Should I tell my parents how much I owe in student debt?

I'm not ashamed to admit that I owe 30K in student loans from my undergrad. My parents never helped me pay for my degree and I didn't expect them to help considering they didn't have the resources. However, they provided me with other things like moral support, a roof, food and clothing. My mother wants to know how much I owe because she's curious and I don't want to tell her because I'm afraid she'd judge me and say I was a fool. I have given her clues in the past, but she'd say things like, you shouldn't owe more than 20k. It's something I personally don't feel I should share with them because I'm embarrassed.

  • No, it's not their business
    43% (16)56% (22)50% (38)Vote
  • Yes, it's their right to know
    57% (21)44% (17)50% (38)Vote
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Most Helpful Guy

  • This general subject is one of the challenges of navigating relationships with parents as an adult. We may do things that our parents wouldn't approve of, but we recognize we have the right to live our lives as we want -- and bear the consequences. We might rationally know that we don't need their approval, but everyone wants their parents' approval. You probably are feeling this struggle internally. If you did not fear their disapproval, you would have no problem telling them.

    I suggest that you either
    (a) tell them that it is not their business, that you are responsible for your life and your debts, that you don't pry into their finances, and you would appreciate if they didn't pry into yours, or

    (b) tell them that while it is not their business, that whether or not to tell them is something you've struggled with -- that although you share their financial conservatism, you believe that the best investment you can make is in yourself and your education, and with a lifetime ahead of you that the debt you've incurred is insignificant. tell them honestly that you like to have their approval for the decisions you make, but that when you know what is right, you will proceed with or without their approval. if they truly listen, they will be very proud of you.

    Good parents don't want to control their children's' lives, they want to give their children the tools so that they can make the best decisions in their own lives. Acknowledging their importance to you, and your independence, that you have absorbed and understand their (financial) perspective, and based on your facts and experience have formed your own, will show them that they've done well in bringing up a capable adult.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Why would anyone judge you over reasonable student loans, or any amount really as long as you are paying them back? When I graduated in 2004, I owed about $35K, and I'm slowly paying it back. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but your finances are YOUR business. There is no reason your parents really need to know. Maybe they are asking because they want to help you out a little?

    I'd just let them know you owe far less than the average student, but you are managing paying them back just fine. If they want to give you a financial donation to help out, that is appreciated but not expected.

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What Guys Said 20

  • If she asks, then tell her and be truthful. By the sounds of it she already suspects it. She's not stupid. She knows college is expensive and probably has a pretty good idea how much income you have. She can put two and two together.

    Do they have a "right" to know? I'd say no. But they are your parents. It shouldn't be a confrontation revolving around only telling them what they have a "right" to know. You shouldn't have to consult a lawyer to communicate with your parents.

    You are getting well into your adult life. With that comes a change in how you communicate with your parents. It will become more of a communication between friends. Learn to talk to them as two adults, rather than parent and child. It'll happen sooner or later anyway, so why not start now?

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  • it's not their right to know but why not let them know. don't be embarrassed you actually owe a lot less than the average college post grad with student debt

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  • Your alternatives are a bit awkward. You should tell them simply because they're family and they asked. 30k isn't all that much if the education leads to anything.

    On another note it is also highly hypocritical of you to say they did not help you at all if they gave you a place to live along with food and clothes. That's a Significant portion of your expenses. Maybe the majority of it.

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    • It's not critical to state the obvious. They didn't pay for me to attend college. How is that being critical? I acknowledged that they supported me with other thighs. Sounds like you just want to talk like you're the authority on what's critical and what's not. Please...

  • It's not their business. There's a chance that your mom may want to take that debt off of you. While that is very admirable, she should leave you alone/be on the debt. YOU were the one who decided to go to college and get the degree. Therefore, YOU are the one with the debt. And you said you didn't want them to pay for it? Well, keep it that way. I'm sorry you are in debt, but that's the choice you made when you turned 18. Some people have taken advantage of their parents by having their parents take their student loan debt with money that the parents don't even have. And some of them retire very soon or should have retired already. I really admire that you didn't allow/have your parents to help, because not a lot of people your age would necessarily (not) do that. Just do the best you can.

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    • I didn't want them to pay because they offered me with a place to live and a home cooked meal. They also didn't have the resources. They're both working class. It's selfish of me to make them pay.

    • Show All
    • Wow! I'm not sure how much it was at the time I graduated, but now it's between $7k-9k a year - just for tuition and books. And that's if I live on my own. Even though it's not as much as what you and your friends ended up with, I still didn't want to pay interest on it. I'd rather work toward it.

