My Adult Daughter Is Single, Living on Her Own, but Has Personal Debt.

Updated on December 07, 2016
A.M. asks from Saint Louis, MO
21 answers

My daughter wants to get help from a financial consultant. However, she doesn't make enough money to pay her student loan. I would like to offer my advice in helping her get on track with her financial problems. She is 37 years old. Keeping on top of her finances has always been a problem with her. Just not very organized. Would it be out of bounds for me to offer my assistance?

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answers from Boston on

I was married to someone who is disorganized and financially irresponsible. Every time his dad helped him out, it set back his growth in being able to seek the help and make the changes that he needed to get this under control. He's 48 and still struggling, and his dad is still bailing him out.

Seeing a professional would be a good step for her. She needs to own this and do it without a parent helping.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Do not give her advice unless she asks you for advice. To do so can cause anger. I suggest that seeing a financial planner is a good idea.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

This post is confusing me. Is she asking YOU to pay for her financial consultant? Pay for her student loan? What?

If she just said I want to meet with a financial consultant, I would say "great idea honey." At 37 she should be able to pay her bills. Either she is living beyond her mean, or she needs to improve her job earning potential.

Honestly, you need to stay out of this and let her figure it out.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Why would you want to butt in when she is talking about going to a financial consultant?
Good for her.
Let her figure this out on her own.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

In my early adulthood (about a decade younger than your daughter), I took a financial planning class through my local community college. It was less than $100, and by far the best money I've ever spent. If your daughter has expressed interest in getting help, maybe you could help her by seeing if there are any classes she could take on the topic.

I do not suggest you help by trying to teach her yourself. That is likely to go very badly.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If she doesn't ask you for any advice, then don't offer her any.
Her personal debt is her personal problem.
She's got to take care of this on her own.
When I was on my own by my mid 20's - I learned I couldn't share my financial info with my mom.
She just wanted to jump all over everything so I learned to not provide details in certain areas.
If your daughter is still discussing these things with you, maybe you guys should adopt a 'don't ask/don't tell policy'.
It'll be easier on the both of you if you both just keep private things private.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

At 37 if she can't manage her finances, I'd say she has more of a problem then just being disorganized. Sounds like she is living like the 20 year olds are, which is not a good thing.

If she can't pay her student loan, she might need to find more income. I don't know. I think I agree that she needs to be able to fall so she understands the value of money. My parents are always there for me if I NEED money to keep a roof over my head (my husband was unemployed a while ago and they were able and willing to help us), but they know if I ask, I have exhausted ALL other options. She needs to learn what all of the other options are.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Why wouldn't you want her to meet with a financial consultant? I would think she would benefit from talking to an objective person who can look at her entire financial picture (income, student loans, debt, monthly expenses) plus her goals. Of course you want her to find someone objective, but usually people say to have a different financial planner from your CPA/tax accountant - and they keep an eye on each other.

I think, at 37, she's on her own and there's nothing you have to offer that she's going to listen to. You had your chance, and she didn't listen or follow through. Stay away or she'll either resent you or want you to lend her money. Don't let money govern your relationship.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I think that after a certain point, the parent should step away and let the adult child be accountable to a professional. It's ok when the kid is 16, or 18, or early 20s, and dealing with life's business for the first time. That's when teaching happens (how to fill out a rental application, how to apply for a loan, how to balance a checkbook, how to get insurance, etc).

But if financial irresponsibility, or addictive behaviors, or social media blunders, or employment problems, or personal hygiene/poor housekeeping issues persist until the adult child is way past his/her mid-twenties, into his/her thirties, and now, like your child, when they're nearly 40, it's time to help them find professional guidance.

It sounds as though your daughter has developed some really bad habits when it comes to organization of finances, and she hasn't listened to you up till now, and she's probably not going to listen to you at this point. Teaching time is over.

