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4 min read

How to Help Your Parents in Debt

Stereotypically, it’s our parents who bail us out of problems. From putting us through education to acting as a taxi service, our loved ones usually have our backs. Now we’re older – and hopefully wiser! – its only natural that we want to give something back, especially for parents in debt.

How to help your parents in debt

If family members are struggling with debt, there are several things you can do. In some cases, you might be able to do a grand gesture. For example, this American baseball player surprised his parents by repaying their creditors.

Let’s be realistic for a second though, if you’re reading this you’re probably not a star athlete – or earning the salary of one. Still, this hasn’t stopped many of us from helping out our folks.

Three ways to help parents in debt

When supporting parents in debt, there are a couple of points to make first. To begin with, their situation isn’t your responsibility – unless if the account is in your name. The second thing to bear in mind is that your finances must be in a good place before you start helping others.

After all, the last thing you want is to get deep into debt because of altruism.

1. Offer support

As you’re probably well aware, debt is a very personal matter. As a result, your parents may be reluctant to even discuss the topic. Instead of barging in and taking over, just let your parents know that you’re here to help.

Stressing their debts won’t affect the love you feel for them, offer your support but don’t push the matter. If your parents don’t want your help, there’s unfortunately not much you can do.

2. Repay your parents

Do you owe your parents any money? If so, it’s time to pay it back. Furthermore, if they made any large purchases for you years ago, such as your first car, you could help your parents by reimbursing them if you’re in a financial position to do so.

3. Educate

Perhaps the best way to help your parents isn’t by paying off their debts. Instead, work with them to identify solutions. These options could include:

  • Helping them set up a budget;
  • Going through their expenses and identifying cheaper alternatives;
  • Helping them seek reliable debt advice

There are also a range of debt solutions out there for helping your parents with debt. For example, an IVA could help them get a fresh start on their finances.

Further reading