In several cases, children start taking the family income for granted and don’t find a need to do anything on their own.
Mrs. Mehta, a working mother, was overjoyed when her son had started an internship during the last semester of his college. Mr. Mehta has just lost his job and the finances were tight, so she assumed this would ease the pressure a bit. The internship paid a monthly stipend of Rs 8000, enough to cover her son’s expenses. Yet at the end of two months, she found him asking for money to cover his costs. It was then that she realized despite her son earning for himself, she was still financially enabling him.
This scenario is not uncommon in India, as most of us live in a joint family set-up. This means that usually the family income grows as the children start earning and contributing to the household. But at times, the inverse of the situation is found. In several cases, children start taking the family income for granted and don’t find a need to hustle on their own. Parents in such a scenario assume the role of a financial enabler, who keeps fueling their adult children’s need even when they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, as seen in the case of Mrs. Mehta.
Monetarily such behavior is highly toxic as it provides an impression to the adult children that may be they don’t have to work as hard as their parents will bail them out when need be. If you as a parent are stuck in a similar situation, here are a few ways to help yourself out.
Start treating them as peers
Helping a person out, money-wise, becomes almost a given when such a person is your family. Moreover, parents tend to loosen up especially when it comes to their kids. Here, it is very important for parents to undergo an overhaul in terms of approach with their kids. They need to stop thinking of them as dependents & rather identify them as peers when they grow up. Moreover, this point needs to be strongly driven across the children as well. They need to understand that, your will not be there to help them. If need be it, set some rules that you need to go along the way.
Set Rules While Providing Temporary Support
Where the financial assistance is not permanent – it is important to work with family members to reach financial planning without your help. Say a particular family member needs a loan to start a business; it is not such a bad idea to help. It is also equally important to make sure that the family member has developed a business plan before even starting.
When you start setting out rules, you allow your child to branch out and learn on how to deal with money on their own. If you find them initially struggling, you could provide guidance or get them in touch with a financial advisor who will charter a course for their finances.
Ask yourself these questions
# Is the need temporary?
# Is there a better way and you set limits?
Going cold on your family members regarding your money may not be easy for everyone. Hence, before you choose to make any specific decision ask yourself these questions. Asking yourself these questions will make you more evolved regarding the decision regarding providing money to your children. The balancing act between money and your relationship requires objectivity and only then can you make the right call.
Most importantly, by thoughtfully approaching how you provide financial assistance to others, you can improve your future financial peace and keep your family dynamics healthy in the process.
(By Rahul Jain, Head-Personal Wealth Advisory, Edelweiss)