Updated: August 2023
Whether it’s weddings, birthdays or gifting money for a big purchases such as a car or a house, cash gifts from parents remain popular in the UK. Hodge research found that a third of people have received a financial gift from family, with those aged between 25-34 as the most likely recipients. If you’re looking at gifting cash to children or family, take a look at our top tips and questions.
The “Bank of Mum and Dad” is increasingly where the financial help comes from. Not surprising when you see that the UK savings statistics for 2023 released by money.co.uk show 34% of adults had either no savings, or less than £1000, in a savings account and 65% of people believe they wouldn’t be able to last three months without borrowing money if their income was reduced significantly.
So let’s delve into what you need to consider when gifting cash to children to make the whole process as smooth as possible.
You’re no doubt relieved if you know that there’s a cash gift from relatives coming your way. But you might also be secretly dreading the preceding conversation. Understanding why you’re not looking forward to it can actually help the conversation move forward – often the issue is imagined rather than real! Here are the most common reasons why receiving cash gifts from parents can make you feel uncomfortable.
If you don’t like talking about money, don’t worry, you’re not alone. 81% of us avoid discussing out finances and that includes with those closest to us like family. Remember that your parents might feel the same way, so it’s okay to feel a bit uneasy about broaching the subject. Money doesn’t need to be a negative or taboo topic – everyone needs and uses money after all!
There’s a reason why we have the saying “money and family don’t mix”. If you’ve received cash gifts from parents or given cash gifts to children before and things didn’t go smoothly, make sure you clear out any leftover issues first. Sitting down face-to-face and having an open, honest conversation is the best way to move forward.
Money is strongly connected to our status and how we feel about our independence or worth. Remember you’re not the odd one out and receiving a gift or loan from a family member is very common. It’s also important to remember that the gift comes from a place of love and wanting the best for you.
Children often worry that parents can be overly zealous in trying to help and forget that they have their own financial needs to take care of. Involving a third party such as a financial adviser can be beneficial for everyone involved. You’ll know that your parents are protected and they’ll know they’re giving you the best possible financial assistance.
Our blog, How to ask for money from family is a good place to start if you need some more guidance.
Whether you’re getting prepared to ask for the cash gift or your parents are already thinking of giving you one, here are a few things you can do before and during the conversation so you and your family can make the most out of it:
Research is incredibly important, so make sure you’re prepared well in advance however you intend to spend the money. Know how much money you require and whether you need to rely on your parents for future expenses as well. Giving them the full picture beforehand will help them plan their finances better and give you the support you need.
Clarify, clarify, clarify. Is it a loan or a gift? Are you being given a blank cheque or do conditions apply? Will your parents have part ownership of the property or possession you’re trying to buy? It might seem like you’re conducting business instead of talking to mum and dad, but getting the wrong idea about what it is they’re offering you will make it much more difficult further down the line. If you’re not sure, ask for clarification at every step.
Receiving cash gifts from parents or gifting cash to children off the record is fine for small gifts, but can spell trouble for more substantial ones. It’s always a good idea to outline the main points of the conversation in writing, especially if there are conditions to be met or if the gift is meant to be paid back later.
If you’re the one raising the topic with your parents first, give them plenty of time to figure out what’s the best way to assist you financially. Parents gifting cash to children may also want to know how you’re spending the money and perhaps have an input in that decision. Move the conversation forward by being patient and trying to put yourself in their shoes.
You might have to sell the house your parents helped you pay for, or they may experience financial difficulties later on in life. Even falling out with your family is a possibility. Make sure you discuss what should happen in these unfortunate circumstances before receiving cash gifts from parents.
Did you know that you may have to pay tax on cash gifts to friends and family? Make yourself familiar with The easy guide to gifting & inheritance tax.
This article is correct at time of publishing and for general information purposes only. We recommend you speak to a professional financial adviser for advice. You can find a financial adviser and further personal finance information at www.unbiased.co.uk.