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offering to help with a credit card bill

(103 Posts)
Nannarose Tue 22-Jan-19 08:10:48

I would like your opinions. At my son's yesterday, looking at some paperwork he had asked my opinion on, I saw, inadvertently, some notes he had made for his wife about their finances. They are paying off a £5k credit card bill.
I am in a position to offer to pay this off, and then they could pay me back. They know this (discussion about my finances last year) so must have decided not to approach me.
Between them they have a full-time well paid job and a part-time medium paid job. I know of no reason for them to be in this sort of debt. They are not extravagant, but I have had the impression over some years that my DiL is not a good manager of money.
I suspect they haven't come to me, because they know that I have always cut my coat according to my cloth, and saved, which is why I was able to give them a house deposit and have some savings of my own now. They would know my main feeling is disappointment.

The only way I can think of offering is to admit that I saw the paper. I could say, truthfully, 'oh, I didn't read it, but as I picked it up from the floor, I saw reference to a credit card debt, you know I would like to help with that'. But I do know it would embarrass them - and possibly cause an upset as I think that was rather daffy DiL who left it lying around.

So do, I do that, and save them the cost of servicing the debt, or do I keep quiet?

janeainsworth Tue 22-Jan-19 08:18:56

Keep quiet.
It’s their business. If they have a well paid job and a medium paid job, they should be able to pay it off themselves before too long. Seeing how much interest the credit company charge may be a salutary lesson for them.
And don’t blame your DiL!

Telly Tue 22-Jan-19 08:22:55

You must of course say nothing. They are responsible adults in well paid work so how they manage their finances is up to them. In your post you seem to assume that this is the solely due to your Dil who you also refer to as daffy. I would suggest that airing your disappointment at how they run their lives will do nothing to improve your relationship. I would leave well alone.

Auntieflo Tue 22-Jan-19 08:28:09

As Janeainsworth says, keep quiet.
Your son has asked for advice on a financial matter, so you may be able to bring up the interest rates charged on credit cards.
Or, point him in the direction of the Martin Lewis programmes, where good advice is given.
On the other hand, the papers you inadvertantly saw, may have been left out 'accidently on purpose'.

jusnoneed Tue 22-Jan-19 08:30:34

Don't mention anything about it. They should learn to pay their own debts, if you pay things off for them they won't manage money any better. It sounds as if you have already given them plenty of your hard saved money.
My parents made that mistake with my brother and he was forever asking for more, went on for years until my dad finally said no. I dread to think how much they gave him.

mumofmadboys Tue 22-Jan-19 08:31:14

I think say nothing and only offer if they ask for help.

Purpledaffodil Tue 22-Jan-19 08:31:45

Agree with above posters, keep well out. There are lots of offers on transfer onto 0% deals. They are grownups who should manage their own finances.

sodapop Tue 22-Jan-19 08:38:53

I agree with purpledaffodil There are deals around to help. Your son is prepared to clear this debt and should do so. Experience hopefully will prevent this happening again.

kittylester Tue 22-Jan-19 08:44:54

Exactly what everyone else has said - especially the bit about blaming your dil.

Younger people see credit card bills differently and maybe don't see it as an issue.

Luckygirl Tue 22-Jan-19 08:51:27

Just say nowt!

Mapleleaf Tue 22-Jan-19 09:03:46

I understand that you want to help, but unless they approach you for help, then I would advise that you leave them to sort it out themselves.
I agree with others on the thoughts about your dil, too. To maintain a good relationship with your son and dil, say nothing.

Bathsheba Tue 22-Jan-19 09:09:12

No, keep quiet. It's not your business unless they make it your business.

Izabella Tue 22-Jan-19 09:15:11

I would not even go there. Settling the bill gives whoever is responsible an easy way out and a subliminal message that its ok to overspend in the future.

Karanlouise Tue 22-Jan-19 09:16:38

As everyone says above I wouldn't say anything unless they ask. They may consider this as an acceptable debt that they have budgeted for. I would try and drop changing to 0% credit card into a previous conversation though.

David1968 Tue 22-Jan-19 09:16:52

I agree, keep quiet & let them take responsibility for this. (Clearly they appear to be doing this.)

paddyann Tue 22-Jan-19 09:28:23

£5000 isn't a lot of money nowadays ,I wouldn't get worried about that amount .Really its nothing to do with you,just give advice on the things he asked about and dont ever think that all their financial ills are one sided .Your son wont thank you for blaming his wife so keep quiet.

Bridgeit Tue 22-Jan-19 09:42:43

Lovely of you to want to, but IMO it would be a mistake, leave them to sort it out for themselves & be pleased that they want to, It will be of some comfort to you & them that if it really goes badly you would be prepared to help when & if absolutely necessary.
Also I think it’s a good idea to agree that even smallest amount could & should be paid back on a monthly bases. Best wishes

J52 Tue 22-Jan-19 09:44:52

Another vote for keep quiet, for the reasons others have given. I’d just keep my money ‘in reserve’ just in case there’s an emergency and you really have to help them ou.
Like you we’ve given DCs money for deposits etc. We consider this an expedient use of financial gifts, but on a day to day basis they must manage their own money and lives.

Grannybags Tue 22-Jan-19 09:51:05

I'd keep quiet too, although I understand you wanting to pay it for them.

Lindylou23 Tue 22-Jan-19 09:56:33

We paid off credit card for then single daughter and she ran up debt s again so we paid it off, it was only the last time we refused and she learnt her lesson, ps so did we

DotMH1901 Tue 22-Jan-19 09:57:14

How nice of you to think of helping but I agree with the other posters who say leave them to sort it out themselves. They need to learn to budget and control their spending and, if you continue to help them that will not happen. It is hard to see people struggle but often it is the making of them in the end.

tickingbird Tue 22-Jan-19 09:58:22

I advise keeping quiet. As a mum of AC i have helped out many times financially but you can’t live their life for them. Sometimes you have to allow them to get on with it and bailing them out all the time (I know they haven’t asked) doesn’t necessarily do them any favours.

CarlyD7 Tue 22-Jan-19 09:58:24

How will they ever learn to manage their money if you pay off the debt for them? They will probably just carry on as they are, and accumulate another huge credit card bill this year - nothing will change (and how likely is it that you would get the money back? Very unlikely, I would say). You must employ some Tough Love and see it as an opportunity for them. If you do offer, then the unspoken message is "I don't have faith in you to do this for yourselves" which is a cruel thing to say to an adult child. And stop blaming your DIL - they're a couple and, even if she is the spender, your son has to learn what to do about it - paying off their debt themselves is an excellent opportunity to do that.

OldSal Tue 22-Jan-19 09:59:27

I understand you wanting to help but they haven't asked for it. Perhaps you could help by treating them to a holiday, they may not have the disposable income after paying the loan to treat themselves this year. Just a thought.

Kerenhappuch Tue 22-Jan-19 10:00:09

Another vote for not getting involved. If they are confronting the debt and paying it off, it will encourage them not to get into debt again.

I've seen in my own family how someone can get used to being 'rescued' financially. In the long run, this led to what I consider a lot or irresponsibility - eg buying things they couldn't have afforded, giving money away to people 'worse off than me' etc. I decided giving money to this person really wasn't helpful when I saw what was happening (I wasn't the benefactor).