- Date : 08/05/2020
- Read: 5 mins
Being there for your parents when they need you financially is the most basic thing you can do, and it doesn’t have to strain your finances or marriage.
Your parents are the two people you should forever be indebted to – not just for bringing you into this world but also for raising you well. All the effort, time, love, money, and sacrifices that they put in for you cannot be reciprocated in the same measure, no matter what you do.
And that’s not even the point. It’s not about paying them back in cash or kind; it’s about being there for them in their old age in all the ways you possibly can. But sometimes, providing financial support to your parents can cause arguments with your spouse.
If your partner perceives it as a financial burden on the family, there are a few things that you can do:
1. Have a conversation with your spouse
This is a conversation you and your partner should have early in your marriage. Instead of giving money to your parents secretly, you should sit with your spouse and have an honest conversation. Let them know why it’s important for you to make this contribution to your parents and show them how it’s not going to affect the family budget.
Discuss the percentage of your salary you’ll allocate to provide financial support to your parents. Figure out if this is going to be a monthly contribution or for specific things such as medical expenses. This would also be a good time to discuss if your spouse needs to support their parents – later, if not now.
2. Get your siblings involved
If supporting your parents is a regular thing and not a one-time situation, it’s best to get your siblings involved. Usually, one sibling ends up financially supporting the parents more than others. This can build unnecessary financial pressure as well as resentment, often leading to a strain in family dynamics.
When you have this discussion with your siblings, it should only include you and they, not your spouses. The conversation with partners should be had individually. Depending on your age, life stage, and income, each of you can make different financial contributions. Instead of trying to set an equal amount, set an equitable sum – say 10 percent of one’s monthly salary.
3. Have a conversation with your parents
It’s important to have two conversations with your parents. The first one is to understand their financial condition and how they are managing their expenses. It’s good to figure out how much help they need. The second conversation should be after you’ve spoken to your partner and siblings and decided how much you can contribute.
It may be a little awkward at first, but it’s best if everyone involved knows exactly how money matters are going to be dealt with in the long run. This transparency will help you maintain a healthy family bond. When your parents know how much you and your siblings will contribute and how frequently, they can handle their budgeting and expenses better too.
4. Think of other ways to help
In addition to helping your parents financially, you can help them strategically too. For instance, you could get them a comprehensive health insurance policy with all the necessary add-ons. You can also help them with financial planning and investing.
Another way to help is by giving them time. This could mean taking them for regular health check-ups or picking up groceries for them every month. If you stay nearby, dropping by to have lunch with them once a week could be a great way to show that you care. The intention is just to interact and have a good time.
5. Prioritise your family goals
When you’re married and have children, your priority should be your family. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should forget your parents. However, you shouldn’t be helping your parents by compromising your own family’s essential needs. There’s a way to manage both, and for that you need to spend some time planning your finances.
In other words, you ought to set a budget, build a healthy emergency fund, have health insurance as well as insurance for assets such as car, home, etc., and know your future financial goals and strategically invest for them.
6. Maintain a level of privacy
For both you and your spouse, it’s healthy to maintain a basic level of privacy – not just when it comes to offering financial support to your parents but in general. Having a joint account for household expenses and common investing goals is important. But having a personal account for personal spending is essential too.
As adults, both you and your partner need that space and freedom to be able to spend your money from your personal accounts as and when you like without having to justify each expense. There’s nothing wrong if you indulge in personal expenses from time to time. Nobody can hold you accountable as long as you’re meeting all your family and joint obligations first.
Remember that having these conversations and figuring things out will take time and patience. So, maintain your cool and put your personal finance skills to use. What's your parenting style - Authoritarian or Indulgent? Find out with this personality test.