On the Art of Saying “No” to Your Children’s Demands for Money
It might be tempting to tell the parents of toddlers that parenting gets easier once your children are grown up, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Trying to help young adult sons and daughters become financially independent can be as nerve-wracking as helping toddlers get into the habit of using the potty or teaching school-aged children to ride a bike. Furthermore, conflict about money is just as painful if the disagreement is between a parent and a grown child as it is when the conflict is between two spouses. Today’s young adults have come of age in a tough economic climate, and many of them need their parents’ help to pay for necessities, even if they work. Giving money to your grown children can lead to guilt trips and resentment, but you can avoid these problems by creating and implementing a financial plan. The first step is to contact a Hillsborough County estate planning lawyer.
Step One: Make a Budget
The decision to give your kids money begins long before they ask. The first step to deciding how much money, if any, to give your grown children is to decide how much money you have and how much of it you need for your own expenses. If you have met with an estate planning lawyer to discuss what your annual budget will be during retirement, and therefore when you will be able to afford to retire, you are already on the way to preventing financial conflict with your children.
Step Two: Be Honest With Yourself About What You Want to Do With Your Discretionary Income
If your son or daughter asks you for money, you should only consider your disposable income, the part that isn’t already committed. If your kid asks you for X amount of money, don’t automatically hand over the amount just because the combined balance of your checking and savings account is greater than X. Then ask yourself honestly if you are willing to sacrifice the things you had planned to do with your discretionary income; this is, of course, an individual choice. Do you want to cancel a long-planned trip to help your child make a down payment on a house? Do you want to downsize the grandchildren’s Christmas presents this year to help one of your sons pay down his credit card debt?
Step Three: Come Up With a Script and Stick to It
If you know that your child will need or expect money for you, it is easy to say “no” if you have a practiced answer. There is no one right way to do this, either. You know your children. If they will be understanding about it, then tell them what you need it for instead. If just saying “no” and refusing to negotiate works best with your child, then go that route. Advice columnists are great at coming up with scripts for difficult situations, so you might get some inspiration by reading advice columns.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
A Tampa probate lawyer can help you focus on your financial well-being, which can help you avoid succumbing to guilt trips. Contact David Toback for a consultation.