A financial counselor can help her refinance her student loans, and provide her with the tools she needs to get control of her life. I wouldn't offer any assistance other than, if it's possible, paying for a session with a financial planner, and perhaps even going with her if she's hesitant or fearful or reluctant. But don't step in and straighten her life out yourself. Make her accountable to a professional.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Ask her to look at the Dave Ramsey website and consider going to his financial peace university and also start reading his books which are in the library and listening to the podcasts.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Buy her the book The Wealthy Barber.

It's basically a book about living below your means so you can save money to someday be wealthy.

I was fortunate that I read the book in my early 20's. I now give this book to all High school/college graduates.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Your daughter is 37 years old. She can't keep track of her finances? Why? Because you always bail her out. She knows she has a safety net. STOP GIVING HER A SAFETY NET!!

She has a degree - in what? Underwater basket weaving? Why can't she put that degree to work?

Many banks offer financial counseling. She SHOULD go to her bank and ask if they have financial counseling and get her butt in there and start taking control of her life and her finances.

As her mom? You should tell her she needs to take control. She needs to learn. If someone can offer that to her? GO FOR IT!! However, she seems to need more than just financial planning assistance. Is she ADD and needs medication to keep her on track? What? She's 37 years old. She really needs to find her path.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Your daughter is good and grown. A decent financial consultant will help her see her financial picture clearer and better than her mother. She has already decided how she would like to handle her financial problems by seeking out trained professional help.

Your point of view of her financial picture isn't the only point of view there is which is why she is seeking out a professional to help her. She is being smart.

We all come from somewhere in this journey of life and none of us is perfect at everything without some trial and error, some bumps and bruises but we live and learn. Let her learn her way and move forward into being debt free and still independent.

Give her your emotional support on her decision on how to tackle her financial problem and see how it pans out. I would even encourage her to seek out at least 3 different financial consultants so she can get varying opinions on how to tackle her finances.

I've been to several financial consultants and they have been super helpful over the years. I will probably be seeing one for the upcoming year because my finances will be having dramatic changes and I need to know the best approach to handling the impact of the decisions I want to make for my future. It's just wise to have a multitude of wise counselors in many areas of life from physical, to legal, to emotional. to financial and beyond. Kudos to her. Your role is to encourage her to soar.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

The extent that you should be involved would be giving her a Dave Ramsey book and telling her that financial consultants usually make money by people investing - not by people saving their money.

Then step away.

If she hasn't been able to do this by age 37, she will not be willing to let you micromanage her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It depends. Would she like your assistance? Are you qualified to offer her assistance? Can you do this without being judgmental? What I do think that you can do is ask her if she'd like some help sorting through where she is and what she needs to do to move forward. Just putting her on a budget won't help if she doesn't stick to it. And neither will a financial consultant. Does she really not make enough or does she spend more than she makes? She might need a little therapy before a financial counselor will be of any help (and not just another expense).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm so not getting into a clearly strained relationship between an adult woman and her mother.
pretty much everyone, single, married, cohabitating, whatever, has personal debt.
yes, it needs to be managed.
since she's looking for a professional consultant and hasn't asked for your sage guidance, i'd butt out.
take her out for a nice lunch and chat about fun things.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Ditto Southern Yankee.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Yes. She's 37, not 17. She is responsible for her own credit rating. Many people find they can't pay off student loan debt and they never overcome it. That's why we need free public college educations. Starting out at least in a state college or two the seeing how that goes.

People coming out of college shouldn't have thousands of dollars in debt. I have friends who have 6 kids and are getting to be middle aged and are still paying off their student loan debt. That's crazy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

It depends on your relationship.

Are you offering only give advice and could this be misunderstood as offering to give her money?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

she needs professional help. you can help her find the right professional to help her

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

By assistance do you mean giving her money? If so, have at it. We all appreciate parents who have it to give and do so out of the kindness of their hearts.

Will it help her get back on track? Will she appreciate it?

If you mean just sitting down and talking /walking her thru how to do her monthly balance budget work then have at that too...better late than never.

As long as your coming from love and not bitterness or pity you'll be fine!

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