Using the Grandchild for Money

Reader Question: My wife and I have been helping our adopted daughter financially for some time. She’s 25, has been married for three years, and we don’t see this cycle stopping anytime soon. The worst part is, they will often throw in that our grandchild will go without something unless we help. We’re certain this isn’t teaching them to stand on their own feet, but we don’t know what else to do.

You’re right about one thing. It’s time they both learned how to handle money like mature, responsible adults. I don’t know how much your tried to teach her about finances when she was growing up, but it sounds like this “needing help” thing is turning into an endless cycle.

You’re giving them money left and right, and it’s not working. You’re giving them fish, and you’ve heard that whole saying. You could also teach them to fish and then not give them any fish, but I like a third choice in this scenario – give them fish only if they take fishing lessons. They get no more money from you unless they get financial counseling together and make a serious move toward straightening up their lives.

If they try to play on your feelings by saying your grandchild is hungry, tell them to send the child over for a meal. If they run out of money until payday, tell them to go to their financial counseling session to find answers. Right now, every time they have a problem they call mom and dad. Guess what? They don’t have any problems as long as you’re doing what you’re doing.

Love them well. Hold their hands and say, “When I was your age, I wish someone had done this for me. I’m not going to give you any more money unless you go to financial counseling sessions regularly and together. If you do this, turn in a budget to us and let us coach you on how to be adults and handle your own money well, we’ll help and set up a matching system. If you don’t do the matching part though, you won’t see anything from us.”

They’ve figured out if they hold your feet to the fire when it comes to this grandbaby, you’re going to open the wallet. They’re playing you right now, and it’s not to their benefit – or yours!

Dave Ramsey

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays online at www.daveramsey.com. Send your questions toaskdave@daveramsey.com. He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee.

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