Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Financial Ties to Parents and Children Affect Boomer Retirement

Boomers, though arguably the most prosperous generation in American history, face mounting demands on their financial resources from both their adult children and their aging parents. In fact, one in six Boomers surveyed is "sandwiched," providing assistance to both their parents and adult children, according to Ameriprise Financial’s Money Across Generations study.

Boomers are torn between helping their adult children pay off debts and get started, and helping their aging parents with necessities. This help often comes at the expense of funding their own retirement.

Being smooshed seems to involve difficult choices, usually with too few resources. And the question is, are we helping our adult children by helping too much? For those who still have children at home, it’s important to think carefully about how much help we should give and when to require them to be responsible for themselves. My husband and I have very different perspectives on this. His parents provided everything for him through college, and were generous until their deaths. My parents provided nothing. I paid for college, grad school, and all expenses from junior high forward. Yes, it was very hard and I missed out on a lot. But I learned to be independent and make my own way.

As we’ve raised our son, we’ve engaged in an interesting blend of these two. The result has been a young man who is financially wise and independent. We’re so pleased with the financial decisions he and his wife are making, avoiding debt from the beginning. Hopefully that will continue since we are already retired and don't have money to spare.

Now I need to move some of Mom’s money to keep her independent…

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