“Have I ever ‘raided’ my kids’ savings? No. I personally don’t think that can be justified, certainly not unless the circumstances are very extreme,” says dad John Adams, who runs Dad Blog UK.
“I don’t wish to sound like I’m judging, but kids’ savings are usually put away for a future house purchase or for higher education fees. If I were going to raid those savings it would need to be because we were facing homelessness.”
Adams’ comments come after a survey of 2,000 parents found a third have dipped into their kids’ future savings to use during a financial emergency. In the survey by Nationwide building society, 41 per cent of parents said they are put off saving for their children as they are worried they may urgently need the money in the future.
While more than four in 10 (45 per cent) of those earning less than £15,000 a year have withdrawn money in an emergency, around a quarter (24 per cent) of those earning £75,000 or more have also done so.
Despite disagreeing with raiding his kids’ savings, Adams believes it’s fine to borrow a few quid when he needs cash in a hurry. “You know the kind of thing; you forgot they were supposed to take a quid into school because it’s a non-uniform day, you’re trying to get them out the door on time and you have no cash in your pockets,” he explains. “On those occasions it has happened and they’ve been reimbursed at a later date.”
Dad Andrew Cock-Starkey, who blogs at Thrifty Parent, can relate to Adams’ need for borrowing a few coins. “I do this all the time,” he says. He gives his three kids – ages 10, eight and six – pocket money in coins, yet when he needs coins for trolleys, parking, or lockers at swimming pools, he’ll call on the kids to reimburse him.
“The only place with any coins in our house is often our kids’ piggy banks,” he says. “We’ve written more IOU notes to our kids than I care to remember. We’re always ‘good for it’ – we pay them back. The most we’ve liberated in one go is probably five pounds.”
Despite this, the dad says he and his wife have ISAs set up in their kids’ names, adding, “we’ve managed to resist those – for now!”
Not everyone has left their kids’ savings untouched, however. “We started a saving plan for our two daughters when they were young, and we paid small monthly amounts into it,” one mum, who wished to remain anonymous, tells HuffPost UK. “We were going to keep it up and give it to them when they were older or to help pay towards their weddings. But that didn’t happen.”
The mum says it was a time when interest rates had shot up to 15 per cent on their mortgage, and this made the monthly payments huge. “We needed that money to keep us afloat,” she says. “We were always overdrawn. We aimed to start it up again, but it was hard to find that extra each month, so it didn’t happen.”
Franca Desjardins, who has two young daughters, says although she has never used her kids’ savings, which she and her husband add to bit by bit, she would if she needed to. “I think the survey is very accurate because we would definitely use our girls’ savings if needed,” she says. “If there are any financial difficulties that we have to encounter, it is best to fix the problem ASAP. Our girls are under our financial support so if we have a financial emergency problem, then this will affect the whole family.
“If and when that was sorted, then we could pay that money back to the girls and keep building their savings for their future.”
What do you think? Would you raid your kids’ savings? Let us know in the comments below or share your stories by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.