Parents more willing to help with children’s debts — particularly housing-related ones

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Many don’t expect to be repaid

Want help paying down that mortgage loan? Just ask your parents. According to a new study, most U.S. parents would give their children nearly $6,000 to pay down debts — without expecting any sort of repayment at all.

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The bank of mom and dad

According to new data from, the average parent would give their child $5,705 to pay off debts, without the expectation of reimbursement. If they were expecting to get their cash back? Mom and dad would fork over even more — about $7,936 on average.

Parents are even more willing to help if it’s for housing debt, too. About nine in 10 parents — or 91 percent — said they’d help pay for their child’s mortgage or rent debt. A mere 4 percent said they would never help pay these costs for their children.

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Historical data shows parents are more willing to help with their children’s costs than in years past — particularly credit card debt. According to Ted Rossman, industry analyst for, rising costs of living likely play a role.

“Life is expensive – perhaps now more than ever – and the inability to tackle certain types of debt doesn’t necessarily mean that someone went on an irresponsible shopping spree,” Rossman said. “Credit card debt, in particular, often results from a medical bill or unexpected car or home repair. Sometimes it’s necessary just to keep up with everyday expenses like putting food on the table.”

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Proceed with caution

Parents paying off their child’s debt isn’t all good news, though. Further data from shows that it could be a dangerous move for mom and dad.

According to a recent survey, 38 percent of co-signers lost money from the transaction, and another 28 percent saw their credit score decrease. More than a quarter said the experience hurt their relationship.

As Rossman puts it, “If you still want to proceed, set clear expectations at the start about whether or not you expect to be paid back and when. And don’t let your children use you as a crutch forever. They need to establish their own emergency funds and healthy borrowing habits.”

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Verify your new rate (Feb 23rd, 2020)