Navigating Financial Boundaries with your Parents

Emma Nunes-Vaz
December 15, 2022

As we grow up, we naturally gain more independence from our parents - and although normal, it’s not always easy. When it comes to navigating financial boundaries with them as an adult, they may want you to loan them money, be paid rent whilst you live at home or plan events that are far beyond your budget. Here are a few tips on how to handle these potentially awkward conversations:

1. Chat it out

Have a frank and open conversation about your financial situation and your parents' expectations, building in time to understand each other's perspectives. Be honest and direct with your parents about what you're able to afford, as it's important to set expectations early on so they don't expect more from you than you can give. Don't be afraid of saying “no” if the occasion or cost is too much for you - there will always be other ways to show your love and appreciation! Having an open dialogue about your different financial situations and plans for the future, as well as understanding one another’s financial goals, will help make conversations easier when setting boundaries or making decisions around budgeting and spending habits.

2. Verbalise your boundaries

How much are you willing to contribute to household expenses? How much are your parents willing to help you? Being clear with boundaries can help prevent future misunderstandings and resentment. What’s more, make sure to have a plan in place for any potential loans between family members; like setting up an agreement with clear expectations for repayment - and interest if applicable! 

3. Make a plan

As mentioned previously, it’s always good to have a plan in place. If your parents are providing financial support, consider setting up a repayment plan to pay them back over time; or vice versa! This can help establish a sense of financial independence and responsibility if you’re being loaned to, or allow you to continue saving and keeping to your budget as the loaner.  

4. Consider outside support

Sometimes these conversations are hard to have without outside, objective moderation. If you and your parents can’t see eye to eye with finances, consider consulting with a financial advisor or therapist.

Navigating financial boundaries with your parents as an adult can be difficult, but having an honest and open dialogue is key. Respect each other’s financial situations, stay within your means and remember: there are still plenty of ways to show your love and appreciation without breaking the bank!

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