Stop Treating Your Dad Like a Banking Machine

Is money causing stress in your father-daughter relationship?

Posted Jan 02, 2021

SL/shutterstock
Source: SL/shutterstock

Are you one of those daughters who still has your hand out for money from your dad? This might sound harsh, but be honest with yourself as you take this quiz.

0= never     1= very rarely   2= fairly often     3= very often

I expect or I hope that dad will…

___1. Pay for most or all of my wedding.

___2. Help me make a down payment on a house.

___3. Pay for most of my college education,

___4. Help me pay off credit card debts.  

___5. Help pay for my children’s college educations when the time comes.

___6. Set aside some money for an inheritance for me or my kids.

___7. Help pay for my first car or for repairs on that car.

__  8. Pay for my health insurance as long as legally allowed to do so.

___9. If he ever remarries, any inheritance should go to us kids, not to his wife.

__10. Loan me money if I need it, without charging me interest.     

Sadly, but not surprisingly, a number of problems that strain father-daughter relationships have to do with money. And these problems do not necessarily end after the daughter finishes her education or after she gets married. In fact, these problems can strain their relationship until the time of the father’s death. I provide a step-by-step way to resolve problems such as paying for college educations and weddings and dealing with inheritance issues — especially if the father has remarried.

One step in this problem-solving process is for daughters to be given the facts about the financial realities facing their fathers – and then to reassess what they are expecting from their fathers financially in view of those facts. Here are five unpleasant realities that daughters need to acknowledge:

The number of Americans over 65 filing for bankruptcy tripled from 1991 to 2018, largely because of healthcare expenses.  

  • The average funeral cost $9,000-$12,000 in 2018.
  • The average cost of a wedding in 2017 was $33,000.
  • The average cost of raising one child in a family earning $60,000-$100,000, excluding a college education, was $217,000 in 2015. Most of this is money the father earned since men usually have to earn more of the family’s money than women.  
  • The last decade of Iife is the most expensive in terms of health care costs.

Another step is for daughters to talk honestly and openly with their dad about his financial concerns and his fears about aging. Questions like these would help daughters see financial issues from their dad’s perspective: Dad, what are you most worried about in terms of your financial future? What aspects of aging worry you the most? How long do you think you’ll have to work before you can afford to retire?

Finally, daughters ought to ask themselves if some of their money problems with their dads have to do with feeling loved. Ask yourself: Am I measuring my father’s love in large part by what he gives me financially? Do I feel more loved or more important to dad when he spends money on me or on my kids? If dad does more for my sibling financially than he does for me, do I feel less valued or unloved? Do I envy other daughters whose dads do more for them financially than my dad does for me? Do I think dad loves his new wife more than he loves me because he’s spending so much money on her and so little on me and my siblings?

If you feel that love and money go hand in hand, sharing those feelings with your dad might reduce some of the strain. At the very least, you’re giving him the chance to respond in ways that might comfort you. In my book, I’ve explained in detail how you can resolve existing problems and avoid future problems related to money. By taking steps now, regardless of your age, you’re likely to relieve both you and your dad of stress and conflict over money down the road.               

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