Give the gift of financial empathy and understanding this Mother’s Day

Adult children should seize this occasion to engage in meaningful financial discussions addressing the needs of their mothers. Picture: Independent Newspapers.

Adult children should seize this occasion to engage in meaningful financial discussions addressing the needs of their mothers. Picture: Independent Newspapers.

Published May 9, 2024


As Mother's Day approaches and South Africans begin their search for gifts to express appreciation for their mama’s and moms, it offers a unique opportunity to present something truly meaningful: the gift of financial well-being. This is according to Lizl Budhram, head of advice at Old Mutual Personal Finance, who suggest adult children should seize this occasion to engage in meaningful financial discussions addressing the needs of their mothers.

"This Mother’s Day, let’s give the gift of financial peace of mind," asserts Budhram. “These conversations can play a pivotal role in ensuring that our mothers maintain their independence and financial stability,” she says.

Approximately 30% of South African households are multi-generational, with adults often providing support to both parents and children. Women face a notably higher risk of financial vulnerability due to factors such as career breaks for childcare, the gender pay gap, and longer lifespan. This can increase the chance of financial insecurity for their families if these challenges are not planned for.

Budhram offers practical guidance on how to approach these sensitive financial conversations with empathy and understanding:

1. Tailor your conversation

Budhram stresses the significance of delicacy and sensitivity, acknowledging that while some parents openly discuss their financial situation, others may find such discussions uncomfortable. She explains, "It's crucial to tailor your approach to suit the unique dynamics of your mother-child relationship, ensuring these discussions empower her to feel in control of her financial decisions."

2. The time is now

Regarding the timing of financial discussions, Budhram elaborates, "It is prudent to address the subject directly, yet with sensitivity." By initiating open dialogue about finances sooner rather than later. Budhram believes we can mitigate potential future financial challenges. She emphasizes the importance of promptly initiating these conversations to establish a supportive environment that respects the emotional and financial needs of all family members involved.

3. Include the family

Involving siblings and other family members in financial caregiving can significantly influence the process. Budhram highlights the importance of open communication and trust within the family unit, recognizing that differing views on financial management can complicate the process. She underscores, “It’s important to be understanding and empathetic, ensuring that all family members respect their mother's autonomy and wishes.”

4. Be honest

Budhram stresses the importance of "open and honest communication" to navigate this complex process effectively. She addresses the delicate balance required when supporting a parent financially, cautioning against jeopardizing one's own financial future. She warns, "Many children feel emotionally and financially obligated to their parents and often provide as much financial assistance as they can within their current budget. In so doing they could be placing their own long term finances at risk: potentially creating future dependency on their own children and perpetuating the cycle of parental dependence"

5. Get practical

It’s hard to prepare for the worse, but it’s essential. Budhram asserts, "An updated will is always essential." She further elaborates on the importance of understanding the "limitations of a power of attorney" and the significant costs and complexities associated with "curatorship to manage a parent's finances." Additionally, she stresses the significance of promoting "sound and disciplined budgeting" and ensuring adequate medical cover for the elderly.

6. Seek advice

"It’s never too late to seek financial advice," says Budhram. She emphasizes the role of financial advisers as invaluable resources families can rely on to act as a financial soundboard, preserving their mothers' dignity and privacy about their money.

This Mother’s Day let’s transcend customary gifts and engage in meaningful financial conversations to safeguard the ongoing independence and financial security of our mothers. Join us in celebrating Mother's Day by giving a gift that truly endures peace of mind and financial stability.