Daughters’ Financial Emergencies Cause Financial Strain

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Susan from Texas asks:

“As a single mother of two grown daughters, scratching and clawing my way out of substantial credit card and other debt, please give me some ideas about dealing with daughters’ emergencies, specifically health issues, not life-threatening but urgent never the less.”


Tawra Wrote: I was going to work on your question but I was wondering why you are paying for your grown daughters’ medical expenses? Are they in college?

Susan: Thank you for your response, I forgot that I sent that question. But now that you mentioned it…my daughters work full time and dabble in college. Both have health insurance but the one who needed assistance (I volunteered) did not think that it was in effect at the time of the incident. I was going to have the cost of the dental problem put on a credit card but her Dad intervened and paid for it so I was off the hook.

I think the bigger question here is one that I have dealt with for many years and that is, living very sparingly, never having enough to cover unexpected expenses and then putting those unexpected and sometimes living above my means expenses on credit. Now that I live alone I am trying to remedy that as quickly as possible. Guilt as a single parent ends up being very expensive.

Tawra: “Guilt as a single parent ends up being very expensive.” — I would say that sounds like it right there to me.

You don’t need to worry about your daughter’s expenses. I understand being a parent you want to help out but if they are working adults it’s not your responsibility. They need to be responsible with their money and save back money each month to cover what their insurance won’t . If that means cutting the cell phone, eating out or whatever then that’s their responsibility to do it. If you are paying for your own stuff then start living below your means ASAP and try and get that debt paid off. It’s not always easy or fun but it sounds like you need to worry about your expenses and not theirs right now.

I’m not telling you to be unreasonable. If they get $50,000 in medical expenses and need to live with you or whatever to pay it off, of course help them out if you can. But if it’s minor stuff then let them take care of it.

Susan: Thanks so much for your response. Sometimes we answer our own problems when we put pen to paper and it jumps right back at us! I will always be there for my kids; however, I want them to grow up and become accountable and learn from their mistakes and life, etc.


photo by: quazie


  1. dani MarieBernadette says

    Tawra, I have spent my morning reading these debt free articles and one thing that comes to mind over and over is the dire state of our economy. Government seems to think that extending unemployment benefits, mortgage programs (that really don’t come to the aid of many homeowners) and tax credits, are going to bail us out of this crisis. It won’t do anything other than build up more debt across the board.

    What Washington understands is that no-one really wants to work at becoming debt free so they throw all of these instant gratification schemes at us and say they are doing all they can to ease the budget deficit.
    How many people who work for the government in Washington have been inspirational because they have frozen their own salaries or taken a reduced salary?? How many have spoken about reducing their own personal debt?? How many experts have really been brought in to look at and reduce frivolous government spending?? That could save millions right there. How about a White House round table discussion that includes people like you, Jill, Mike and Dave Ramsey to name just a few who have risen out of the ashes and can help teach our country how to do the same.
    We need to incorporate debt free living courses in the Junior High and High School curriculum across the nation. Homeschoolers fare much better when it comes to living without debt because they are taught this at home on a daily basis.
    Okay I will get off my soap box now, but not before thanking you and your family for all you do. May God continue to bless you all abundantly.

    • says

      Oh yeah!! I have to say this is a huge issue with us! The problem isn’t the unemployment or “hard times” it’s people spending money they don’t have!

      They spent and spent while they had money, lose a job and then can’t pay the bills. Why didn’t they have a savings account for “hard times”.

      I have no problem with buying things, if they are totally debt free and have savings to cover their expenses in a hard time. People complain they can’t afford $500 a month for medical insurance but EASILY spend that in eating out, hair and nail appointments and vacations!

      Mom is working on an article about this very thing so I won’t go into it but it just chaps my hide that my taxes are paying to bail people out! Augh!!!!!!


  2. says

    Times haven’t gotten hard enough yet……….most people still have jobs even though unemployment is high. Even if you believe that unemployment is higher than 10 per cent it just means people still have money to play with and unfortunately bad habits die hard.

    Most people under 60 years old have no idea how to live within their means as it has become a birthright to have lots of material luxuries in this country. On top of that our schools do not teach basic economics or anything related to how capitalism works! It is no wonder so many people are ignorant and of course believe any opportunistic politician who promises them something for nothing.

    Time will tell on how long our current problems last. But for those of us who have figured it out we can just keep on plugging away at learning skills and ways to live frugally but well. We need to pray for these folks and our country.

