You absolutely must protect your boundaries when it comes to your cash. If not, you won’t need to worry about what to do with your savings – because you won’t have any. Here is an e-mail I received. I wanted to share it with you and hear your reactions:
“I have a 62 year old friend called Isy. Two years ago he had a heart by-pass and retired early. Isy has been giving money regularly to his son since college (around $8k per year).
Despite his son graduating and being employed full-time, Isy has said he will pay his sons mortgage and other important bills if he is made redundant. He son does not ask where the money is coming from. However, Isy has told me that he will be cashing in his investments.
Isy told me he is now deeply concerned over his own financial future. He pension is enough to live off but he is now using up his reserve tank that would have otherwise be used to battle the effects of inflation. When I spoke to him on Thursday the worry was very clear in his voice. I am concerned over his health. His doctors has told him to avoid stress but the reality is his actions are actually giving him more stress.”
What was your first reaction when you read about Isy?
Were you about ready to get on a plane and kick his son’s butt? Did you feel bad for Isy? Me too. Then I read the email again.
I didn’t change my mind about Isy’s son. I still wanted to get on that plane. But I also got a bit agitated by Isy. Did you? After all, Isy’s been his son’s personal credit card since his boy was in college!
Isy has practically trained his son to be a slug. Right?
Clearly, Isy’s heart is in the right place. He just wants to help his son. But at the end of day, he and his son are both accomplices in the murder of Isy’s retirement. And if the problem isn’t addressed, Isy may lose much more than his money.
I think we can all learn from Isy. Wait…amendment…we have to learn from Isy. And we need to apply these lessons when it comes to everyone – not just our kids. As painful as it is, we have to let others suffer the consequences of their financial and life decisions. This is good both for ourselves and for others.
If your financial boundaries are wobbly, here’s how to pour the cement to make them a little less so:
1. Identify the problem.
Isy’s son’s problem was that he didn’t know how to take care of himself. Isy’s problem is that he continues to enable his son and spend down his own retirement with no end in sight. He’s not setting any boundaries with his son.
Is somebody around you stepping over the line? Do you need to set new boundaries? Is someone’s spending or investing behavior causing you a nuclear-sized headache? Who is it and what are they doing? More important, what are you going to do about it?
2. Consider the alternatives.
Based on what we’ve read about Isy, we know he’s not going to kick his son to the curb – an immediate cash cutoff is not going to happen. But he could tell him that the cash support will taper off over the next 12 months. This gives Junior plenty of time to make plans and adjustments.
If you face a similar problem, how will you ease into a solution?
3. Make a decision and accept the consequences.
While the first two steps are relatively easy, this last step is what separates the Pilgrims from the wimps. When you draw a line, you tick people off. They are used to wiping their feet on your account statements. And when you stop allowing them to do it, they don’t like it. Expect some blowback.
How do you think Isy’s son is going to like being told the ATM machine is no longer functioning? How are other people when you your stop the financial bailout? Are you ready for it? Have you ever taken this kind of action in the past? How did it turn out?