    • Yeah, nursing seems to be rather big. However, I have heard that management in nursing can be a bitch. Just be aware if you plan on going for that.

  • When it comes to school, first I don't know how your mom comes up with that figure (prices are only going up) and second, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. What control do you have over it really? Unless you bought things you didn't really need with it? You don't set the prices of school so it's out of your hands. Honestly 30 grand is probably not bad (normal). School isn't cheap.

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    • I forgot to say lol, so unless they are asking to help you with it, it's really not their business. They care though obviously so you might want to tell them but if it's only to give you a hard time then no.

  • Option C - you are an adult, and can tell them if you choose. It isn't their business, nor is it their 'right' to know, but you can opt to tell them.

    On the same note, don't sit and be lectured about it.

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  • You should tell them, in my opinion.

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  • Well in my opinion if they didn't help finance you through uni then its not really any of their business, its something you had to do to get an adequate education. You are probably more likely to get a good job now so there's more chance you'll be able to pay it off quicker. I would hold back for now and see how your career pans out over the next few years if you feel its not going as planned, you may have to let them know as you may not be able to pay it back by yourself.

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  • If they aren't going to pay any of it, it's not their business to know. But it's still nothing to be embarrassed of.

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  • if they are not able to help then they shouldn't worry about it. but they might be asking because they worry about you and your future. be glad its only 30k you owe. some are in to there education 6 figures.

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    • I ended up just telling them and they were surprised. My dad even said that he thought I owed 50K+. Maybe I was just worried for nothing.

    • to me that shows they care about you and want you to succeed but not at the cost of you drowning in debt to get there. like some people do

  • Either say the full amount or say nothing. :-D

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  • I wouldn't, it's not their business. They can only use that information in a negative way against you, but it's your choice. I agree debt isn't a good thing, but sometimes it's worth it.

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  • You don't have to tell them anything you don't feel like telling them. That's one of the great parts about being an adult.

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  • Did you graduate with a degree in something profitable?

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  • I would say it's not their business, unless they plan to contribute.

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  • That's not a huge sum in getting a degree.

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    • I know but it'll take awhile to pay off and that's not something that I'm looking forward to, especially since I'll need to attend graduate school in my field.

  • Better to tell early before end up being beaten up

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  • No it's your private life and fuck all to do with anyone else.

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  • Reduce the amount and tell them! Maybe 20k or 25k and start paying up and every 1200 USD you can call it to 1000 USD..

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  • embarrassed? Why? That's what it costs for you to go to school.
    I would not tell them. It's not their right to know! You don't know everything about their savings, investments, mortgage, car payments etc.
    Why should you or need to know?

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    • I feel like my mother just wants to judge me.

    • Let her judge your successes. A college graduate, job etc.

What Girls Said 7

  • Are you more stressed because they don't know, or more stressed at the idea of them knowing? I'm totally on your side in that I know money issues can be very difficult to deal with because people do judge you, but in this case, your debt is not due to you partying and running up a credit card bill, but trying to be an adult and pay for school so you can have a future... AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SHAME IN THAT! Your parents are going to have an opinion because they are your parents, but they also clearly love you and tried to do all they could for you outside of footing the bill. I think if your stress is due to possible embarrassment, before you sit down and have 'the talk,' prepare yourself with a plan of how you are working on paying down the debt. Parents like solutions and to know that you aren't in trouble. Sure you may not be able to actually follow your plan right now to the t, but having a plan indicates you aren't' just letting the debt fly around in the wind and grow out of control. Go to your bank, sit down with them, maybe even bring your parents along, and work through the problem instead of running from it or your parents. Take it one dollar at a time, and you'll get there. Good luck to you.

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  • Tell them only if you feel comfortable. To be blunt, they didn't help you pay it when you were acquiring it, they aren't entitled to know how much it is once you have your degree.

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  • You don't have to tell her, but if you have a good relationship with her I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to? My parents are fully aware of my student loan debt and they don't judge.

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  • I voted no but if they knew they might be able to help you

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  • Yes, it's your parent they have the right to know and they can help you

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  • She's there to support you, I don't think she will judge you on how much you owe and you shouldn't be ashamed. I owe almost 30K as well, and my parent's are fully aware. They have not paid for my school and they aren't helping me pay it back.

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  • If they didn't help you pay for your degree it's none of their business, but you shouldn't feel embarrassed to tell them. College is super expensive, no matter where you go. I got scholarships and I still ended up with debt. But you can decide if you want to share it or not.

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