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Should Parents Help Their Adult Children Pay Off Loans?

Dave Ramsey

Family Inspiration, Money, & Jobs

Q: Our son is about to graduate from law school. He took out a loan to cover the cost, but we’ve been paying on it for two years to help him out. Right now, the balance on the loan is about $76,000. We could continue paying it off, but my husband is hesitant. How do you feel about this situation??

Dave: It’s not a bad thing if you guys decide to continue helping him out by paying off the rest of the loan. But I don’t want you to feel as if you’re obligated in any way. No deal has been broken here, and you haven’t reneged on a previous agreement. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a young lawyer earning a living and paying off his own debt. He can roll up his sleeves and clean up the mess he participated in making.

If you do decide to pay it off, that’s an incredibly generous gift. In my mind, it should be met with much gratitude and appreciation. It should also be accompanied by a signed letter of agreement from him stating that he will never, except in the case of a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, borrow money again.

In other words, I’d want to see some kind of permanent commitment and recognition of the fact that you guys have changed your family tree. I’d want this kid to be affected in a deep and profound way by this gift; so much so that his kids would also be affected in a positive way by your behavior and by his in the years to come!

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Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations and The Dave Ramsey Channel on iHeart Radio. Follow Ramsey on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at www.daveramsey.com.