Author Topic: Cutting the purse strings  (Read 2921 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Cutting the purse strings
« on: January 08, 2014, 06:52:26 PM »
Feeling very shy about posting this here. Thought it should perhaps be a journal, but I know I wouldn't keep it going.

I need to stop giving my 34 y.o. son financial support. He runs his own business - was DVD rental but now mostly selling vinyl records, many on consignment. On the face of it, it's very successful and he has many regular customers. The shop is in premises I starting renting in 1982 for a specialist bookshop that I eventually phased out about 10 years ago as he built up his business there. My name is still on the lease together with his as it was easier to continue it that way. The last 3 year lease ends in mid-March this year. It is too expensive for his business to continue there, so he is looking at other options.

I do the books so I know that his business is just about making ends meet and giving him an income, except that I am still paying ALL the rent. He was supposed to be paying me a proportion of it and that worked for a short while, but now he needs to build up funds to cover the move elsewhere.

During the past year I had the opportunity to buy the flat I have been renting for the past 15 years. To do that I liquidated a substantial part of my self-managed super fund. That made me eligible for a part-age pension (I'm 73), but markedly reduced income from the super fund. I've made it clear that I will not pay rent for my son beyond mid-March, whatever he does thereafter. Not so much because I couldn't afford to (I could continue to drain my savings accounts) but because I know it would be healthier for both of us for him to be standing entirely on his own feet.

The blessing is that he has no debt, and uses only a debit card, but his spending habits are not frugal. To that extent he is living within his means, but not really paying his way in the flat he shares with his girl-friend of the last 2 years. Before that, he was living in the bed-sit at the rear of the shop. The girl-friend now uses that as the workroom for her successful boutique dress-making service (mainly made-to-measure wedding-dresses!) where her 'rent' is covered by the shop rent and he shares the flat she rents, but at present pays nothing towards her rent there.

He loves his business and is very good at all aspects of it, works very long hours to keep wage costs down, and is aiming to switch entirely to vinyl with the move, which will reduce wage costs further as he can then work all the hours himself, no longer needing to be open at night for rentals. I am concerned that even then he will not be able to make ends meet and is at risk of alienating his girl-friend if he becomes financially dependent on her in place of me, when I pull out completely.

I would welcome helpful suggestions but not sure I can cope with face-punches yet.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Cutting the purse strings
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 07:06:19 PM »
What do you need suggestions with? It sounds like you're turning a bad-ish situation into a good one at a sane pace and everyone involved is at least somewhat mature about it. I bet it'll go just fine!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Cutting the purse strings
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 07:21:22 PM »
You are a good mum. You have done more than what is needed. Your son is a grown man now and can sort it out.  Looks like the gradual cutting of purse strings will be done by the end of March. May you have health and happiness.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Cutting the purse strings
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 07:31:36 PM »
It doesn't have to be hard - just tell him that you've been going over your own expenses and you need to cut back. It sounds like you've already discussed this with him, so just stick with that.

Technically, you've got enough time for him to adjust to the idea, and it's a perfect out since the contract ends in March.

If he is unable to figure out a viable working arrangement without a parent supporting him at his age, then his girlfriend leaving him because he wants to lean too much on her for support is up to her, but if it is a strong relationship, they'll work it out. But you might need to take a step back emotionally as well, as that aspect is between him and his girlfriend - you can't fight all his battles for him. Trust that he'll figure stuff out on his own and that he will come out okay without your direct help.