Dear Grandparenting: When I am asked how many grandkids I have, it’s all I can do to stop myself from saying “too many.” I am a generous soul—especially with my grandkids—but the little rascals were driving me to the poorhouse.
I didn’t start out wealthy and now I’m cutting a few corners. You know how it starts. What’s $10 or $20 when it gives them so much pleasure? It was oh so easy for me to get carried away.
Did I go overboard? Of course, but I wasn’t worried until my accountant son-in-law ran the numbers. That was my wake-up call. My late husband never wanted to spend down our capital and he was so right. Hope this warns others in time. Marlene Ware, Lady Lake, FL
Dear Jinks: Grandparents are often cast as models of moderation, except when it comes to spending down the nest egg on grandchildren.
Parents do a great many things for their children, but grandparents will do just about anything. A recent American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey took a closer look at grandparents’ spending habits. Birthdays and Christmas tied for the most popular—about 95% of grandparents think gifts are in order on both occasions.
The next most common reason grandparents contribute financially was to “enjoy buying things for grandchildren” at 89%, followed by “to entertain or have fun with grandchildren” with 82%. More than half of all grandparents pitch in for educational expenses. Nearly one-third ante up “because grandchildren ask for things,” while a quarter often help pay for medical or dental expenses.
While grandparents will spend generously to support basic needs like education and medical expenses, the survey showed they are even more generous with their discretionary spending, digging ever deep to fund feel-good moments and memories.
It is certainly every grandparent’s prerogative to indulge their grandchildren, but many have trouble applying the brakes. More than a third of grandparents already help with everyday living expenses, says AARP. Make a budget and stick to it.
** ** **
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK Tom and Glory Jones from Kingsport, TN “don’t have all that much to get excited about anymore” said Tom. “Once a week we bust loose. The grandkids are coming over!”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.