Baby-boomers are called the sandwich generation—and with good reason. They were expecting to pay for their own retirement and their children’s college education; but now recession upon recession has toppled their elderly parents’ savings, and Boomers find that they are faced with the prospect of shouldering the financial burden of their parents’ final years as well. The pressure of providing for so many people at once can quickly become overwhelming, and using one’s own savings or retirement fund can begin to look like an easy solution to immediate financial concerns.
Although it may seem like an easy fix to looming financial debt, don’t give in to the temptation to use your own savings. Before you give in to fear and drain your retirement, get some professional financial advice. This special edition recently released in the New York Times shows that it is possible to prepare for what’s coming—both for your parents and yourself.
Our first recommendation is to discuss your situation with a trusted financial advisor. After that, one of the primary suggestions offered in the Times is to talk to your parents about their situation. It may not be easy; be prepared for your initial advances to be met with resistance. Aging parents often worry that they will lose control of their own finances, or that giving decision-making capacity to one child will lead to anger or hurt feelings among their other children. Instead of gearing up for a fight, the article mentions a few ways to gently lead into the conversation (including talking about family philanthropic projects.)
Another discussion you won’t want to skip is one about Long-Term Care Insurance. This article by Ron Leiber discusses different kinds of insurance, whether or not you’ll need it (you will), and how to pay for it.
The world of “old age” is changing. People are living longer, experiencing more long-term health issues, and without the same ability to rely on government “entitlement” programs as their predecessors. Serious discussion and serious planning are essential to surviving the challenges of the “new” old age.