  3. says

    Another thing you can do is try to use alternative medicine.
    Here in Canada we can see a dr. whenever we need or want to. Not always the best alternative. Here are a few examples.
    A neighbour went to the dr and was told she would be off work for 3 weeks and on big time prescriptions. She then went to the chiropractor and he said she had a rib out of place. He saw her twice and she was back to work after the first visit. Ibuprophen was all the pain meds she needed. The chiro cost her $14 for 2 visits. The meds plus the time off work would have cost her about $3000. because she isn’t paid if she isn’t working.
    My sister had one arm so sore and numb she was in agony seeing the dr. who couldn’t discover why. He was going to send her out of town to have tests done but told her it was probably MS. She went to her massage therapist and the therapist pulled on a muscle or tendon and the pain was horrendous according to my sister but when the session was done the pain was almost gone and the numbness was. She had a pinched nerve way up in her shoulder.
    No trip out of town no time lost from work and no more meds.

    sometimes it is less expensive to see a hygenist for your teeth to be cleaned instead of a dentist. If your teeth don’t hurt have them cleaned once a year the hygenists will spot any problems and then send you to the dentist for work. She xrays, and cleans deep and this can save you money on a dentist bill for him to check to see if you have problems. They work as partners in caring for your teeth.

    • says

      Yep, I am seeing a specialized massage therapist in Boulder (500 miles away). He is the first person that given me any real pain relief. We were hoping that we could be moved so I didn’t have to drive 8 hours to see him but I’m going to go as much as I can until we do get moved.

  4. Clare says

    Youngsters need to learn to wait and work for what they want; I have a saying in my family for non-emergency expenses if one of them calls for a “loan”(same one usually).
    “I cannot adjust my budget to meet your expenses”. If they spend their money on non-essentials, I am not going to enable them to do it continually, thereby teaching them that mom or dad will pull them out of the woods when they overspend on “newer” or non-essentials.
    When they call with a monetary problem they have caused themselves, just say, “Oh, that is unfortunate”, and move on. You do not have a responsibility to bail them out of the hole they dug themselves.

  5. says

    make sure you find a dentist who will be honest with you.
    I have had many root canals done and then a year later I have to have the teeth redone or pulled.
    My present dentist has told me he will not do another root canal on me because they just don’t work. He doesn’t know why but any root canal I have had done has gone bad later.
    Money isn’t the issue with me as my husbands work insurance pays 100% of the cost. But my dentist hates to see me in pain for something that has been done but not worked.
    So find a dentist who will not do things that are unnecessary just to get money from you.
    It is hard to do but it is worth it in the short and the long term.
    What ever you do see a hygenist so she can make sure your teeth are sound no matter your age. She can spot problems before they become bigger than your budget.

  6. says

    Don’t feel guilty not helping your adult children. They are just entering their prime earning years while you are at the tail end of yours, planning for retirement. And don’t feel guilt about not helping your grandchildren with college expenses either for the same reason.

  7. Denise says

    This might sound difficult! Let them go. They might need to get second jobs to afford living. Don’t let them take you down with them!

  8. Connie Meyers says

    Well, I think you should suggest to your girls to have an emergency savings account. Just like Dave Ramsey says. If you make more than $20,000.00 a year you should have $1000.00 in savings for emergencies. If you make less than start with $500.00. I know it has saved us more than once. You know we all have emergencies.

  9. Sheri says

    Our tax returns have become our emergency fund. We usually run out just in time to do our taxes again. We do not withhold too much, those are all tax credits.

  10. Grandma says

    Last night we got a call from our bank and when answering his questions and asking our own we found out that the savings account we have had was actually set up as a chequing account. we were paying $10. more for that. So we switched it to a savings account and the fees are now $4. a month as opposed to $14.
    We also upped our RRSP donations by $200. a month. We have 10 years before Don retires so we figured we should have more to live on then and cut back some spending now.
    We opened a tax free savings account for emergencies and unexpected expenses. We can put $15,000 in and then after that $5000. every year and it is all tax free when we take it out. Sort of like an RRSP but we can take money out with no penalty. It has to be in Don’s name because he is the tax payer in the family but I am the beneficiary. This one is good for us since we can do it all on line as the bank is 4 hours away.
    So pay a visit to your bank and find out where you can save on service charges and what plans are best for you to save your money. We didn’t and lost some money for the past 12 years.
    live and learn.

  11. Veronica Tidd says

    Dental costs are a big problem and rarely covered by insurance. Medicare covers a twice yearly cleaning and annual x-rays. Medicaid will pay the entire cost of all dental care but few dentists accept Medicaid. Often the patient has also to bear the cost of transportation, in my area that is about 50 miles. If there is a dental school they may accept patients for the students to work on at little or reduced costs.
    The same problems also apply to the eye care and hearing tests.
    Good care at home and an annual visit to the dental hygienist will go a long way to keeping a healthy mouth.
    My three children had no dental problems will the eldest started school and discovered candy. Also they came home for lunch and made a detour through the bank and picked up the free candy, second child soon had caverties. At 74 I still have a full mouth of teeth although some are crowns.
    However this post was about not helping out children when they get into financial difficulties but it is only after the disaster that people learn how to be prepared, and we were very grateful for family help when we were in severe financial disaster mode through job loss and illness and had exhausted all our financial resources. I thank God every day for the way our problems were finally solved and we have a comfortable retirement.
    As an aside I have lent money to our eldest child and have been paid back in a timely fashion with interest.
    Each situation is unique and only parents who know their children well can decide if a loan is appropriate. I personally would not co-sign a loan but that is an individual decision.

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