Til Money Do Us Part (Part 4 of 4)

Are you and your spouse still supporting an adult child who should be able to support themselves? Or supporting struggling family members due to a sense of guilt? If so you may be participating in Financial Enabling.  This is when you give money to others whether you can afford it or not or give it when it is not in the other’s long-term best interest. In addition, you might be having trouble or finding it impossible to say no to requests for money or even sacrificing your own financial wellbeing for the sake of your children or others.

Financial enabling is the most common money disorder and frequently leads to Financial Dependence by causing a lack of ambition and purpose in the receiver.  Fear usually motivates enablers to give to a child or family member so they will not have to suffer without necessary or wanted items or experience the overall fear of “what will happen to me?”  Guilt and shame from parents who feel they could have been better parents also creates an atmosphere for enabling as they try to make up for mistakes by giving money.

Here are some signs to look for to know if you may be financially enabling others:

  1. YOU feel a sense of anger or resentment when giving the money
  2. YOU noticed the person has lost all ambition to make it on their own
  3. YOU are taking out loans or no longer saving money
  4. The receiver is able to buy wanted items that YOU are not able to buy for yourself.

As promised here are your weekly tips!


Tips to Avoid Financial Enabling:


  1. SET A TIME LIMIT! Tell the receiver you will gradually reduce your support over a 3-6 month period of time and DO NOT WAVER when that time comes.
  2. HAVE BUDGET MEETINGS – Meet to discuss your family budget with your child or family member and help them to identify what is priority needs and what is not.
  3. VOCATIONAL HELP – Help find resources for vocational programs to assist with obtaining a trade/new career which will lead to employment.
  4. THINK BEFORE YOU GIVE! Giving for unnecessary wants will only continue to create dependence in the receiver.  Give to promote independence (ex: education,  medical insurance, therapy, career counseling)

I hope you’ve found my healthy money tips for a healthy marriage helpful!

If you haven’t read them all, be sure to check them out here:

#1. Financial Infidelity

#2. Financial Incest

#3. Financial Dependence



Porsha Williams, LAMFT

Pwilliams@ GROWcounseling.com

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