I’ve been on this entrepreneurial journey for about six years now. Though the last business I had didn’t go well, I’m still keen to get my product and services out in the public. This year, I have a very special project that I’ve been planning over the past six months. I also have the capital to support the introductory phases of the business.
‘I’m a mom of one, and my husband is the stay-at-home dad. I work full-time and I allot the majority of my earnings to funding my business venture.’
However, I have this massive conflict when it comes to my finances, which I would have to admit, have always been my weak spot. Last year, I started training myself to not be impulsive about my spending and to create a realistic budget that applies to our needs and lifestyle.
I’m a mom of one, and my husband is the stay-at-home dad. I work full-time and I allot the majority of my earnings to funding my business venture. However, I’m also the first-born in the family and you could say that we live in poverty. We currently live with my parents in a rented home, but we’re planning to move out.
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This familial responsibility has always prevented me from going all out in business. There are times when a certain business budget would go to family spending because of emergencies. So, my sites would go down, subscriptions and merchants not paid, because I have to reallocate my funds to family expenses.
‘Do I use my spare cash for the business, which has long-term benefit and good returns, or do I focus on providing for my family and my parents?’
Meanwhile, as the first-born, I’m torn with this family responsibility of having to “save” my parents from poverty. From rent and other expenses, I feel like I should lighten their burden. Nobody else will. Even the college debt of my sibling falls onto me. If we moved out, we would be comfortable and have food on the table.
Do I use my spare cash for the business, which has long-term benefit and good returns, or do I focus on providing for my family and my parents? I can only stretch myself so far and, if I rely on my earnings ($30,000 per year), I can’t get us out of this situation. I can’t build a college fund for my child. I can’t plan for my MBA, and so forth.
I’m torn between supporting my parents and pursuing long-term business goals to support my husband and child. What do I do? Do I provide for my family for a year and put everything else on hold? Or do I just trust that my parents will somehow survive — and pursue my business interests, which have a 50/50 chance of success? I feel like I’ve been in a loop for months and I just can’t get out!
First Born in Colorado
Dear First Born,
You have been shouldering the financial burden for your family — and they are happy for you to do it. You have been helping to pay off your sibling’s student loans — and they are happy for you do it. You have been living with your parents and husband and child — and your parents have been happy for you to do it. You have been putting your own dreams on hold — and once again your family has been happy for you to do it. I can’t say they’re selfish. They’ve become accustomed to your pace. It’s all they know.
Hold a family meeting with your sibling, and talk about the division of familial responsibility. What can each of your afford? What kind of help will your parents need in the years ahead?
Hold a family meeting with your sibling, and talk about the division of familial responsibility. What can each of you afford? What kind of help will your parents need in the years ahead? Why are you paying your sibling’s student loans when you can’t even save enough money for your own child’s education? I applaud you for doing so much, but it’s time to put your own husband and child first. You have a right to live your life. It may be that you and your sibling take turns with your parents throughout the year.
Also see: My boyfriend and I have two kids — should I pay off his $130,000 student debt?
Nearly 10 million adults over the age of 50 take care of an aging parent, according to Met Life. The number of adult children caring for an elderly parent and/or providing financial assistance has more than tripled over the past 15 years. One-quarter of adult children provide some type of care for their parents. The estimated lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits are $3 trillion. For women, lost wages due to leaving the labor force early to take care of an elderly parent totals $142,693.
One-quarter of adult children provide some type of care for their parents. The estimated lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits are $3 trillion.
There are ways to be paid as a care giver for a parent rather than be one of the 43.5 million adults in the U.S. who have provided unpaid care to a family member within the prior 12 months: A private contract between you and your parents, tax credits, and Medicaid-funded programs. There are online resources, including the AARP, that can help you see if you qualify for public benefits or state, federal, and private programs to help pay for groceries, prescription drugs, health insurance and home help.
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Members of the Moneyist Facebook Group have some additional suggestions. One writes, “Get thee to the Colorado Small Business Development Center nearest you.” Another wrote, “I had a mentor through the program in Maryland and it was the best thing I ever did. It helped me get an attorney as an adviser and I started my business plan. The classes were free and the money I spent on the attorney and writing were the best $800 I ever spent on NOT starting a small business.”
Some words of caution. I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit, and female business owners are sorely under-represented in America. But you are the sole breadwinner and you owe it to yourself and your husband to restore financial stability to your family before pursuing a venture that has a 50/50 chance of succeeding. Only risk what you can afford to lose. At present, that does not seem to be a lot. Keep working on your business plan, but keep in mind a worst-case scenario.
You’ve been a loyal daughter and sister, to a fault. It’s now time to put your husband and child first.
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Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.
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