Are Your Clients Financially Enabling Their Children?

“Pleeeeeze?” Your nine-year-old daughter has spent her allowance but is begging you to buy her a toy she “just has to have.”

“I really will pay you back this time. I promise.” Your 30-something son, despite a history of non-payment that would make a banker flinch, is asking for another loan to get him out of another financial hole.

If you can’t say no to requests like these, you might be financially enabling your children. It is one of the most common harmful money behaviors I see.

Most parents want the best for their children. But when does extending a helping hand to a child become emotionally or financially disabling? Sometimes parents’ heartfelt desire to help paves the way to children developing an attitude of entitlement and a disabling financial dependency on others.

Financial enabling is the inability to know when to say no when people continually ask for money. It harms both the recipient and the giver. Often, enablers can’t say no even when they know they can’t afford to keep giving money. Research suggests that about 60 percent of parents provide financial support to children who are out of school.

Why Do People Enable?

Why do parents—including your clients—enable? Often out of love and good intentions that are loaded with unconscious baggage. The enabling may be a quest to meet parents’ emotional needs. It is often driven by feelings of guilt and shame. This can come from just about anything, but divorce, hard financial times and abuse are some of the leading reasons. Other reasons are wanting to save the child from experiencing a financial struggle or a money script that giving money equals love.

Some signs of parental enabling are:

  1. Sacrificing or jeopardizing your financial well-being for children.
  2. Having trouble saying “no” to children’s requests for money.
  3. Repeatedly being taken advantage of financially by your kids.
  4. Lending money without a clear agreement for repayment.
  5. Feeling resentment or anger after giving money.

It is no wonder that financial enabling usually ends up damaging the relationship, which is usually the opposite of the enabler’s intent. Research finds enabling often leads to depression, a sense of being out of control and poor physical health for both parties.

Financial enabling often ends up damaging the enabler’s financial health by eroding net worth, increasing credit card debt, diminishing financial independence and even bankruptcy.

Financial enabling also damages the recipients. The parents’ good intentions often backfire and can result in adult children failing to develop their own financial skills and experiencing emotional side effects. In severe cases, when adult children have become dependent on money from parents, they can experience fear and anxiety over being cut off, anger and resentment and lower levels of motivation and passion to succeed and become financially self-sufficient.

Healthy Giving

Not all parental giving is enabling. Some signs of healthy giving are:

  1. It is clear to both parent and child that the money is a one-time gift with no expectation of repayment.
  2. The gift will not harm the giver’s financial well-being.
  3. The use of the funds is transparent.
  4. There is no history of chronic requests for money.
  5. The money promotes children’s financial health rather than making it easier for them to continue harmful financial behavior.

If you realize that you are financially enabling your children, what can you do? As with other destructive behaviors, sheer willpower probably won’t be enough for change. You may need a trusted guide to help you explore the history behind the behaviors. Engaging the help of a financial therapist, financial life planner or a psychotherapist with some expertise in money issues is a good place to start.

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Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, is a pioneer in integrating financial planning and psychology. He is a 2019 recipient of the InvestmentNews annual Innovator Award and one of Investopedia’s top 100 most influential financial advisers. He is a distinguished adjunct professor at Golden Gate University and a co-author of four books blending financial planning and therapy.


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5 Tips to Up Your Marketing Game

You’re a financial planning expert. Marketing might not be your thing. But here are some relatively easy goals you could potentially achieve before 2019 is over.

1.) Get out in your community.

Among the top marketing tips on Business.com is to get involved in the community. Donate prizes to local competitions and contests. Connect with people. Attend local events, volunteer, network, and create awareness about your business.

“Participating with community members this way can help you make stronger connections that you otherwise wouldn’t have through the normal business events,” Ally Scott writes in the Pulse Marketing Agency article, “Why Community Involvement Is Good for Your Brand.”

Then, when somebody needs a financial planner, they’ll remember that one planner (you) they met at that one event, or who donated that prize for that one local contest or silent auction.

Another way to get involved in your community is to serve on community boards. Gloria Zamora and M.L. Hanson (of the Colorado-based Boardbound by Women’s Leadership Foundation) noted in a recent FPA Latino Knowledge Circle call that non-profit and corporate boards alike are always looking for professionals with financial expertise to serve. Catch a replay of their call here.

2.) Hire a good writer.

The buzz around content marketing and personalized content for email campaigns has been growing for years now. But you hate writing. Or maybe you love writing but you have no time. Investing in a freelance writer to interview you on key topics and write your blog posts and email copy might be helpful, said Robert Sofia in the Financial Planning article, “How Advisors Can Up Their Digital Game.”

3.) Keep it consistent.

Whether you hire a writer or write it yourself, make sure if you are producing content, you are consistent with posting it. In the Forbes article, “Why Content Consistency Is Key to Your Marketing Strategy,” Jon Simpson writes it’s crucial to adhere to a schedule to build credibility and better customer experience. You might remember author Claudio Pannunzio noted in a recent blog post that an excellent client experience is better than any other marketing tactic.

4.) Talk to the media or write for professional publications.

If you see a financial planner being quoted in the news—and they happen to be an FPA member—chances are they’ve gone through FPA’s media training. (Virtual media training comes with your FPA membership. Not a member? Become one today.) After going through the training, members receive inquiries from the press and respond to the ones they want to answer.

