If you are one of the many South Africans that find that they have to stretch their finances to cover family members, it helps to know a few ways in which you can assist them without hurting your finances.
While situations may differ from person to person, these five handy tips can come in handy when it comes to covering your family members without becoming the family ATM.
Assess where you stand
Before agreeing to anything or putting your name on the dotted line for your family, assess your finances. Have a budget that lets you know how much disposable income you have after deductions and once you have paid for the essentials. Doing this can help you avoid biting off more than you can chew and over extending yourself financially. Always remember to print a two or three month banking statement to get a realistic view of where your money goes.
Have an honest conversation
A lot of the time family members have perceptions of how much you have by looking at the materialistic things you own. Although you have every right to not disclose how much you make, it is also critical not to give in to the pressure of the image that they hold of you regarding how much you earn. Having an honest and open conversation are sometimes hard to do, especially when it comes to money. However, being honest with your family members on what you can and cannot afford can also stop you from becoming the family ATM.
Ask for assistance
Being able to support yourself, your children, your parents along with other extended family members can be a heavy financial burden to bear alone. In cases where you are the sole breadwinner of the family, you can re-adjust the budget by cutting back on expenses that people do not really need.
Having other relatives such as your siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles contribute towards expenses can ease the financial strain of having to pay for everything on your own. The aim is to get everyone to contribute an amount that they can afford on a monthly basis to a family account that is held by a trusted family member.
Seek financial advice
Contrary to the belief that financial advice is expensive, it is possible to get this service for free. A financial advisor will assess your and your family’s situation to find future value and benefits of your parents existing insurance products or portfolio.
Downscale if possible
Downscaling your or your family’s lifestyle can be hard at first. However, living a lifestyle that pushes your finances into the red can have lasting effects. Discuss with your loved ones ways on which you can downscale to ensure that the important things are taken care of.
Keeping your finances afloat is a juggling act that most adults are still trying to master, but always remember to have life cover in place to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of even when you are no longer around to do so.