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Millennials turning to 'Bank of Mum and Dad' are putting parents at risk without proper loan documentation

Millennials turning to 'Bank of Mum and Dad' are putting parents at risk without proper loan documentation

Young people are turning to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ under pressure, research shows, but it can be damaging for their backers,

‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ putting parents at risk

New evidence from researchers at the University of Copenhagen shows that, when short of cash, many young people, even up to age 39, turn to the Bank of Mum and Dad.

This extends to New Zealand and our housing market, with a 2018 report showing more than half of all first-home buyers purchased properties with the help of their parents. But this can be a damaging practice for those doing the lending.

And it’s not just for home buying, in similar countries to New Zealand socially it’s becoming an increasingly important form of social insurance.

Bruce Sheppard is founder and managing partner of Auckland accounting firm Gilligan Sheppard.

He talked with RNZ’s Sunday Morning about the Bank of Mum and Dad.

He says there are problems caused by both children and parents not thinking critically about whether giving or lending to the children is a good idea for the parents’ own welfare. He also recommends extra caution in the post-Covid economy when it comes to deciding whether to buy a house.

“What really bothers me, is the expectation that children have that they can render their parents impecunious to further their own needs.

“The insidious bit of this is not all parents are as comfortably off as they think they are. Sometimes parents mortgage their own homes to provide money to their children.

“The younger generation is eyeing the accumulated wealth of the baby boomer population – which isn’t universally held but there is a reasonable chunk of the baby boomers that are wealthy, and attempting to access it for one scheme or another. Whether it’s a business or whether it’s a house or an investment or something – there’s increasing pressure on perceived-to-be-wealthy parents from their children.”

He says it’s human nature for the young to want the world without delay, and for parents to want to help them.

“Often parents will pretend they have more than they have for the other human nature, which is pride. Some parents take the view ‘well my life’s over, if I’m going to be broke in old age it makes no difference to me, I’d prefer my children to succeed and they’ll look after me when I’m old’ – that is a fatuous argument in a western society.

“Mum and dad actually have to look at each other and say ‘our children have now grown up, we’ve done our best, it may or may not have been good enough’, and to look at each other and say ‘we owe a duty to ourselves now’, many parents don’t have that stop- break. They get pressured.”

Expert unbiased advice, and a check on emotional decisions can be invaluable.

“Holding assets in trust is a break, it’s a break on that behaviour.

“Having an outsider who can say ‘no’ if the children are putting their parents at risk makes it a lot easier to ensure that only those that can afford to do so, and that they do so with their eyes wide open to the risk they are putting themselves into in the future.”

Tim K. Dean, Credi Founder | Commentator & Expert on Family Lending, Bank of Mum & Dad and Neo-Credit Scores is available for media interviews and appearances. More…

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Formalise and manage your loan agreements online with Credi. Trusted by over 7,000 people worldwide. Takes minutes to set up

Use Credi for FREE – for all loans up to  A$5000, $5000 / €5000,  £5000 . Loans over cost A$20, $20, €20,  £20  or other other local currency amounts (sales tax may apply).

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