Last Updated Jan 6, 2010 1:08 AM EST
The bank of Mom and Dad reported helping out most often with the following debts:
- Auto loans: 40%
- Medical Debt: 37%
- Credit Cards 30%
- Utilities 31%
- Student Loans 29%
- Mortgage 11%
In many instances, parents are helping out even though they can't really afford to. They raid their emergency savings, or retirement accounts (or suspend contributions) to come up with the help. I am not going to suggest saying no to your kids. There's no arguing with the DNA pull of helping a child in need, no matter what their age.
But here's how you can really help: if your kids are still kids, educate them so they have the financial smarts that will keep them from screwing up on car loans and credit card debt later on. You avoid future bailouts that mess with your own financial security by making today's teens financially literate.
If you're not up for teaching the must-have basics before college: How Credit Cards Work, How Loans Work, the Power of Compound Growth, Budgeting 101 push your kid's school to start teaching some financial planning ABCs. Not economics. Personal finance. Economics: nice to know. Personal Finance: must have knowledge. If the school isn't sure how or where to start, suggest checking out the National High School Financial Planning program developed by the National Endowment for Financial Education.