Adult Children and Money: Not Too Old to Learn New Tricks

Mar 22

It feels rewarding to help your children. When your adult children ask for help, they can, no doubt, be difficult to refuse. It might seem natural that you would or should help them reach certain financial goals, but when they approach you for money, you need to be careful.

Obviously, every child and every situation is different: When your normally responsible child comes to you for help, if you are in the right financial position and you and your spouse are in agreement, it can turn out to be a very positive thing.

When a not-yet-responsible child comes asking for money to get them out of a tight spot though, you might want to take some time to decide if it’s a good idea.

To illustrate this point, I have a client story that I would like to share.

A while ago we were approached by a mother and father who were concerned about their adult child, Carolina. They were mystified about her spending, and thought the smartest thing to do was to seek professional help.

Carolina was in her 20’s. She was a mature student with a spending habit that, all told, was costing her parents over $45,000 a year. After sitting down with Carolina, it was clear that she wanted to change her ways and gain control of her finances.

The first step of our training didn’t take place with Carolina though; we worked with her parents. We sat down with both of them and made it clear that bailing Carolina out of her financial troubles wasn’t helping, but was enabling her negative behaviour instead. Even though it went against instinct, they agreed that stopping their “assistance” was the right approach for the long run.

After her parents were on board, Carolina began her financial training with us. Carolina wanted to become a more balanced person, and rightly felt that changing her financial tendencies would solve a lot of her problems.

Week after week, she slowly began to change her negative financial behaviours into positive ones. It wasn’t easy for Carolina; she was used to a certain way of life. With tenacity and commitment though, she slowly started to become more sensitive and responsible about her spending.

Today Carolina is a totally transformed person. She saves more than half of all her paycheques. She’s building a solid emergency fund, and she wants to put away money for her retirement. Carolina has become a source of pride for her family, and for us, as well.

Carolina is very careful with her money. She considers herself to be a saver who gets more of a thrill by saving her money than by spending it. She not only feels good about her money, she feels good about herself.

How can a Personal Financial Trainer help you?

Having financial discipline and trying to pass it on to your adult children is downright tough. A lot of times you need to go against your parental instincts in order to do what is right for your children.

Having someone at your side to support you and your child as they scrape their knees towards financial independence can make things easier, and improve your chances of success. It’s too easy to try and pick your child up when you see them struggling. French conductor and teacher, Nadia Boulanger probably put it best when she said “loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, (and) to teach him to love what is difficult.”

About The Author

Hi, I'm Avraham (pronounced Av-Rum.) I'm a reformed spender, financial coach, and the founder of Avraham Byers Financial (I'm better with money than coming up with company names.) In a funny and non-preachy way, I teach people how to take control of their finances without giving up their smoked butterscotch lattes.
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