Who is in the right [parent/child finances]

The average UK salary is in 2014 is 26,500 pounds. cite.

The average US salary in 2012 was** 44,321.67.** cite.

At current rates, **26,500 **pounds converts to… 43687.90 dollars. Almost a perfect conversion.

So I’m comfortable with saying that he’s pulling in about two grand US a month.

Except you are missing her point, that the cost of living in Great Britain means that the equivalent of 2 grand USD doesn’t buy in Great Britain what it buys in the U.S.: http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/news/uk-vs-us-do-we-really-pay-more/

It is not “normal” to expect a 17 year old child to pay for his parents’ decision to live beyond their means. In the U.S. (I realize the OP is not in this country) parents have an obligation to support their children at least until the children turn 18. Also in the U.S., a 17 year old child is not “free to move out”. Most landlords will not rent to an unemancipated minor.

It’s not unreasonable to expect employed people in the household to pay some sort of board.

On the other hand, it would grind my gears too to have it explicitly labelled as “my contribution to to costs of project XYZ (that I totally don’t give a toss about)”

I think stui has the best advice in the thread - £50 a week is not unreasonable for board, just think of it as that and take no notice what they’re spending it on.

OTOH, you may want to SAY that explicitly to them - that the agreement is that you’ll pay that much while you’re working and while you’re living there. It’s not impossible that you might be moving out, maybe with friends to a share house or something like that, within the period of the loan. It would be bad to be considered still “on the hook” for the expenses of it even if you don’t care about the attic project and aren’t living there (or lose your job)

Oh, one more thing about the grown up world - your parents aren’t the only ones out there who really REALLY love their renovating projects. If they’re not actually on the breadline, just think of it like their hobby - it’s probably something they enjoy, that they can do together, yeah it costs money but so do most people’s hobbys. And borrowing for renovations rather than waiting to save the cash is a pretty bog-standard way of going about it too. Your parents are into something that you don’t see the attraction of, but it’s not actually all that weird.

That’s what I’m wondering about, too - to make that high a salary at 17 years old, it doesn’t sound like a part-time job after school. If the OP is indeed working full-time, I would have no problem expecting him to pay rent to his parents. That was always the rule in my house - no rent was expected while you were in school (high school or university), but if you were just working, then you got to pay some rent to live at home. That arrangement makes a lot of sense to me; it goes a long way towards putting the adult child/parent relationship on a more mature level.

Cat-Take my POV with a grain of salt, but: IMO once you’re paying to live with family, you are no longer their child, you are a tenant, and the relationship needs to go forward accordingly.

I guess you are in the US and have little experience of the economics of the UK in general and London in particular.

To give you an idea how completely unrealistic your comparison is, let’s transpose “New York” for “London”. Now imagine what you would think if someone attempted the calculation you just did, using average salary across the whole of the US as a benchmark for what it takes to live in New York…

To add to that, onthis pageit indicates that the average London salary is GBP35,367. London is well up in the list of the most expensive places in the world to live and this kid is getting well below average salary. He’s probably doing pretty well for a 17 year old, but he’s not raking it in.

Presumably the attic room (I presume you meant they’re converting the roof space into an attic “room”) is going to increase the value of the property.

As you’re being asked to pay for this home improvement it’s only right you should benefit from it.

Ask them to get a free house price evaluation prior to the improvement, and one after. Tell them that you’ll happily help to pay for the conversion, as long as when the house is sold, or when you do eventually move out, you get your percentage share of any profit made from the conversion.

That way, they get to have their attic conversion, and you get a return on the investment.

Or, say no.

Forgot to add to my previous post…

I don’t know where you live in outer London, but where I am in south west London, an extra bathroom and bedroom can add up to £100,000 to the value of the property.

Seems like there’s a lot of hair splitting and semantics happening here.

I come from neither the US nor the UK. Speaking from my personal life
a) Had I a full time job before I reached the age of majority - my parents would have treated me as an adult. If that meant paying “board” so be it. If that meant helping me sign a lease also so be it. But where I come from the more common route would have been to rent a room - for which you don’t sign a tenancy agreement of any form.
b) It is probably also important to hear how the parents are thinking of this. Are they explicitly saying this is your contribution as a working adult to household expenses? Or are they kinda sorta saying that they want to involve you in making the house more expensive.
c) As to the ROI idea - is the house coming to the OP eventually? is he an only child? How will the renovations benefit him directly? (will the additions give him more privacy and allow him to live in the house as an adult rather than their child?)

