PITTSBURGH -- In his book highlighting the damage that can be caused by swindlers and how to avoid them, author Ward Garner included a section on family and money.
Experience has taught him that many parents are willing to jeopardize their financial independence when it comes to their children -- and many children will gladly encourage their parents to spend money on them.
"Kids can mortgage a house, finance a car and get loans for college, but parents cannot borrow for retirement," said Garner, 54, a financial adviser at Bill Few Associates in suburban Pittsburgh and author of "How to Protect My Million: Strategies to Identify and Avoid Swindlers."
"It's hard to say no to your kids," he said. "Kids can be a big swindle because they hold the keys to a parent's heartstrings."
One client of his -- a single mother -- inherited $750,000 a decade ago. After paying for her children's college education and buying them new cars and houses, she is left with only $250,000.
"She would have about $1.5 million today had she not let her kids swindle her into believing it was OK to lavish them with cars, college education and homes," Garner said. "The fact is this lady will live with less in retirement.
"Kids are not necessarily interested in their parents being financially independent," he said. "They want what they want. Parents work until they die and that's how kids see it."
While Garner is a financial adviser, his book is not really a financial planning book. There are no chapters on how to invest in stocks or mutual funds. Instead, there's information on spotting false promises, learning to say no, navigating tax problems and avoiding swindles related to aging and death.
The self-published, 162-page book was released in August. Garner said he has been generating sales of about one book a day since September on Amazon.com, as well as through speaking engagements where his book is available for sale.
"I never realized how many different types of swindlers there are until I wrote this book," Garner said, adding there are two general types -- the intended and unintended swindler.