If you can accomplish several objectives with just one expenditure, then that is a wise use of money. You can find such a win-win-win by going for — and paying for — a family vacation with your adult children and grandchildren.
With a wry grin and only a little bit of seriousness, I’ve referred to this as bribing my adult children to spend time with me. But we would all agree that it’s worth it.
Building family memories, blessing adult children with an experience they may not be able to afford, having fun together away from routine distractions and busyness — what better way to spend money while enjoying your savings and their inheritance!
Many clients say they hope to travel and spend time with grandchildren. Do both while you have money and energy — and while the next generations can be easily bribed.
Our daughters and their husbands are so appreciative of us “sponsoring” the trip. Why leave them money in an IRA 20 years from now (when they may not need it) if we can all enjoy being together now? Gleaning from my experience and those of other clients, here are some ideas to consider.
Go big or stay home. For them to use vacation days from work and be stuck with you, go all out. For us, this is a ski trip out west. For others, it may be renting a large beach house or going on a Disney trip with all the extras. But don’t stay at a roadside motel or make everyone sit through a timeshare presentation to get theme park tickets. Reach for something beyond what you and your spouse may normally do. Yes, this may come with a hefty price tag, but you won’t regret it.
Communicate clearly from the start that you’re sponsoring it (paying for it all). Avoid any uncertainty as to who is picking up the restaurant check or the water slide tickets. Some say to their kids, “You get there and then we pay for everything else.” My wife and I decided we pay for everything except the souvenirs.
Hold your tongue and refrain from sighing about the “going big” cost. You’re not just providing a trip; you’re also providing an example of how to give. So don’t kill the mood by grumbling about how this trip costs more than your first two cars. Instead, be a generous and joyful giver. Focus on how thankful you are to be able to bless your loved ones.
Divide up responsibilities. Just because my wife and I are the sponsors doesn’t mean we are cooking and cleaning up after every meal. We assign each couple a night of cooking (including menu planning and clean up), and a different person leads the devotion each night.
Allow for some individual or couple time. While the main activities may be large group time, the introverts need their reading time. It’s the adult children’s vacation too, so they need time as a couple.
Preserve the memories. Pool together the photos from everyone’s phones and assign the tech guru of the family to make a photobook or some other digital remembrance. And, of course, you sponsor that and send as a gift to continue getting credit for such a great time!