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I feel guilty being away from my children but how do I tell them I can’t afford to send them money/gifts all the time?

To begin with, it’s important to maintain regular communication with your family while you’re away. Make sure you have regular open discussions about finances, but also remember that the conversation should not always be about money, as this can be stressful and can lead to unhealthy family relationships.

It is hard to deal with the guilt of being so far from your children, but remember that money or gifts do not replace your love. Children learn from our behaviour. If you keep sending money or gifts, whether it is needed or not, the lesson they will learn is that it is easy to get money if they ask. If you go on big shopping sprees when you visit home, whether you can afford it or not, the lesson they will learn is that when you come home it means they can shop more. You can still show your love for them but you can lead by example and gently educate them about the value of your money. 

You could show your love in other ways - by having quality conversations with them, showing an interest in their hobbies or passions, or giving them thoughtful, homemade presents that they can cherish. 

You can also share with them what you are learning about financial education, so that they can understand how to save and prepare for their futures, and how to work with you as a team to achieve your goals together. Get them invested in your goals so they can see a direct connection between saving money and having you home to be with them sooner.

Doing this is a long-term investment in their future too, by gifting them essential skills and knowledge, rather than a one-off show of wealth (e.g. new shoes, mobile or iPad).