Why do we give gifts to our mothers?
Gift-giving is a big part of the life of most Australians, but as we get older, we start to wonder whether we should give our mother’s gifts too.
Here’s why it matters, and what to do with the gifts you receive.
Gift-givers are different to the people they are giving gifts to 1.3 billion Australians, who are living longer than any generation before or since.
And while the median age of a gift-giver is now around 50, it is likely that many of the oldest Australians are not elderly at all.
As a group, the oldest people are much more likely to be single, to be aged 65 or older, or to be middle-aged.
It is the oldest adults who have the highest rates of disability, illness and mental health problems, according to research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
There are also differences in gift-giving behaviours across cultures.
In some parts of the world, such as the United States and Britain, older people are far more likely than younger people to give gifts, according a study by the University of Oxford.
In Australia, for instance, older women are much less likely than men to give away gifts, with the oldest woman giving gifts about a third of the time as the oldest man.
Gift recipients may be different from their recipients, too.
As part of our tradition of giving to those who have been hurt or lost in our communities, many Australians are giving away their own money to help others.
The generosity that we are seen to feel in sharing our stories is something that we share with our friends and family.
For some, it can be the kind of generosity that can lead to people being kind to us, says Helen Scott, who runs the Australian Charity Giving Network.
For others, it could be the gift of a new smartphone, or a new car.
“It is hard to think of anyone else who has been so generous,” Scott says.
But in many cases, people who give away their money have a different reason for doing so, she says.
“For some people, the reason they give it away is a lot more than simply a sense of generosity.
They give it because they want to give back.”
Gifts are not always appreciated.
As Australians get older and spend more time with their families, they may also have fewer reasons to share their personal financial details with strangers.
In the last decade, gift-sharing has increased from a few hundred transactions per month to more than six hundred per year, according for example to the Australian Social Trends survey.
But there are still significant barriers to giving away your financial information online.
For one, the cost of sharing your financial details online can be prohibitively high.
And some people have other reasons to be cautious about sharing their financial information.
In a survey of Australians aged 55 to 64 conducted by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling in September 2016, people with less than $30,000 in assets reported having more than a third fewer friends and more than half fewer people to socialise with.
That’s not to say that sharing your information isn’t valuable.
But sharing your own personal information can be a valuable way of connecting with friends and giving to charities.
“A lot of people have these kinds of situations, where it is really important to share your life with someone else, and I think it’s important for people to be able to do that,” Scott explains.
“So, it’s a good thing to share the information with someone you know.”
And people who don’t share their financial details have lower risk of being targeted for inappropriate behaviour.
So, why don’t you share your financial data online?
A big reason for not sharing your details online is because there are privacy and data protection concerns.
And that can mean that you could be inadvertently shared or sold your financial info to someone else.
For example, a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports found that 42 per cent of people surveyed said they would be willing to sell their personal information to a financial service if they had the chance.
“If you’re not sharing this data with a third party, then the only way you’re going to be protected is if the third party isn’t going to share it with the first party,” Scott adds.
Sharing your personal information online could harm your financial security, too 4.1 billion Australians are now over the age of 65, according the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
That means they will have more than ever to worry about financial security and are at higher risk of poverty and low income.
A significant proportion of them also have a higher rate of disability.
“People who are older have a greater risk of getting older, so that’s something that’s particularly relevant to older people,” Scott said.
“There are a number of things that can happen to people who are elderly.
You can lose your job, lose your home, lose access to social support, be homeless