Dennis Nolte, CFP® professional, told TheStreet.com that talking to media outlets was one of his methods for marketing on a budget.

Another way to market yourself is to establish yourself as a leader by writing for the profession’s trade and professional publications. Go to their websites, find their writing guidelines and pitch and write relevant content. If you want to learn more about how to write for this blog, or the Journal of Financial Planning, join me this Thursday at 2 p.m. EDT for an FPA Latino Knowledge Circle call on that topic. Journal Editor Carly Schulaka will also be on the call to answer any questions you might have. (Also, in case you missed it, you can now register for Knowledge Circle calls).

5.) Get help. If you have no clue what you’re doing, get help. In the July issue of the Journal,columnist Evan T. Beach writes about how there is no silver bullet to marketing success. Hire somebody who is an expert in marketing of all types—whether it’s a full-time staffer or a marketing firm. There is no shortage of financial planning marketers out there.

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Ana Trujillo Limón is senior editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org, or connect with her on LinkedIn

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Is the Global Space Economy the Next Big Investment Theme for Clients?

Today, the global space economy is estimated to be worth $384 billion. By 2040, Morgan Stanley estimates that value will nearly triple, reaching $1.1 trillion. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is even more aggressive in its projections, suggesting the space economy could represent as much as $2.7 trillion by 2045.

This presents a huge opportunity to capitalize on the future expected growth of a sector that—up until recently—has been largely off limits to the average investor. Baby boomers, millennials and Generation X have all been captivated by the “final frontier,” and may soon want to explore these investments further.

Advisers may not be able to ignore such opportunities if investor demand grows. It is crucial to understand the value of investing in space and where clients can turn to gain access to this emerging sector.

Here are three key reasons why now may be the time to invest in space:

1.) Trade wars fueling government investment

Recent news from Washington, D.C., paints a promising picture about the future of the Space Force, a proposed sixth branch of the U.S. military that would organize, train and equip military space personnel. Although the details of the Space Force are still being negotiated, President Donald Trump and key members of the House and Senate all recognize the importance of American defense capabilities in space. By creating a Space Force that operates independently of the Air Force, greater emphasis could be placed on space-related career paths and space acquisition programs. From an investment perspective, this could lead to more robust defense spending on space-related hardware, software and services, especially at a time when trade wars are shining a spotlight on protecting national interests and security.

Governments are also looking to buy services from private companies rather than specifying or building their own systems. In one recent example, NASA awarded contracts to commercial companies that will transport NASA science instruments to the lunar surface. This approach is intended to stimulate creative commercial solutions to government challenges, essentially creating a new kind of “space race” that could result in powerful new capabilities that create value for non-government customers as well.

2.) Commercial revenue growth

The majority of future growth in the global space economy will likely take place in the private sector, as was the case over the past decade. Today, private industry already accounts for 80 percent of the space market. While governments continue to sponsor space-related initiatives for science, exploration and defense, private industry leads the way in addressing the needs of businesses and consumers.

Traditionally, private companies have encountered barriers to entering the space market due to high costs associated with the sector. However, many types of satellites can now be manufactured inexpensively due to advances in electronics. On a different front, the introduction of reusable rockets has contributed to a drop in launch prices, increasing the accessibility of space. In addition to these innovations, global space policy has become more defined, offering commercial entities greater legal and regulatory clarity about how they can operate in space. This significantly reduces the risk of investing in space, another catalyst for commercial investment.

Commercial opportunities to invest in space will continue to expand as products are developed for interplanetary exploration. While the idea of lunar colonies and asteroid mining may seem far-fetched today, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and reusable spacecraft are rapidly changing our approach to the formerly insurmountable challenges of space.

3.) Disruptive technologies reliant on space-based systems

Space-related systems have become the toll operators for the data superhighway. Satellite-enabled navigation (such as GPS) is the driving force behind the ridesharing apps and location-based delivery services that have opened entirely new markets on Earth. Satellite-based technology also fundamentally influences disruptive investment themes like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and cloud computing.

The pioneers who invest in these transformative technologies believe the amount of data created and utilized for these applications may expand exponentially. Companies developing the infrastructure necessary for the transfer of all this data will be instrumental to successful operation, and as such, are well-positioned to benefit from the expected growth of each of these industries.

Other industries have had profitable “toll operators” as well. Rail providers, for example, have been critically important to the movement of physical goods for more than 100 years. Today, the world is driven by digital assets and goods, and space-related systems make their transportation and communication possible.

The growth of the global space economy over the next 20 to 25 years will incorporate many industries including technology, manufacturing, biotech and mining, as well as areas we have not yet envisioned. The opportunity for investors is far-reaching and evocative of any major industry at its inception state, such as when Ford debuted the Model T or when initial iterations of the internet appeared.

Introducing your clients to satellite-manufacturing companies and other space-related technologies could offer a way to capitalize on the opportunities in this sector today and for years to come. The “space revolution” is upon us, and your clients cannot afford to ignore it.

Editor’s note: Want to see more about the trends in investing clients are asking about and your fellow planners are exploring? Check out the FPA/Journal of Financial Planning Trends in Investing Survey findings

Andrew Chanin is the co-founder and CEO of ProcureAM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Procure Holdings, LLC. ProcureAM is a new exchange-traded product (ETP) issuer behind The Procure Space ETF (NYSE Arca: UFO), the world’s first global ETF to give investors pure-play access to the expanding space industry.