Don’t kill the golden goose

2012-01-21 08:18

It is hard enough to make ends meet and to provide for our own family let alone supporting an unemployed sibling or ageing parent.

It is important when looking at your finances that you make provision for the person you are supporting, but at the same time have an honest conversation with them about what you can afford.

This is often most challenging with parents who do not understand the financial commitments of their children, while the children do not want to disappoint their parents by not providing fully.

The worst situation for everyone concerned is if you have to take on debt to support them and end up in financial difficulty.

There is a saying about killing the goose that lays the golden egg. As the employed person earning a salary, you need to make sure that you stay solvent so that you can continue to support your family.

Sylvia Walker, market development manager at Old Mutual, recommends the following so you can support your family without becoming bankrupt:

Financial support
Can your relative claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund or any other state financial support they may be entitled to, such as a child support grant or disability grant?

Look at their expenses
Luxuries like smoking and drinking must be toned down, particularly if the budget issues are tight. If people smoke, let them roll their own as opposed to buying across the counter.

If it is one unemployed person, by planning menus correctly and being frugal with expenses the additional person’s costs should not break the bank. Three can live as cheaply as two.

Policy payments
The unemployed person may have insurance premiums and investments which need to be paid. Careful consideration should be given to these costs and a decision made whether to continue or not. These costs would have to be recouped elsewhere.

Encourage the family member to generate an income no matter how small.

Look at what skills they have – what kind of work they did while they were formally employed and then plough energy into doing that on a freelance or part-time basis. For example typing, tutoring, bookkeeping or photography, depending on their skills.

There are other part-time jobs one can do without much formal training such as babysitting, house-sitting, walking dogs in built-up areas, washing and ironing service, or even making items to sell at craft markets, utilising a hobby that the person has.

Often, being unemployed leads to a person’s self-confidence being eroded and that is the greatest enemy.

Moral support and perhaps a small financial investment in tools or materials can be a great boost in getting a so-called unemployed person to generate an income.

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