Money & Relationships: What to do if your adult children ask for money


Money is known to mar even the best of relationships. The conflict over cash could invade the privacy of spouses over something as innocuous as spending habits, rend the sibling bond over a legacy leading to legal disputes, or rip apart a friendship over borrowed money. While we do not aim to span the legal scope of financial disputes in this column, we will try to deal with financial dilemmas and reduce money-induced friction in relationships, be it family, friends or colleagues.

Should you ask your colleague to return the money he borrowed and forgot? What do you do if your relative asks you to be a guarantor to a loan? What if your sibling wants you to be a partner in his startup?

In this new series, we will help you tackle the awkwardness in a relationship caused by money. To start with, we explain what you should do if your adult child seeks financial aid. Should you give him whatever he asks for without considering its impact on your own financial situation? Or should you simply decline? Here are the six questions that will help you take a decision.

1. Is it a one-time help or has it been a frequent demand?
Your decision should be based on the child’s track record regarding such demands. If this is the first time or a rare instance that he is asking for money, you could consider it. If you know him to be facing a financial crisis, or is in a phase of life where your assistance could set him up professionally, you can offer the money, but on the condition that it is returned in a pre-determined time frame. If, on the other hand, this is only one in a long list of monetary demands that have sprung up from time to time ever since he achieved adulthood, it’s high time you put an end to it.

2. Is it likely to impact your retirement?
This is probably the most crucial question to ask yourself. If you do not have spare cash and dipping into your savings could slash your retirement corpus considerably, you should politely turn down the request. No startup or business venture is worth jeopardising your retirement.

If the child needs the money to tide over a crisis, suggest alternate sources of funding: he can monetise his assets by taking a loan against his securities, insurance or gold; he can sell his less important personal assets; use his credit card to meet an emergency; or as a last resort, take a personal loan. He will probably have enough time to shore up his depleted resources, but you may not be able to do so if you have a few years left for retirement. Also, he can take a loan to meet his financial needs; you can’t do the same to fund your retirement.

3. Is the money for a life-threatening situation or buying an asset?
If it’s the former, no parent can say ‘no’. In case of a medical emergency, parents would willingly empty out their coffers for their progeny. A better option is to be prepared for medical crises and advise the child to buy adequate health insurance. If such an option doesn’t exist, try to monetise your assets first.

If, on the other hand, the money is for acquiring a big financial asset like a house or a car, make sure it is offered as a loan and that you retain the joint ownership for the specified asset. Also lay down the terms of the loan clearly, with no ambiguity over the amount, time frame or ownership.

4. Is the money to be given as loan?
Except for medical emergencies, all funds offered as assistance to an adult offspring should ideally be in the form of loans. It is likely that you have already spent a small fortune on educating your children or for their weddings. If you have empowered the child to earn his own living and establish himself professionally, there should be few occasions for him to run to you for financial help. Avoid being the financial crutch for your child and let him meet his own financial challenges or find solutions to the crises he is facing.

5 Should you have a written agreement?
If the sum you are offering your child as a loan is large, make sure that you draft a legal agreement, clearly delineating the loan terms, including the purpose of the loan, exact amount or principal being offered, interest rate, time frame for repayment, options in case of defaults, and any other conditions you want outlined.

Even if the loan amount is not big, have a written contract in place to avoid family disputes later on. Both the parties should have a copy of the agreement and it should ideally be framed with the help of, and in the presence of, a lawyer. Do not be carried away by emotion and treat it as a business transaction to avoid an unlikely fallout at a later date.

6 Are the other siblings aware of it?
While the level of privacy involving the financial help to an adult child may depend on the dynamics of the family concerned, it is advisable to keep the other siblings in the know to avoid family disputes over inheritance. Also, if you are not in a position to offer the entire sum yourself, the other siblings could be asked to join in and reduce your financial burden.

Make sure, however, that all the transactions are in writing and all the parties have a copy of the agreement. In fact, you should also include the details of the loan in your will, so that if you die before the money is repaid, the amount can be deducted from the child’s inheritance and there is no ill-will involving other siblings.

