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Ask Dr. Meg: Grandparents Give My Kids Too Much Money

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Dr. Meg Meeker

Hello,

Thank you for all of the great information your have provided!

I would really like to know your thoughts on grandparents giving “grown” adult (19 and 20) grandchildren larger amounts of money – when the parents of the children do not agree (and have expressed their opinions to the parents/grandparents). It makes it so challenging for the parents!

Thank you,

In the Middle

Dear In the Middle –

I know that this is hard, but it is very important for grandparents to honor their adult children’s parenting wishes. This is important for several reasons. First, you don’t want to undermine parents in front of the children. If a grand parent goes against a parent’s wishes concerning something as important as giving money to grand kids, the message the grandkids get is that their parents don’t know what they’re doing or that they aren’t generous. Second, doing this would strain your relationship with your children. Remember, your relationship with them is far more important than money. Finally, ask yourself if your children could be right. It may well be that they don’t want their 19 and 20 year olds to have money because they fear that these young adults may either use the money unwisely or that the money might affect the work ethic of their children.

I understand your heart in wanting to give your grandchildren money. This is very kind, selfless and generous. I would suggest that you speak with a financial counselor and ask for suggestions about setting up a trust where the parents can be co-trustees of the trust. That way, the money is still invested on behalf of the grandkids and the parents of the grandkids have say over when they can get it.

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