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Identify all the lazy dollars in your financial life

Share via Email Jill Meads: Our family dynamics, as you might imagine, are not in great shape as a result. While this is not a new phenomenon, recent research shows that it is a growing one, with increasing numbers of people saying they feel frustrated and annoyed when they see their parents give large sums to a brother or sister who has got into debt, doesn't have a well-paid job or can't afford an unexpected bill or new car, without giving anything to them.

The ripples don't stop there. Like Rachel, more than two-thirds of the 1,700 people surveyed by the Equity Release Council say that parents' decision to financially support their grown-up children has an emotional impact on the whole family.

One in 10 families in the survey add that they "keep secrets from each other" in order to conceal the amount of help that has been given. How can that kind of 'hush hush' attitude not affect how a family interacts and feels about each other?

Add to that the maddening sense of injustice and perhaps you can understand why I have very little to do with them beyond sending birthday and Christmas cards, and making the very occasional visit. This only escalated in adulthood when I failed to marry and have kids and live in the country as she'd hoped, while Matthew became a city banker, where he made his millions.

I once heard him tell her, 'Mum, you're right not to give Rachel a deposit — she's a bad investment. We were never encouraged to compete for their attention and if one of us got something, so did the other.

But I think that's why it hurt all the more when she was given this large sum of money last year.

When cash handouts from mum and dad get you fuming

But the actual amount is a closely guarded family secret, and that's what is most upsetting for me because it so obviously pushes me out and that's a new feeling in our family.

The few times I've asked about it, I've been told firmly that it's between my parents and her and that my 'sour grapes attitude is not endearing'. To be fair, I've been told that they'd help me out if I needed it too, but I'm not sure this is true and that's hurtful too. After all, I could really do with some help with a deposit for a house so that I could have a bit of a life instead of saving every penny I work all hours to earn. But because I have a partner and my parents know I'm naturally more responsible with money than Emma, I expect they'd always put her first.

  • Duh — earning more money or somehow acquiring it through no effort whatsoever — the ultimate dream would certainly make your life easier;
  • Did you have a totally unmemorable dinner out one night when you were feeling too lazy to cook?

That affects how I feel about her because I feel she takes advantage of Mum and Dad. The result of all this is a mess of emotions in my head around my family that are, at the moment, largely negative. And this is from a family that's always been close and loving.

It never ceases to amaze me. I loathe the idea of being financially dependent on anyone, least of all my parents, as I approach middle age. So he's welcome to their cash and it is their cash to give him after all. But it's made me lose respect for him as a person, and that's had an impact on how much time I want to spend with him.

I know it's not a nice thing to say, but I'm not sure I actually like him very much as a result. But he didn't pay the mortgage or the council tax, even when they started paying the money directly into his account for him.

Eventually, the house was nearly repossessed and he was taken to court over the council tax. So they paid the legal fees and then the council tax themselves and then they bought his house. Since then, they've paid for every holiday and car he's ever had and much more besides. They are well-off, but I know that they have recently had to start going without to support him and I know they are concerned about him using up their inheritance in no time at all when they're gone.

I resent him for the stress this causes them. If it's one's birthday, I give the other a present, albeit a small one, too. If I take one out for a treat, I'll make sure I do the same for the other that same week. I am determined that they'll grow up treated equally, including in adulthood.

  1. That is, until a few months ago. So you've got this constant battle between what we're programmed to expect and what is reasonable to expect, although the balance between the two will differ in different personality types and families.
  2. Like a Smartphone, money can do more than one thing.
  3. Adam did," says Christopher. It's like it's their last chance," she says.
  4. There are a lot of resources out there to help do this, for instance this calculator can help show you whether it makes sense to invest even if you have student debt. I know it's not a nice thing to say, but I'm not sure I actually like him very much as a result.

Yes, complete equality is an ideal, but within families — which are messy and full of different personalities, dynamics and needs — it isn't always possible and some adult children just will wind up getting more time, money or even love from their parents than their siblings. Research has shown that this search for fairness in the family is inherent within human beings, even as we grow older. So you've got this constant battle between what we're programmed to expect and what is reasonable to expect, although the balance between the two will differ in different personality types and families.

For many years, my sister and I have felt frustrated by this, feeling that it is holding him back, and there were times we wondered if he would ever have any independence. So when they said they were buying him a house, my sister and I were elated, seeing it as a first step to him having a life of his own.

We cracked open the champagne and felt it was money well spent.

The Cure for Lazy Assets: Get Your Dollars to Do More Jobs!

Adam did," says Christopher. Unfortunately, however, Adam does not use his new home. Despite all our best efforts, the new home just sits there collecting dust and my parents, now in their 80s and increasingly concerned about his future, have changed their will to leave him all their money. But there is a second and perhaps more interesting reason for my resentment too, although I'm not proud of it.

And that is, it just feels one step too far.

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I suppose the unpleasant truth is that most of us, like it or not, do have limits about just how much we want one sibling to be favoured financially.

Much as it pains me to admit it, we do see each other less as a whole family now. In fact, it can be brought to the fore when the parent is elderly. It's like it's their last chance," she says. Contrary to what we might think, emotions don't know time, she says.

  1. But there is a second and perhaps more interesting reason for my resentment too, although I'm not proud of it. With that, we partnered with Chime — a digital bank with some great savings features — to bring you four ways to upgrade your financial health without earning any extra money.
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  4. Eventually, the house was nearly repossessed and he was taken to court over the council tax.

Add to this the fact that parents don't always have the same feelings for each child, particularly in adulthood when personalities are formed and when people often have different needs, and you can see where the difficulties lie. In other words, the bank of mum and dad can have an emotional cost, and it's often high.