If you have a wealth whine, write to us…
All of us have been in a financial dilemma when it comes to relationships. How do you say no to a friend who wants you to invest in his new business venture? Should you take a loan from your married brother? Are you concerned about your wife’s impulse buying? If you have any such concerns that are hard to resolve, write in to us at [email protected] with ‘Wealth Whines’ as the subject.

Disclaimer: The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.


AnswerDash: Provide Predictive Answers Before Your Customers Even Ask Them

Think about the last time you visited the FAQ section on a website.

Why must the map on how to navigate the site be sequestered away from the site itself?

Users are often forced to leave whichever page they are looking at in order to track down information somewhere else on your website. And this puts all the burden on your customers, rather than on your website where it should be. Not only must customers leave the page they are looking at to find the information they want. They are often met with pages of gray print that take time to sift through.

AnswerDash has provided an answer to this predicament. The company has eliminated the use of ‘help islands’; or separate, standalone pages that are often slapped onto sites with little to no integration into the flow of the information . Rather than being redirected to a separate page, users are able to access a tab on the page itself and search from there.

This is the exact opposite of the standard help island formula. As AnswerDash representative Morgan Moretz said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “AnswerDash is the next generation of website self-service that gives users the right answers, at the right place, at the right time.

“With AnswerDash, digging through knowledge base articles is avoided. Lengthy typing sessions back-and-forth in a live chat window, whether with a bot or a human, are avoided. Phone calls are avoided. Although this type of ‘in-context’ help has been a concept known to computer scientists for decades, AnswerDash is the first company ever to provide it as a SaaS-based answer layer that can grow over time as Web visitors ask new questions.”

AnswerDash also makes use of analytics, providing the site with data about which questions are asked most often. This data, in turn, provides insights into what is causing potential customers to unsubscribe, abandon carts, or just leave, so that the issues can be addressed and fixed. “Our data shows that 5 to 15 percent of customers on a website will use AnswerDash to get answers to their questions,” Moretz mentions, “That’s 50 to 150 times as much usage as most online businesses that rely on help islands to provide answers.”

According to AnswerDash’s own case study (PDF), its tool helps to reduce customer support volumes by up to 50 percent, which means customers are spending more time looking at your product, not an FAQ. Not only do they spend less time searching for answers, but they also spend less time contacting support phone lines, live chat options, or email. (These solutions can be costly or inconvenient for both parties anyway.) By simply accessing a small tab at the top of the page, users are able to access a list of questions and issues giving them information as quickly as possible.

Creating a streamlined system is critical to retaining customers on your site. When users encounter problems, they often become frustrated, and negative experiences do not bring about repeat customers. Instead, AnswerDash tried to design its system to minimize reliance on huge Q&A sections or frustrating  customer support.

Moretz says, “In recognition of most people’s desire to solve their own problems rather than contacting customer support, AnswerDash makes getting self-service answers easy — much easier than FAQs or other help islands. In fact, most customers never need to type a single word when getting answers with AnswerDash since it’s based on the power of point-and-click.

Image: AnswerDash


Taiwan to Ask for Removal of Uber Apps From Apple, Google App Stores

Taiwan to Ask for Removal of Uber Apps From Apple, Google App Stores

Taiwan to Ask for Removal of Uber Apps From Apple, Google App Stores
Taiwan plans to ask Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pull apps of Uber Technologies available in Taiwan on their app stores, a government official said, upping pressure on the ride-hailing firm that is locked in a dispute with the island.

Uber operates in Taiwan as an Internet-based technology platform rather than a transportation company, which Taiwanese authorities have said is a mis-representation of its service and has ordered it to pay back taxes.

However, Uber has said it is communicating with Taiwan authorities and complies with local regulations.

“Uber has not done what it says it will do, so we are looking at another way by requesting its apps be removed from Apple and Google (app stores),” Liang Guo-guo, a spokesman for Taiwan’s Directorate General of Highways, which is handling the matter, told Reuters by phone on Wednesday.

Liang said the request would include the removal of UberEATS app, which Uber launched in Taiwan on Tuesday as part of its effort to expand beyond its core taxi-hailing business around the world.

It is unclear if the move would succeed in hampering Uber in Taiwan as removing the app would not prevent alternative ways to download it. It is also not clear how apps that have already been downloaded by users will be dealt with.

