable with this.

Incomings and outgoings

From what you’ve said the problem goes deeper than the debt and it sounds like your son is having difficulties limiting his spending. A good place to start could be for you and your son to sit down and work out his monthly expenditure and budget, looking at incomings and outgoings. This will help him to understand how much he can afford to spend each month without relying on his credit card to substitute his income. There is a good online and paper tool to do this on Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert website. This is an excellent resource and also gives tips on saving money day to day. This could be useful for your son if he decides to start making lifestyle changes.

Budgeting tips

There are lots of different tips for your son to try once he has his budget in place. He could take his spare money out in cash each month so that he can visualise what he has left to spend on non-necessities. Another good idea for keeping on top of finances is to make a list of direct debits and when they are due so that he doesn’t get caught out. There are lots of ways to manage this but your son needs to find out what works for him. Again check out some of the tips provided by Martin Lewis on his website.

If your son still isn’t doing anything about his problems, then an awareness of the financial implications of continuing his current lifestyle might do him some good. For example the impact on his credit score and plans for the future.

I hope this helps you and your son to start tackling the problem. If you would like to discuss this further then please don’t hesitate to contact the FamilyPoint team on the details below.

Take care

The FamilyPoint Team.

FamilyPoint Helpline

If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

Hope that helps.

The FamilyPoint Team

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