Written by Patrick Ingram, Retirement Specialist 16th December 2019

For adviser use only

In Charles Dickens’ famous story, Ebenezer Scrooge is warned not to be a miser by the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, who appears in chains and rattling cash boxes.

Scrooge is then shown the negative outcomes of his approach to money by another vision, the Ghost of Christmas Future, foreseeing his own lonely death.

Thinking about Christmases yet to come

Considering how generous we want to be in all our own Christmases Yet to Come, it makes a lot of sense in planning for retirement - particularly if grandchildren are part of the equation, or are likely to be at some future stage. They can often bring significant lifestyle changes.

According to recent SunLife research, British grandparents invest a great deal of time and money on their grandchildren. This year, they aim to spend £81 on Christmas presents for each grandchild which, with an average of 4 grandchildren, means over £300 a year in total.

Add birthdays into the equation and the amount they spend could be £600 or more. That’s an average, of course. In overall terms retired people are parting with £9bn for clothes, toys and hobbies, pocket money, holidays and savings for their grandchildren.

And then there is child care.

The average retired couple is spending 9 hours a week looking after their grandchildren, saving the parents £1,902 pa on childcare and nursery fees. Almost no-one is paid for this work, or reimbursed for the travelling and food costs involved, so taking on this joyful responsibility leads over a fifth of grandparents to dip into their savings. A small minority of 7% are faced with going into debt to allow their own children to keep up their careers.

When thinking about how our children’s lives will play out, it makes sense to ‘expect the unexpected’. When family comes first, the idea of having a pot of contingency money just in case, might be wise.

Everyone loves Santa Claus, and no one wants to be Ebenezer Scrooge - unless it’s the one who discovered the meaning of financial wellbeing, and turned his life around.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

The above article is intended to be a topical commentary and should not be construed as financial advice from either the author or Parmenion Capital Partners LLP. If a client wishes to obtain financial advice as to whether an investment is suitable for their needs, they should consult an authorised Financial Adviser. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns.”

Any news and/or views expressed within this document are intended as general information only and should not be viewed as a form of personal recommendation. All investment carries risk and it is important you understand this. If you are in any doubt about whether an investment is suitable for you, please contact your financial adviser.