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Most elderly folks do not have an income. The children's education cost a bomb and have injured their retirement funds.

In traditional Asian societies, it is a norm that children repay their parents after they start work. I am not sure if it is fine for parents to ask for allowance in other societies. Today, many Asian youngsters no longer practise it anymore and parents being parents will keep quiet about it.

This is a sensitive issue. How can parents ask for allowance from their children tactfully without embarrassing both parties?

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"I'm so sorry to have to ask this, but we don't have enough money to live on. Can you help us out financially?"

If this is embarrassing, chalk it up as the price to be paid for not having raised the kids to be able to talk about finances in a straightforward manner. Just as with sex, finances are a topic that you MUST educate your kids about as they are growing up, because the penalties for ignorance are very high. You need to get to the point where you can discuss the topic in a matter-of-fact, truthful, even clinical manner. Do so in an age-appropriate way, but do so very thoroughly long before the kids must live on their own. There's no reason why there should be any taboo about parents, as they approach retirement years, having plain-spoken discussion about their finances and how they will be taken care of for their remaining years. While you're at it, discuss your medical plans and wishes as well. Some day you all will be happy that you did so.

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Also, don't just ask for a dollar figure. Make sure you have a prepared budget. I've found in general that people are more likely to help those who are responsible and prepared than those who do nothing to help themselves. –  longneck Oct 16 '13 at 2:02
    
Exactly. >Bam< Lay it out there. And the education part could NOT be better said. I keep clicking that up-triangle, but it only let me vote once. Drag. –  monsto Oct 16 '13 at 10:09

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