I think a lot of people are missing another, or more important, question the OP is asking; his parents are spending too much money and are becoming indebted too much.

I had/have the same problem with one of my parents and unfortunately the following advice didn’t work for me. The usual response I get is “I’m an adult and do not need to be told how to do my finances.”

However, if they are willing to cooperate. I would ask them that before you agree to chip in for the renovation, everybody sits down and tracks the finances of your parents and how they are planning on paying off their existing debt and how they will handle this potential new debt. It will give them, and you, a proper overview if it is feasible and you can make clear to them you do not approve of their spending habits.

Maybe I’m reading the OP wrong. In that case move out and party.

It’s quite normal in the UK, for parents to expect their live-at-home offspring who are earning, to pay a nominal ‘board’ - sometimes this is at a level that is more of a gesture than a genuine contribution to household funds.

Some parents tell me that they don’t actually spend this money - they secretly save it and give it back to the son/daughter to help with expenses when they get married, buy their own house/car, or go off to university, etc. For other parents, it’s just a much-needed contribution to the endless cost of running a household. It’s expensive to live here.

The only unusual part of the story is the detail about the parents saying how they intend to allocate the money.

To clarify some points to everyone.

I have left full time education and am working 5 days a week.

I haven’t yet began paying my parents for ‘room and board’ but would be fine to chip in a couple hundred every month as I said in my OP.

The problem I have with my my parents is that they would rather have me paying them to help for this loan that they are planning on taking out.

I understand that for some it is a hobby, an example is the studio flat they made in the back of the garden a couple of years ago. They spent 20k on it making a bathroom, kitchen and living room, half of the money they used was from the committee thing and the other half was borrowed from people, myself included (life savings as a child). I agree that the price of the house has already significantly increased due to it and will do so again if they make an attic. But since they plan on living here for the rest of their lives, the financial payoff would most likely be in a couple of decades.

Also I don’t care if other people mess up their finances(family included, god knows how much stupid shit people have done with their money in my family) but I don’t want to be dragged into it with them.

The bank loan is some special offer where they borrow 8.5k pay back 9.5k over a period of 60 months, so about 5 years.

Umm…have they paid that money back? With interest? Because I would be significantly pissed off in your shoes if that was not the case (and if they’ve been borrowing from you when you were 15 and at school, I’m no longer at all surprised you don’t have much tolerance for home improvement projects)

If you’ve left school, paying some rent/board is certainly reasonable. I’d make a counter-offer to your parents: You will pay 250 or 300, even, but it’s rent, not part of the project.

The reason I say this is that five years is a long commitment. In 3-4, you may want to get married, or move out of London, or any number of things. If you are committed to help make the payments, then presumably you will have to keep paying even if you move out. If it’s rent, you have more flexibility and you aren’t so tied up in their finances. It keeps the boundaries more firm.

I would also not assume you are getting the whole house eventually. That’s a very long time frame. Even if you have no siblings, one of your parents could die, the other remarry, and the house end up in other hands entirely. It could burn down. They could lose it in a bad financial collapse. Do not make any decisions based on “It’ll be my house, at some point”.

I would never charge my child a penny, nor would I accept their constructive criticism on my finances, however.

Strongly disagree, he’s earning, he pays his way. If anything the £200 is a token amount and he’s lucky it isn’t more.

This, for me, is the critical point here.

Longshanks, you clearly have a better grasp of finances than your parents, well done to you. You can’t tell your parents how to spend their money but they also can’t expect to tell you how to spend yours.

If I was you, I’d say that I am happy to pay rent for the time you live with them, and it’s up to them what they do with this money, but this money should not tie you in to some loan they are choosing to take out. In a year or two, you might want to move out, and the last thing you want is some expectation from your parents that you will continue to pay ‘your share’ of their debt.

To reassure you, legally you won’t be responsible for any of their debt, as presumably your name won’t be involved with the bank, but you don’t want to fall out with your parents over it or feel obligated, so make it clear up front now. In writing, preferably.

(BTW, to the Americans in this thread, in the UK at age 16 you can leave school, leave home, join the army, have sex, rent a home (if you have an adult guarantor), choose your own doctor, consent to medical treatment, drink beer with a meal in a restaurant or pub, and get married. At 17 you can buy a firearm and ammunition, yes, you read that right!)

But again, they aren’t asking him to pay his way. They are asking him to join them in borrowing money from a third party and commit to helping pay that third party back.

If he’d started a thread saying “I have left school, work full time, and live with my parents. They want me to pay 20% of my income in rent/board, is that fair?” it would be a very different thread.