When should you stop paying your child’s cell phone bill?

A few weeks ago, you took a VN survey in which we asked you whether you help your adult children pay their expenses.

Among the survey’s findings:

59% of respondents pay for an adult child’s cell phone.

When do they plan to stop paying? Here’s a sampling of what members wrote in the survey:

  • “When they get out of school or they get married. It’s a safety issue for me.”
  • “When they become financially independent and can afford to pay for their own rent and food.
  • “Never, if you want them to keep in touch with you.”
  • “I don’t think a parent should ever pay for this. We got along without a cell phone and so can they.”

Click here to see more results from this survey.

When should you stop paying your child’s cell phone bill?

Posted in family & relationships, other topics, tech, work & money.

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7 Responses

  1. Generic Image MaryLorraine says

    I wonder why we need a survey on this.  Why are there rules for wanting to help your child, no matter how old they are.  First, it is no ones business and second all people are different.

    6 like

  2. Linda Lou Linda Lou says

    This survey makes me sick.  We’re raising a nation of spoiled little pussies with a huge sense of entitlement.  I’ve blogged about this before in a post entitled “If you no longer have a curfew, you should pay for your own car insurance.” 
    We all want to help our kids, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that when they truly need it.  But paying for a 30-year-old’s cell phone bill is nothing short of enabling.  No wonder why university professors are getting calls from parents about their “children’s” grades and HR managers hear from them about their performance reviews at work.
    The bottom line is, you’re not doing your kids any favors; they need to grow up and take responsibility. If they want something, let them save for it; let them work for it. They’ll have a much greater appreciation of what they have.  Let them experience tough times; they’ll develop coping skills.  Times are no worse now than they were when I got out on my own in the late ’70s, so I don’t buy “the economy” excuse.  Everyone is tight right now.
    I’d be very, very interested to see how these coddled adult children will be helping out their parents in their old age.  Mark my words, you’ll be wishing you put the money you’re throwing toward your kids in an account for your sunset years.

    19 like

    • Magnolia Miller Magnolia Miller says

      Linda, your title made me laugh…”If you no longer have a curfew……and I agree with you, we are raising a generation (or two) of entitled little….(can’t say it :) )
      I think generally speaking, there should be a plan.  If a child is in college, showing responsibility, etc., then I would definitely consider paying it.  If they are not and are just simply expecting me to finance their life while they avoid responsibility, then, no, I won’t pay it.
      But, there are always going to be exceptions.  I say, cross each bridge when you get there and evaluate each situation on its merits.

      4 like

      • Linda Lou Linda Lou says

        Magnolia, when my kids were in college, I had one simple rule:  The A’s and B’s are on me, the C’s and D’s are on you.  Fair enough, no?  My sister used that rule as well for her kids.  Makes sense to me!

        1 like

  3. gdispce gdispce says

    I have an an 18 year old who started college this fall. She made countless attempts to find a job this summer and could not. So, in this case I do have to blame the economy. Fortunately, and I’m not sure what I did right, she wants to help out with her own expenses. I also have a son who will be 14 at the end of this month. He saves his own money and his friends often trade, and/or buy each other’s ‘used’ tech gadgets, like ipods, earphones, etc. We’ve maintained a rule in our house since grade school, that if you get good grades, (As & Bs), you are rewarded with something you want, but you have to be responsible and show yourself worthy of whatever it is you want by improving unsatisfactory behaviors and getting good grades. It’s worked out well for us.

    3 like

  4. Generic Image Ella Raines says

    Well, if they aren’t old enough to even pay for the phone, then you should consider in the first place whether they should even have it. I waited with my son until he was in his freshmen year of high school to purchase a phone and even then, I bought him a Tracfone prepaid phone considering I was paying for it and couldn’t afford anything higher. Flash forward now, he’s a junior in college and still with the same service, because he too couldn’t afford to buy anything else on his own. Make no mistake that once he had a part-time job in highschool, purchasing the aircards to operate the phone became his responsibilty and really wasn’t much more than $30 or $40 every 3 months for the service. If you choose something inexpensive and simple like this service for your child, then possibly the burden of paying for it won’t sting so much. I do think that if you decide to outfit your child before high school, then be prepared to deal with even more years of bill burden.

    2 like

  5. Generic Image Anonymous says

    I need a little advice…. We have 5 kids… Oldest daughter, 23, still living home while going to college & working part time–2nd daughter, 20, still living home & working part time–3rd daughter,19, lives college year at college, works some when home–4th daughter 17, senior in high school, was in marching band, no job offer yet– 5th Son, 16, sophomore in HS, working part time at grocery store
    We added them on to our cell bills when they started driving so they could be in touch if they need us, etc….  They have basic phone & text only.  My 23 yo pays for internet on hers when she turned 21. We had hoped as they got older and out of the house, we could take them off our lines and get down to one family plan ourselves to save money for us and I just worry if we let one son/daughter in law on the plan, that opens the door for the others to want on…..
    She is getting married in June and her fiance asked tonight about being added on our cell plan(we had to have 2 family plans thru at&t to get all the lines as they only allow 5 lines per account) and he would pay for it so they can get it cheaper.(he is very frugal or cheap, not sure)  He plans to keep his auto under his parents plan at least for awhile.  I am just not sure how much we should do.  My husband is a cabinet installer and business has not been good the last few years and we are hoping, sadly, that all our kids will be able to survive w/o us and to sell our home in a few years and pair down to try to survive on our own and be able to go longer than paycheck to paycheck…. My husband had to tell him last night we couldn’t co-sign for them a small loan(my daughter was in a car wreck and needs a new car) because we are trying to refinance our home right now and they told us not to do anything such as get loans for anything else….
    We hate to not be able to help, but we honestly don’t know from week to week if my hubby has work or if we can pay our own bills….

    1 like

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