Father laughing with son, hand on shoulder © iStock

Gas for the car, money toward college and help with renting that first apartment. It’s not uncommon for kids to come to their parents and ask for money.

But what about when the tables turn?

“Financial security is never a certainty regardless of net worth,” says Eric Schaefer, financial adviser at Evermay Wealth Management.

And after assisting other family members for long periods of time, while facing an expectation of a longer life, it’s no wonder parents may need to look down the family ladder for financial help.

Follow these guidelines to ask your children for financial help.

Know how to ask

“Seeking assistance from children or other family members is often a challenge,” Schaefer says. Emotions can run high, and the conversation might touch on financial topics that have not been discussed in the family before.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to ask for financial aid. “Adult children will often say ‘yes’ to anything that will help their parents,” says Elle Kaplan, CEO of LexION Capital, a wealth management firm.

Be clear

“You can avoid tension and help out both sides by having a clear plan in place already,” Kaplan says. If you know what you need, spell out the terms and time frame, such as how much you’ll need and for how many months.

Your children will be able to gauge if they can afford to offer that level of financial help.

Ask for information

If you’re struggling to sort out finances, ask your child to sit down and review issues like the qualifications for Medicare and Medicaid with you.

Also, the members of the younger generation are often up to date on new technologies and personal finance trends. Use this to your advantage. Your child might be able to find ways to help you save on various items, from insurance to car loans to cellphone plans and monthly utilities.

Look at how to do it

The IRS allows a gift exclusion of $14,000 every year per individual, or $28,000 for a couple. If you need money, see if your child can write out payments directly to the source, such as the creditor or medical provider, so they are not counted as gifts.

Think outside the box

Consider setting up a consultation for you and your children with an attorney or accountant. You might find options available that you hadn’t considered, such as a private reverse mortgage.

With this type of mortgage, your child extends you a loan that is secured by an interest in your home. You might receive a lump sum, monthly income or line of credit through this setup.

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