Who is in the right [parent/child finances]

A bit of back-story before I get started. I’m 17 years old, have been employed for approximately 6 weeks and am currently living with my family. I was lucky enough to know someone who helped me get into a pretty good first job (considering my age, qualifications and lack of experience) where I make about £295 per week after tax, while living and working in outer London.

Now the situation is that today when I got back from work my parents told me that they want to build an attic. They seem to have this obsession for building things which they can never afford, so they take out loans or borrow from friends & family. They are always indebted to relatives, companies, banks or friends and their bank accounts are overdrawn most of the time. They got a quote in the region of about £20k for the attic, now they plan on getting 10k from this committee they do with friends where they pool money together and a different couple gets the lump sum every month. As for the other 10k they plan on taking out a bank loan and want me to be paying half of the loan with them every month. The amount is £200 per month so hardly substantial.

Like I said the money isn’t as important an issue as is the way they handle their finances. They are always getting into debt when they could easily not be and I really resent this situation they’re putting me in. I do not have a problem with giving them a part of my wage to pay for bills, utilities etc but this shit really hits a nerve with me. They’re good people and parents and I hate to see them become indebted to others but they don’t listen to me.

Anyway do you think my reasoning is right or wrong, and if any of you guys have any possible solutions for this please share.

You are living with your family, and so far haven’t even chipped in for a take-out meal. You’re
taking home 1200 pounds a month, and you’re miffed about having to kick in a sixth of your net income?

Wake up, Longshanks. You couldn’t get room and board anywhere else for 200 a month. Pay it, and call yourself lucky.

If you are unhappy with how they are living, by all means move out and do things your way.

This isn’t an adult who is living at home. I find it odd for parents to expect a teen to chip in on home improvement projects. Parents are supposed to support their kids, not the other way around. Kids should certainly help do dishes, take out the trash and pitch in around the house, and if your parents fell ill then certainly help out with money, but it’s really strange that the parents are taking out a loan for an elective project on their house and expect their 17 year old to pay half?

There are arguments that £200 a month is fair for what you’re getting, and I wouldn’t entirely dispute that, except you’re 17. It’s certainly not normal for parents to expect money from their 17-year-old unless there are real financial issues. I wouldn’t say it’s reasonable either. I suppose it’s one of those situations where someone has the right to ask for something, but they still shouldn’t.


It is too “normal” to expect someone who has a full time job to contribute to expenses.

This is how the parents have decided to do it.

If the OP doesn’t like the situation, he is free to move out.

This is interesting; if you were an older parent moving in with grown children, you would probably get the same responses. You should pay your way, and you can’t tell adults how to run their lives.

How much are utilities - electric, water, etc? Would they be comparable? Would you feel better about doing it that way? Or are you just hoping to talk them out of doing the attic?

I disagree with this - Longshanks is in no way responsible for his parents’ bad financial decisions, and should not be held responsible for their (probably unnecessary) loan. That said, an adult child who is working and making good money should indeed be paying an agreed-upon, monthly rent to their parents - say, one-third of your income. They can do what they want with it - they can use it to help them build an attic, they can use it to pay bills, or they can use it for hookers and blow.

ETA: It will also help you get used to the idea that you will be paying a good chunk of your take-home for rent or mortgage for the rest of your life. Welcome to adulthood! :slight_smile:

You say they have always been this way and won’t listen to you, so there probably isn’t much you can do to change them. And besides, it’s not really your place to question how your parents spend their money, although I agree that they don’t appear to be acting wisely. It’s sounds as though you have learned that there is a better way, so that’s good.

So, if you think the amount they want from you is fair, then just pay it and don’t worry about how they distribute it.

It’s not that easy to move out at 17. I would say it’s also not normal to use the “if you don’t like it you can move out” card on your 17-year-old kid (not just "someone"). And they’re apparently not asking for money for expenses (well, not in normal sense of the word for the context) but for an expensive project they don’t seem to be able to afford.

Lots of leaping to conclusions going on here.

Some questions for Longshanks,

Is the money they are asking for on top of contributing to rent/board/utilities or is that all you’d be expected to pay?

If it’s the former, then yes you have every right to kick up.

If it’s the latter, then consider it “board” and what they spend it on is their business, regardless of whether you approve or not.

The OP hasn’t even reached the age of majority, has been working for all of a month and a half, and he needs to either pay expenses or move out? Really? Damn. Do you all charge your 17-year-olds rent from their summer jobs?

I get the feeling there are a lot of slightly bitter parents here, judging by the scoldings young people get whenever they ask a question like this.


I cannot imagine asking my 17 yo son (he’s only 15 at the moment) to pay any part of the household expenses. He will have to pay for his car insurance, gas, spending money, possibly his cell phone bill (we pay that now because we want to be in contact).

Once he’s an adult and out of school, if he’s still here, yeah, he’ll have to contribute, but even then, if I want to add onto my house, that’s on me and my husband, not him.

You should see the relationship threads, sometimes I wonder if a lot of posters here aren’t secretly divorce lawyers.

If I’d been pulling in nearly two grand (US Dollars) a month after taxes when I was 17 years old, I wouldn’t have been surprised if my parents had asked me to contribute. But I wasn’t - I was making just a bit over minimum wage at a fast-food pizza place.

If you’re making grownup money, you can have some grownup expenses.

You can’t really equate it to $2000 in the US because of the cost of living and such. I imagine £1200 in the UK buys you about the same as $1200 in the US.

The way that I read the OP is that he has left school, and has started his working life.

To me, that means you’re an adult - regardless of how old you are.

Well, then that would fall under this part of my post:

In the USA the OP couldn’t legally move out if he wanted to, and he couldn’t sign any contracts like lease etc.

There is also no guarantee this job will work out, how will your parents cover your part of the loan payment should you lose your job?