Millicent and I will soon be boarding the big bird to enjoy the beautiful cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, Dubrovnik, Vienna, Prague and Munich; a feat we know is difficult at best to accomplish when running a business, let alone with a family of 4 beautiful kids aged between 1 and 12 years. The credit for this herculean effort goes to the wonderful support provided by our families and the always-reliable Kellie keeping the Kuda Wealth office running smoothly. As my good friend “Ruffin” would say, we’ve been given the ultimate platinum pass: a chance to come up for air, enjoy some good weather and see some amazing cities, secure in the knowledge that our daughter is in the care of grandparents and in the case of my three eldest, that their mother has graciously agreed to step in and cover my week in our week-on, week-off arrangement.
This jam-packed three-week break got me thinking about how lucky we are to have the support of family. For parents of young children, the support of grandparents can provide a welcome reprieve, both emotionally and financially; a privilege that should never be taken for granted.
Many studies have shown the mutually beneficial effects of a close relationship between grandparent and grandchild. Grandparents provide knowledge, maturity, stability, and unconditional love which is reciprocated with the energy, love, optimism, laughter and youthfulness of a grandchild.
From my experience dealing with clients, I have noticed that, similar to attitudes towards investment risk and financial goals, the approach to the grandparenting role is vastly different. This is part of the reason I love my job. I love the diversity of ideas and opinions and really enjoy developing uniquely constructed strategies to match my client’s specific goals and values.
Many clients have wanted to provide some direct financial support for their grandkids, which we’ve organised via regular savings plans, investment bonds, education support and dollar-match saving incentives. Other clients prefer direct, hands-on support in the form of childcare, allowing parents to pursue their careers or enjoy some well-deserved respite!
Sadly, I also have several clients with complicated and even estranged relationships with their kids and grandkids. I have also witnessed awful examples of elder abuse, where kids and grandkids have taken financial advantage of the good nature of aging parents or grandparents.
There are many unexpected situations that can affect a grandparents’ retirement savings. In my role, I can influence many aspects of retirement planning, such as minimising product fees, ensuring correct diversification of investments, pension management and how/when to invest your money. Others I have less control over, such as market performance, health and the unexpected death, disability or illness of a partner or extended family member.
Very quickly, what can appear to be a rather uncomplicated retirement plan can become unstuck. For instance, if adult children with young families have inadequate insurance cover, employment support, sick leave and flexibility in their lives, grandparents can often find themselves faced with the responsibility of ensuring that everyone retains some degree of normalcy, requiring both financial and physical resources which had not been accounted for. As such, I have also had grandparents providing support to their kids in the form of supplementing the insurance premiums for their income protection as a measure to provide tangible financial support and insulate the impact on them, should anything happen to their adult children.
When grandparents are required to assume the role as primary carer for grandkids due to unforeseen tragedies, illness or poor financial planning on behalf of their adult children, European holidays are the last thing on anyone’s priority list. At Kuda Wealth, we try to promote lifestyle planning; we want to ensure that our clients enjoy their time and spend it doing what is important to them. However, while some clients may tick the European travel box as a retirement goal, the single biggest priority universally is the love and care of a healthy family; to ensure they are looked after and supported when the going gets tough.
Millicent and I consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have such support. We recognise that this will not be forever, and at some stage the roles will reverse and we will be required to care for our aging parents. When our clients face similar circumstances, they can rest easy, knowing that they have the support of their financial planner when navigating the often complex requirements for aged care or securing the financial resources necessary to look after loved ones with capacity risks.
Yes, while European travel is nice, most would agree that a healthy and stable family unit holds a little more value than a renaissance painting or spectacular architecture adorned with fresco paintings. Thankfully however, we will be lucky enough to experience both. We will be checking our e-mails throughout the trip and communicating with Kellie, our kids and our parents frequently. We trust that you all keep warm and if you ever want to discuss your options for providing additional support to your family members from a financial perspective, please don’t hesitate to contact the team.