How can I support my children financially?
This difficult and bizarre year has put many people who would normally be financially comfortable into undue stress. Covid-19 has led to job losses, financial difficulties and a lack of prospects for many UK citizens.
Many concerned parents of adult children are now seeking ways to help their kids out during these trying times. While it can be tempting to help your children out financially, it isn’t always doable. To help, we’ve put together a list of ideas for helping your children financially, most of which don’t cost a penny.
Give them a helping hand
Let’s cover the direct financial help first. If you are able, comfortable, and willing to help your children with actual funds, that can be a very good, simple way to start. This could take any of a variety of forms: gifts, loans, or covering specific costs or bills.
If you decide to go this route, be sure that both you and your kids are clear on the terms.
If you’re giving them a gift, explicitly state that and assure them there won’t be a need to pay you back. If it’s a loan, give them straightforward terms, including how long they have until it needs to be paid back and how you’ll set up payments. If you’re covering bills or regular costs, explain to your kids what exactly you’ll be covering and for how long.
Avoiding the details can lead to extra stress. And who needs more of that this year?
As a parent, you likely have more experience navigating the world of finance than your children. This means that they probably have gaps in their knowledge about how they can move forward. A great way to help your children can be to share your expertise, especially for those who are independent and want to keep doing everything through their own hard work.
You can share the knowledge you have gained over the years as well as any financial learning platforms you know of. Perhaps you know of a series of webinars or podcasts, or even articles that will help them get started.
Supporting your children by making sure they are as informed as possible is a great way to be involved and helpful while not creating financial pressures of your own.
Budgeting is hard and even more so in difficult times. But it is often a necessary first step toward gaining better financial control and freedom. This may be the place for a little help from mum and dad.
Sitting down with your child and creating a budget together can help them see things that they may have otherwise missed and give them better clarity on what steps they can take to get back on track.
Working together on this, you’ll not only be able to lend your wisdom from experience, but also act as a sounding board to help them work through problems themselves.
See the grandkids
If your kids are at an age where they have their own children, helping with childcare (when it’s safe to do so and within an agreed childcare bubble) can be a welcome relief.
If your children are working from home, having even a few hours a week without worrying about their children can provide a significant boost. In fact, even if they are not currently working, but are on the job hunt, taking the grandkids for a few hours can give them time to do important things like writing their CV or attending interviews.
This also provides the benefit of spending more time with your family, which is a hard thing to manage this year.
Open your home
Unfortunately, some of your children may be going through an exceptionally difficult time right now, with job losses or changes leading to an insecure housing situation. In these circumstances, where you feel comfortable and safe to do so, you may want to consider opening your home to your family and living together for a while.
While no parent hopes to see their child return to the nest, knowing that they are safe can be worth it. If this is a path that you choose to go down, be sure to make your offer clear.
As with loans and bill payments above, set out simple, concise guidelines on how you want this to work. Whether that means paying rent or utilities or simply putting a timeline on things, working from a clear understanding will make the situation more comfortable for everybody.
Be there for them
Sometimes, all we can do is support someone emotionally. Never doubt the power of an open ear and a shoulder to cry on. The stress of this year has hit everyone and, if your children are struggling financially, they will certainly be feeling it.
If you aren’t in a position to help financially or if your children won’t accept it, being there for them is as valuable if not more so.
Take some time out of your day to check in with your kids and ask them genuinely, and without judgment, how they are. Knowing that someone is in your corner can be enough to keep yourself together and to keep moving forward.
These ideas are just a few of the ways that you can support your children financially through these trying times.
There are, of course, plenty of other things you can do and you know what your family will most appreciate. If you are looking for more direct ways of supporting your children’s finances, you can always speak to a financial adviser about specific methods.