Uber and Apple did not immediately respond with comments.

A Google spokesperson pointed to policies on Google Play, its app store, which indicate that the company does not allow apps that facilitate or promote illegal activities, but declined to comment further.

Taiwan transport authorities have begun penalizing UberEATS by fining motorcyclists who deliver the takeaways and suspending vehicle licenses for two to six months, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Uber has been facing similar legal scrutiny in markets across Asia. It entered the Taiwan market in 2013, and its growing popularity has triggered anger from domestic taxi drivers, who staged a massive protest against Uber earlier this year.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Uber, Apps, Android, Google Play Store, App Store, Apple


Why two adivasi women and an activist refused to ask for bail in Chhattisgarh

All night on Friday, close to 150 people, mostly Birhor and Gond adivasis, gheraoed the police station at Tamnar block of Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh. They were demanding action against illegal demolitions of 15 houses in Bankheta village, which falls in an area earmarked for a coal mine expansion project.

By 3 am on Saturday, the deputy collector and other officials came to meet the villagers. The officials reassured them that their grievances would be heard.

Earlier in the day, at 10 am on Friday, however, the police arrived with bulldozers, with the intent of demolishing three houses. Nirmala Sidar and Sanyaro Birhor, whose houses were the target of the bulldozers, protested against the evictions. They were picked up by the police along with Rinchin, an activist who joined their protest. The three women were charged for obstructing public servants in the discharge of duty and for obscenity under 147, 186, 294 of the Indian Penal Code.

Even though all the sections are bailable, the women refused to apply for bail, saying the cases were unfounded. Instead, they asked for the police first information reports to be squashed. “The arrest is illegal and the two sections are completely unfounded,” said Rama Vedula, a lawyer.

The bulldozers arrived with the police on Friday morning.
The bulldozers arrived with the police on Friday morning.

Tribal lands

The evictions were to take place for the expansion of the Gare Pelma IV/4 coal mine that lies within the Mand Raigarh coalfields and is operated by Hindalco Industries of the Aditya Birla Group.

Initially, these mines had been allocated to Jayaswal Neco Industries, but their lease was cancelled by the Supreme Court in September 2014. The court deemed 214 coal mines allocated between 1993 to 2011 to private players to be arbitrary. Hindalco won the rights to these mines in auctions held last year.

According to officials at Hindalco, they have paid the additional compensation.

But Birhor disagrees. If they had the right rehabilitation and compensation, why would they not move, she asked.

Rinchin is an activist working for the rights of displaced people in Raigarh.
Rinchin is an activist working for the rights of displaced people in Raigarh.

The district of Raigarh is protected under the Fifth Schedule of India’s Constitution, with special safeguards around the transfer of indigenous lands.

Chhattisgarh’s rehabilitation guidelines state that families, especially those living in districts covered in Fifth Scheduled areas, are eligible for the allocation of alternate land or housing, preferably in the area where they already reside.

The protesting villagers of Bankhet are yet to get alternate land or housing. The state revenue department officials claim an eviction notice was issued to the three households on March 22, asking them to vacate their homes by March 30. However, according to the residents, the notice reached them only on the morning of April 1, the day the bulldozers arrived with the police.

“While land and environmental permits have been swiftly transferred from one coal mine owner to another, vulnerable adivasi communities are still struggling with issues of legacy compensation and rehabilitation,” said Aruna Chandrashekhar, Business and Human Rights Officer at Amnesty International India, who visited the area last month.

A rare victory

Seventeen hours later, the demonstrators seemed to have wrested a tenuous victory. “At least on paper we have won,” said Sanyaro Birhor.

After four hours of discussions with the villagers, the administration has agreed to work on their rehabilitation before they demolish their homes. They have also received assurances from the state administration that any complaint on illegal evictions and faulty land acquisition in the Tamnar region would be taken note of immediately.

The administration promised to look afresh at the police cases against the three women.

“However, we wanted to register a complaint against the administration and the police for attempting to illegally evict these villagers,” said Rinchin, who has been working on land rights in the region for several years now. “That hasn’t happened.”