There’s a general expectation that taking money from your parents ends once you leave the nest. In reality, there can be plenty of times when — either begrudgingly or enthusiastically — you’ll accept cash. But not everyone agrees on where to draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s not.
To open up the conversation, here are 13 readers talking honestly about if and why they take money from their parents.
1. Hell yeah, I take money. I am married to an artist and raising two kids in NYC. I wouldn’t be able to do it without financial help from my parents. I feel no guilt — I’m an only child.
2. My dad still pays my car insurance. It’s a direct draft from his account, so he may not even realize that he does it. I will never remind him. It’s less than a hundred bucks a month, but I consider it my only inheritance.
3. I would most certainly take money if anyone were offering. But maybe not from my mom because it’s nice not to need her for anything or give in to her insanity.
4. When I graduated from college, I refused to take money from my parents — ever. Money comes with strings and I didn’t want my first phase of independence to come with caveats about where I should live or who my roommates could be. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized not only my own financial limitations, but also that generosity doesn’t have to feel like a noose. We accepted money from both sets of parents for our wedding day. We were lucky and grateful.
5. My folks help out more than I’d like them to, and when they do it’s for major home improvements that they know would take a long time to do if we had to save up — it would take us years. My folks seem to enjoy seeing us use the money toward these improvements and always mention how much my mom’s parents helped them at my age.
6. This is a very timely question, as we are trying to buy a house. You’d think two people in their mid-30s who have been working successfully for 15 years would have enough liquid assets to purchase a modest apartment. But no. I take pride in the fact that I paid for my rent during college and never thought of borrowing or taking money from my folks after that. But at this moment, if they hoisted $100,000 on my lap with no strings attached, I’d take it. And feel ashamed. But I’d still take it.
7. My dad gives me the legal limit he can give every year before it would be taxed. The thinking is that there’s no estate tax on this money — it’s an advance on my inheritance. It isn’t much: only $11 or $13,000.
8. My parents paid for most of my wedding last year, so I try not to ask them for money anymore. That said, if they offer it to me, I’ll take it off their hands.
9. Never. Not needing or wanting money from my family is so integral to my sense of freedom. I would never want to be indebted to my father, who would expect me to castrate myself for every cent.
10. My parents are not in the picture, but my husband’s are. I know they give a ton of financial help to his sister, who needs it more than us. They have never given us money and we would never ask. But I wish they would offer to contribute to our son’s education. If they would pay for private school (we live in NYC, so that’s big) or start a college fund, I’d happily, graciously accept. They’ve never mentioned it.
11. When my husband had a pulmonary embolism he was in the hospital for a long time, causing him to use all his sick days and remaining vacation time. He ended up being out of work without pay for a month before Aflac kicked in. My salary covered the utilities and incidentals, but not the mortgage. My in-laws helped us with a mortgage payment.
12. My mom helps us out with Christmas. We say all the gifts are from Santa, only one is from us, and the other is from my parents.
13. When I graduated from college I struggled to find a job. My mom helped me with groceries and some of my electric bills. She didn’t have a lot of money but understood the reason I was in this situation in the first place: to better my future by getting an education.