How to Accept Handouts from your Parents while Maintaining your Dignity

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Behind many incredible condo units, new houses, successful new startups and even killer outfits are the parents who dished out the dollars.

In conversations with many 20 and 30-something Toronto movers and shakers, it appears that many of us are getting a lot of help from our parents – whether they still pay phone bills, fund businesses or offer generous gifts of down payments on properties.

Out of 10 people questioned, 9 admitted to receiving financial help from their parents after their 25th birthday. Some still are. After all, Consumer Federation of America found that almost 52 per cent of Millennials (aged 18 to 34) have less than $1000 USD in savings.

While it’s not a particularly proud place to be – no matter how many times your parents may remind you of all they had independently accomplished by your age – times are tough for the pavement-pounding young person of today (especially if you live in Toronto). Not only is job security – along with benefits – increasingly absent as we move further to a freelance and precarious work culture, the cost of living (or even just surviving) is at an all-time high. That’s where mom and dad come in.

Of course, the hope is that their assistance will help us advance our lives in our ever competitive and ridiculously expensive cities.

Almost one-third of 30-somethings and more than one-fifth of 40-somethings receive “significant, ongoing” financial support from their parents – and for many, this is a need rather than a luxury.

Apparently, however, this may last well beyond a “dirty thirty” birthday party. A report released last summer reveals that parental help can last into the 30s and 40s for some adults. The report, from the Society of Grownups, revealed that one in three Americans ages 21 to 45 still receives financial help from their parents. In fact, the report states that almost one-third of 30-somethings and more than one-fifth of 40-somethings receive “significant, ongoing” financial support from their parents – and for many, this is a need rather than a luxury. Seventy per cent of those who get parental help say they couldn’t survive without it. Yikes.

There is, however, a silver lining. According to the report, of those who receive financial help, 34 per cent expect to provide financial support to their parents in the next seven years, bringing it all full circle.

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“I do still get help from my parents – more so than I got in high school,” said Lauren, 33 from Toronto. “But the agreement is that – one day – I will pay it all back. I’m in the arts and they have faith that I will do big things, they just don’t want to watch me struggle.”

Some parents would rather help their children out financially when they are still alive to watch them benefit from it instead of leaving it all in a will – it’s going to end up in their kids’ hands either way, they figure (as dark as that sounds).

It’s one thing to accept money from your parents for things like down payments and some living expenses, but it’s quite another to blow through their dollars on frivolous things.

Should you be so fortunate, it’s one thing to accept money from your parents for things like down payments and some living expenses, but it’s quite another to blow through their dollars on frivolous things like clothes, trips and dinners out with all the frills. There’s nothing cute about that. You should give back however you can – whether that means cooking them dinner, stopping by and helping with the housework, or simply expressing your gratitude. It’s also important to keep them updated on your life happenings so they know that the cash is well spent and strategically spent. Finally, it’s key to recognize and appreciate the support you receive – you never should feel entitled to it.

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At the end of the day, it’s their money, not yours. There comes a time – a deadline if you will – that the support needs to end. After all, you don’t want to end up like a large number of middle-aged singles in Japan, who have lived off mom and dad for so long that they are pretty much screwed once their aging parents pass away.

If you need an extra kick to finally cut the financial umbilical cord from the ‘rents, you may want to read this open letter to adults who mooch off their parents.

RELATED LINK: How Toronto Indie Artists are Surviving

Do you think it’s okay to get financial support from your parents? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin is a Toronto-based writer, actor and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis
Erin Davis