Dear Parents: Sometimes your adult children experience difficult financial times and you want to help them out. Yet you might feel badly that you aren’t treating your children ‘equally.’

Dear Children: Sometimes, one of you may need financial help from your parents while the rest of you are economically stable or even better off. Yet, you may feel that it’s not ‘fair’ that mom and dad are helping your sibling through tough times (and perhaps more than once.)

A July 2014 survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling, a Boston nonprofit, found that one in three U.S. households provide financial assistance to adult children. That’s at a higher rate than those that support elderly parents (1 in 5). So there are many of you out there and lots of resentment that is stirring among siblings.

Let’s face it … money squabbles don’t bring out the best in us. Resentment can bubble under the surface and make pop out as conflict down the road.

What is an alternative for parents to consider?

Perhaps parents could “loan” their child money (at a reasonable interest rate) that serves as an advance on his/her inheritance? It’s payable in say 30 years or upon the death of the second parent. If the child is able to pay it off while the parents are still living, that’s great. But if not, it will be deducted from their inheritance (of course, assuming that there is money left to distribute).

This is a creative approach because it isn’t perceived by the other children as a handout or yet another gift.

What seems unfair might not be equal in the short run — yet it can be in the long term.


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