Monday, January 2, 2012

Still raiding the Bank of Mum and Dad: How a growing number of middle-class 40-somethings are going to their parents for cash

As my dad writes out the cheque, I feel like a teenager again, asking for a new pair of shoes or tickets to see my favourite band.

Except this time I’m a 41-year-old mother-of-two with a house and husband of my own and, really, this shouldn’t be happening.

But times are hard. My husband Colin, a magazine editor, hasn’t had a pay rise in years, and my freelance writing career, while moderately lucrative, hardly has us sloshing around in cash.

There’s usually just enough to cover the basics — the mortgage on our four-bedroom terrace house in North London, food shopping, children’s clothes and repairs on my clapped-out, ten-year old Golf — but our budget can’t stretch to luxuries like the £2,000 flights to this year’s family celebration overseas in Israel. Hence my going cap in hand to my Mum and Dad.

It isn’t the first ‘donation’ they’ve made to the family finances in the past few years, either. They contributed to my eldest son’s pre-school fees when they realised we were stretched to our limit, and even covered the costs of a holiday apartment, again in Israel, last year.

My father, a retired GP who has worked hard all his life, insists it is his pleasure to help us out financially and feels sorry we have to raise a family in such a tough economic climate.

‘We want to make things easier for you and, luckily, we can,’ he tells me kindly when I apologise for leaning on him and Mum. So far, they’ve helped us to the tune of nearly £5,000. Read More