Editorial: Financial coercion intolerable

By Andrew Austin

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Parents can't be expected to help out their adult children, especially if it puts them in financial hardship.
Parents can't be expected to help out their adult children, especially if it puts them in financial hardship.

One of the most despicable things around is when people put pressure on family members - particularly older parents - to part with their money.

Sometimes it is gentle persuasion, sometimes it is coercion and other times it is straightforward theft.

I have written before about my distaste for people who take advantage of the elderly and unfortunately many times it is family members who do so.

We ran a story in yesterday's paper about Age Concern issuing a warning to its members ahead of new Reserve Bank lending restrictions, which kick in next month. The new measures will make it harder for house hunters to get a home loan with less than 20 per cent deposit.

Age Concern is concerned that many of their members may be pressured to lend their younger family members money or sign on as a guarantor for their mortgage. There is even the worry that some could be denied access to grandchildren if they refuse to hand over cash to their children.

Whichever way you look at it, it is a disgrace. Sure, sometimes people fall on hard times and sometimes they have to go to relatives for help.

It is okay to ask for help, but if the relative says no (for whatever reason), that is their right and it should be respected.

Unfortunately, often it is not and it is at times like these that other family members should get together in support of the older relative and tell the beggar (because that is what they are) where to get off.

Parents can't be expected to help out their adult children, especially if it puts them in financial hardship. There comes a time when people need to stand on their own two feet.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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