Money has such a pervasive presence and influence that even our closest relationships are touched by it.  Draw some wisdom on money management from this month's newsletter.

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This newsletter focuses on an increasingly relevant topic as our clients' adult children experience growing financial stress - or the pressure of sustaining a lifestyle comparable to that of their neighbours. The answer is not as simple as parents stepping in to 'fix' financial woes. Consider the implications I mention in my lead article, and assess what is best for your family - each situation is unique, and it is all about meaning and balance. Retirementor, Alan Hosking, comments on living our own stories for additional insight. 
Offspring Obligation?
Your financial plan is on track: you have saved and budgeted for a lifetime and are ready to enjoy your retirement, with enough to fund it.  But ... there is a snag - your reluctance to relinquish a particular role you have been playing for years: your children's provider, even if those children are now income-generating adults.

As a retiremeant specialist, I have encountered many clients with grown-up children who still rely on their parents financially. Recently, I had to consolidate my thoughts on this issue as I was invited to contribute to an article by Lorraine Kearney in Personal Finance (click here to read the full article).

My conclusion is this: for the most part, you are not advantaging your adult children in any way by enabling them to rely on you for financial support ... and, you are putting your own future financial well-being at risk.

Our responsibility as planners at Chartered is to ensure that our clients have sufficient money to see them comfortably through their retirement - thereby not becoming a burden to their families in the future.

Sometimes, we see clients with just enough money for that purpose, and our role is to invest it properly and encourage our clients to stick to their plans ... but emotions are very much a part of relationships and parents find it difficult to see their children having to weather the vicissitudes of life:  wanting a home and needing a deposit; sudden unemployment; the effects of divorce; or, sadly, an alcohol or a drug dependency.

As a mother of three, I know that our unconditional love for our children means we more readily give to them than to ourselves.

As a financial planner, however, I know I best fulfil my role by being objective where my clients sometimes cannot be: not being emotionally involved allows us to see the consequences of our clients' decisions.  We are respectful in this and realise that the final choice rests with our clients.

Additional assets
Sometimes clients have additional assets, and the discussion then centres around the legacy that they will leave - the children will inherit substantially.  Two courses of action lie ahead for the client who is aware of not taking away the recipients' sense of worth and need to prove themselves. Parents then still want their children to inherit in the future, rather than when they are still shaping their financial independence.

Alternatively, I encourage clients to spend money creating experiences: that family holiday you have always dreamed of - go ahead, make some wonderful memories; your involvement in your grandchildren's education - yes, pay the school fees if you wish, but also share some of your passion for, say, nature, by teaching them bird names.

Whatever the clients' approach, I am a strong advocate of adult children being involved in financial conversations. This way, they learn the skills to manage money to set them up for future prosperity. The thought required for robust discussions are valuable to each member and ensures your financial plan gives your money more meaning.


Educating children about money

Mrs Spiggles and her Money Tales is a series of children's books designed to help parents explain financial concepts to their children.

Author, Jean Archary, is a financial services specialist, a Certified Financial Planner®, and certified workplace coach.  She was therefore surprised how difficult she found it to explain money management to her seven-year old daughter, Taria.

Suspecting that she was not alone in this, she decided to create the Mrs Spiggles, a flying piggy bank, to encourage family money conversations. 

Win a copy!

Order the first in the Mrs Spiggles series: Taylor's Birthday Surprise by clicking here

Chartered is giving away a copy of this sought-after book to a reader. 
Mail with 'Mrs Spiggles' in the subject line.  We will choose a name out of a hat and send the winner their very own copy.

From a son's perspective

Chartered articled planner, Tom Brukman, would like his parents to know how he views them as they anticipate retirement. His article may offer an angle regarding how your children are feeling about your life transition.

I want my parents to relinquish the gnawing concern that many parents of adult dependants share:  do my children have enough money?

You can't miss the rest of this intriguing article - click here.

Whose story
are you

From young, we are raised according to the values and beliefs of our parents. In our formative years, our parents create the context in which we live our lives.  That means, understandably, we live as part of their story.

Then comes a time we have to leave our parents and create our own lives and stories.

Those of us who have, or had, good parents, have much to be grateful for.  Good parents sacrifice much for their children; they shape their own lives according to their children's needs and deny themselves many things to give their children opportunities they possibly didn't have.  We can never repay our parents for what they did for us while we were growing up.

There comes a time, however, when we have to start landing on our own two feet and making our own way in the world, without our parents' help. 

Some parents are not ready, unfortunately, and seek to extend the time their children are with them by unconsciously enabling dependent behaviour when such behaviour should end.

They offer to help their children financially as they don't want to see them struggle. This is kind and noble, but, at times, it comes at a cost. Parents want their children to continue living their story instead of allowing them to live on their own.

Living your own story means you make your own decisions regarding your life and don't live according to someone else's requirements.  I am not advocating that people in long-term relationships should behave selfishly with no regard for their partners in the interests of living their own story.  Couples in long-term relationships are actually living their shared story - a story of a life together and that story is important and valid, and mutually agreed on.

Whose story are you living right now?  Are you still living your parent's story or are you living your sibling's story?  Maybe you're living your children's story or a selfish partner's story - a partner who wants you to do things to suit them and doesn't take your needs and wishes into account.

If you realise that, for the past few years, you have been living someone else's story (and you'll know you are), start living your own story, individually or with your life partner.

You will know that you are living someone else's story by the discomfort you feel within when you think about it.  If you are living your own story, you are happy without any second thoughts. 

You have one life to live, and that's why it's so important that you. Live. Your. Own. Story.

Whatever your age now, make a decision to start living your own story. How many years will you waste living someone else's story?

Read the full article by clicking here.

This article is by Alan Hosking, Retirementor .
Click here for more about Alan and to read more of his writing.
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