- Gravid – carrying eggs or young; pregnant. The Oxford Dictionary
I meet a lot of lovely women in my practice who have grown up children. Otherwise they have children who believe they’re grown up enough to have free run of the good car, the drinks cabinet and possibly Mummy’s very expensive shoes. This may apply to offspring of either sex, it takes all sorts.
These children, the wonderful fruit of your loins, are so enamoured of the free linen changing service, wi-fi, Foxtel, gourmet meals and SKII anti-ageing products that they find in the ensuite cabinet (grrr) that guess what? Correct. They never, EVER leave home.
This means two things – well, possibly three
One, you as the parent, lose the ability to speak in anything other than Hipster; two, you never, ever have any privacy (and age far more quickly than you would if you had your SKII available to you) and three – you run out of money for your retirement, because your kids spend it all.
When we were fresh out of school, if we were very fortunate we had a gap year, and then either started work or went to University or TAFE – and usually slogged away at a part-time, or several part-time jobs. We moved into grungy share houses. Yes, we may have gone home for a roast and to use the washing machine, but we left the nest. It was a source of pride to be independent. There were exceptions – often for cultural reasons – but we were gone, baby, gone.
When it came time to buy our first property, mum and dad may have helped out, but often it was on the understanding that it would be paid back. Now – 25, 30 years old – and kids are still at home. They’re not working – they may be doing their second Masters, but they are not behind the counter at Macca’s whilst doing so. Retirement nest eggs are disappearing. You are working full time to an older age and staring down the barrel of no moolah left for you to enjoy. Bang goes your six months a year in Europe.
So how do you counteract this, especially considering these are your children, you secretly love their smelly socks, and you’re hoping they’ll look after you later on in life?
It’s a complex issue crying out to be made simple. It’s your fear of alienation vs their standing on their own two feet. Financially though, your first priority as a woman needs to be you – not your partner, not your children. In terms of the latter, and possibly the former too, you’ve educated them, nurtured them and shaped them into the person they are. The most important part is teaching them independence. Here are a few simple starting points.
- Set them a weekly budget, and if you have given them access to a credit card that you pay for, cut it up and hand over a debit card instead. If they run out before the week is up – tough.
- Mobile phones – pre-paid, by them.
- Teach them financial literacy. Teach the benefits of saving and making additional super contributions.
- Consider insuring them against the financial impacts of serious illness.
- Slap the job ads down in front of them – no more pandering.
- If you employ a cleaner – stop. A 21 year old student can clean a house. Make it a condition of their board. And on that note, make them pay board.
- And with the money that was going to unlimited internet, a cleaner, all of the extras – do something with it for yourself. You’ve earned it. Oh, and get yourself some new skincare. And a safe.