Christmas is time for families. What about family money?

For many of us, the high spot of Christmas is not the presents or the food, but simply getting the family together.

But for some this is not the rare treat that they might want it to be.

The Office for National Statistics revealed that around 3.4 million 20-34 year olds are still living with their parents, including a third of all men under 34.  This is probably due to the high cost of getting on the housing ladder.

But if having your adult offspring staying with you is the result of their lack of buying power, you may feel the financial effects yourself. Adult children living at home cost parents an average of £1,780 a year in added household expenses according to Fidelity International.

You might of course charge them something towards those costs, but it is unlikely to be anything close to the market cost of room and board. If you are still supporting your children when you are thinking about your own retirement, if will have a serious impact on your own financial circumstances.

Perhaps the first fact to recognise is that the Bank of Mum and Dad does not have infinite resources, and both parents and children need help to make the most of their money and meet their financial goals.

At Continuum, we can help you find solutions which could leave both you and your rising generation better off, by making better use of the whole family’s financial resources.

Getting them on the property ladder

The first step in making the most of family resources may simply be to sit down with everyone in the family to look at a monthly budget, what money they will need for travel, food, socialising and what money will they be able to manage to save.

Remember, this can be more difficult than it used to be for young people. Contactless cards in bars and clubs and wherever they grab a lunchtime bite give no receipt, so keeping track of spending can be something of a challenge.

However, once they do have a budget, they can see how much they can save each month. Putting money into a savings account and possibly into a Lifetime ISA – where it can grow faster with government bonuses – suddenly becomes possible.  Having a deposit for a first flat becomes achievable, even if it will take a few years.

The good news is that your Continuum adviser will be able to explain some ways to speed the process up. They will be able to explain all of the solutions available to you. They can also explain how a guarantor mortgage could help you give them a boost up the property ladder by letting you provide security for a home loan. If you don’t have any cash to spare, and don’t want to remortgage your own home, or dig into your pension pot it could mean giving them the help they need to buy a home of their own, without having to spend a single penny.

Becoming an empty nester

But a review of family finances could help you improve your own financial outlook too. Becoming an empty nester means your priorities will change as much as your monthly budget, making it a good time to review your financial plans.

Downsizing could mean paying off your mortgage if you have not paid yours off already, or release cash if you have. You might want to make that move to a home ideal for your retirement.

Less outgoings could let you boost your pension. You can put up to £40,000 per year in it and It could be well worth doing so if you could afford it – you can take a private pension from the age of 55, so the cash might not be locked away for too long. Building a large pension pot is easier if you start young – but it’s never too late to add more.

An ISA might also be a very good idea for most people, and there is a wide range to choose from.

But whatever you want to do, make sure you get some expert help. A call to a Continuum adviser could be the easiest way to brighten financial prospects for every member of the family.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

The value of pensions and investments, and the income they produce, can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.



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