How To Borrow Money From Your Folks … And Survive

If you think you’ll need top-up funds from your family, don’t seal the deal until you’ve read our guide to borrowing

If you total up how much higher education will set you back and balance it against what the Government will either loan or lob at you, you’ll probably find the sums don’t quite meet in the middle — you or your folks will be expected to help plug the gap.

If family cash is on the cards it’s worth having the money conversation up front. Here’s your starter for 10:

  • Is it a given that your folks, grandparents or partner will want to support you? You can’t budget for money until it’s in the bank, so you may need a back-up plan.
  • Do you find it easy to talk about money with your family? What attitudes to spending and saving do you have in common?
  • How important is it to you to be financially independent? Are you willing to take advice (or flack) on your budgeting, spending and priorities?
  • Can you ask your parents for money-management advice? Are they clued up on loans, grants and benefits? Where will you get your info if not?
  • If your folks can’t or won’t support you, how else will you cover your costs — savings, earnings, Wednesday night lottery win?

Once you’ve had a go at making a budget, you’ll have more idea of how much you’ll need to make ends meet. Here’s what else you’ll want to know before you take the money and run:

  • How much cash are we talking?
  • Is it a lump sum or a regular payment?
  • Is the money a loan or a gift?
  • If it’s a loan, when are you expected to repay it? Will you need to pay interest?
  • Will you be expected to account for your spending?
  • Will they bail you out if you run into trouble?
  • What impact will supporting you have on the family budget?

Whatever answers you get, make sure you do a full check into what grants, bursaries, scholarships and benefits you’re entitled to before selling the family silver: there’s cash out there, so make sure you’ve got all the facts.