Calling all Tired Parents

There is no polite way to say this. New research shows that so-called ‘tired’ parents are not good at managing their money.

Sandwiched between the ‘baby boomers’ and the younger ‘millennials’, tired parents represent an emerging lost generation of people aged between 35 and 44 who are not saving and feel disengaged from the personal finance world.

According to research done by YouGov and Boring Money, only 5% of 35 to 44-year-olds have a stocks and shares Individual Savings Account, compared to 10% of 25 to 34-year-olds.

But one in five of ‘tired’ parents has more than £5,000 sitting in a current account, probably earning little in the way of interest.

Neither are 35 to 44-year-olds saving into pensions in contrast to 25 to 34-year-olds who have limited expectations of any State Pension and are as a result squirrelling more away.

If you are aged between 35 and 44, with children under the age of seven at home, it is likely you are a ‘tired parent’: time poor with finances that resemble the family home – seldom tidied and slightly chaotic.

Such parents want to do things online, at home and at speed. Given five options of how to manage money, 36% would rather transact online and on their own, compared to just 20% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

It is so pronounced that they would rather do something online which took less than ten minutes than get two hours of free financial advice in a professional’s office.

Having messy finances is stressful. Some 20% say that since becoming a parent, they worry about their finances but ‘do not know what to do’ while 14% are usually ‘too tired to think about anything financial’.

So here is my challenge – from one tired parent to another. Can you find three and a half hours this month to get your finances sorted?

That is equivalent to the time you would free up by plonking the kids in front of films Frozen and Paddington.

Here is how you could do three simple things to revitalise your finances:

SET UP A WILL

Just one third of adults have a will – it is not up there on the list of things to do at the weekend.

We all struggle. I know a really high-flying couple (lawyers) – tired parents – who guiltily confess they have yet to write wills.

Here is an example of why it is important. Will and Jess live together. They have a baby girl, Alice. They are not married and although they both pay the mortgage, the flat is in Will’s name as he owned it before meeting Jess.

If he dies, Alice inherits the flat and Jess can do nothing until Alice comes of age. There are some horror stories about a parent needing to sue a child for the money, after a partner dies intestate.

Holly says: Watch out for ‘Will Aid’ months or special deals

In ‘Will Aid’ month (usually November, a solicitor will set up a will for just the cost of a contribution to charity. There will never be a better opportunity than this. If you cannot face actually going to see someone, then at least buy a will writing pack from a newsagent and fill it in at home. It is better than nothing.

GET LIFE COVER

Here is a bonkers fact. Let us say you have a car, a dog and a husband. It is more likely that you insure your car and Fido than insuring your other half against the financial consequences of death or serious illness.

Ask yourself the following. What would happen to your spouse or partner and children if the main breadwinner died? Where would the money come from? Who would pay the mortgage and the bills?

It is a nightmare thought but one which a relatively small amount of money would put to rest.

Holly says: I used a comparison website to obtain £100,000 of life cover for the next 20 years, for less than £11 a month. Most comparison websites will get you a quote in less than ten minutes.

INVEST FOR THE KIDS

The younger the children, the less time there is for financial administration.

Just 1% of 35 to 44-year-old parents with kids aged seven and under have a stocks and shares Junior ISA, although 19% have a cash Junior ISA.

This is despite independent research which concludes that over a ten-year period, the stock market is 90% more likely to return more than cash.

Although there are no guarantees about returns, these should be persuasive odds for parents who are saving into a pot over such long time frames.

Holly says: If you are not confident about what you are doing, you can open a JISA via brokers such as Tilney Bestinvest, Fidelity or Hargreaves Lansdown.

Tilney Bestinvest will ask a few questions and then make JISA suggestions. Fidelity offers its ‘pathfinder’ range while Hargreaves Lansdown provides special ‘investing for children’ suggestions. Anyone can pay into these so if you have no spare cash, you could set one up before Christmas and ask kind relatives to pay into it.

‘WE WANTED A FUND THAT WE COULD FORGET’
‘Funds aren’t fun’: Natalie and Alex Cheatle with Will and Maddy

Clinical child psychologist Natalie Cheatle is a ‘tired parent’. She runs her own business The Parent Space – while looking after children Maddy, 11, and nine-year-old Will.

When the children were born, Natalie opened cash Child Trust Funds with Nationwide Building Society.

She says: ‘It seemed a sensible option. The branch was within walking distance from the house and the plans were easy to set up.’

Natalie, 44, lives in North London with husband Alex and their children. Last month, the couple decided to move the old Child Trust Funds to new stocks and shares Junior ISAs from Fidelity.

The money was put into a low-cost Vanguard fund investing in UK equities.

Natalie says: ‘I wanted an investment we could choose, then forget.’

 

Content correct as of December 2016

Share this article

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Holly's blog offers helpful tips, thoughtful ideas and her latest news and events.

Important stuff!

Holly and the team have worked in the finance industry for many years but we are not regulated to give you personal financial advice, nor are we regulated by the industry watchdog (although we do talk to them a lot). For every story on this site about a good investment, or something which went up by 10% or made someone £200, we could share a story about a bad investment, something which fell by 10% or lost someone £200. Nothing’s certain when investing so if you’re really unsure, or dealing with complicated stuff like working out what to do with a pension when you retire, we’d really suggest you get some financial advice. Here are some tips on  how to pick a good financial adviser. Or check out Unbiased or VouchedFor. Just remember, commission has been banned now so advisers need to be very clear with you about what you are paying them and when.