This article was created in partnership with Western Union.
When you were a child, it’s likely that you and your well-being were at the top of your older family members’ list of priorities. Now that you’ve grown up, it’s your turn to provide support and care.
As your family members age, you might find yourself increasingly concerned about their health, retirement income and a variety of other issues. The French government’s plans to introduce changes to the pension system, as reported by Bloomberg, casts uncertainty on the future of retirees in France. And if your family members didn’t prioritize saving for retirement during their working years, any changes to the pension system could have a particularly strong impact on their lives.
If you have the means to do so, offering financial support to your family members is one way to provide for them in retirement. Whether you choose to help pay their medical bills or for home improvement work, or simply to give them cash gifts, your gesture is sure to make your family feel cared for and appreciated.
Here is a guide to offering your retired family members financial support while staying financially healthy.
Track your spending
Before you can offer someone else financial support, you need to ensure there's room in your budget for it.
So, as a first step, track your spending for one or two months. You can do so by downloading a budgeting mobile app and then either entering each expense manually or linking it to your bank account so your spending is automatically logged.
Once you have an idea of how much you spend each month and what you spend it on, you’ll be better able to determine how much you’re comfortable giving your family members.
Find ways to spend less and make more
After tracking your spending for a few months, you’re likely to find ways to spend less without affecting your quality of life. For instance, you might be paying for subscriptions you no longer use. Cancelling them will instantly reduce your spending. You might also decide to start cooking more and eating out less, for both financial and health reasons.
By reducing your spending, you will be in a better position to meaningfully save for your family members’ retirement without feeling financially strained.
In addition to reducing your spending, it also pays to think about ways to increase your income. You might do so by using a portion of your cash savings to invest, renting out property or asking for a raise at work.
Many of these actions require some time and planning. It will be worth the effort in the end, as a higher income will give you a greater ability to provide for your retired family members.
Draw up a comprehensive budget
Now that you have a better idea of what you’re spending money on each month, it will be much easier to establish a realistic monthly budget.
Take into account everything you spend money on, from rent and mortgage payments to the cost of commuting to work. You will also need to decide how much discretionary spending you wish to allow yourself in categories such as entertainment, dining out and holidays. Remember to create room in your budget for long-term financial goals, such as purchasing a home and saving for your own retirement.
At this point, you can decide how much you wish to give your retired family members while ensuring that you’re still able to meet your personal saving and financial goals.
Use technology to stay within budget
Sticking to your budget can be challenging, but technology can make it so much easier. The Western Union® app lets you transfer money and pay bills on your mobile device, making it easy to send cash gifts to your retired family members.
Using the app to transfer money and pay your bills at the beginning of the month will help to instill the discipline you need to stay within your budget each and every month. And with that in place, you can feel good about providing for your loved ones in their later years.