Assess your family obligations

Key Points

  • Supporting family members can impact your retirement.
  • Assisting aging parents has an impact on both time and money.
  • 61% of parents report helping their adult children financially.1

Today, many pre-retirees and retirees are financially responsible for more than just themselves. Aging parents and adult children may also need financial support. Understanding these expenses can help reduce their impact on your retirement.

Caring for aging parents

As your parents age, they may need an increasing level of financial support and help with everyday tasks. It's important to keep these new responsibilities from affecting your own retirement and financial security.

You may be reluctant to begin potentially uncomfortable conversations about financial and end-of-life issues with your parents. When siblings are involved, differences of opinion on lifestyle, health care and estate planning preferences can further complicate an already stressful situation. However, many elderly parents are comfortable discussing these issues with their adult children.

A financial advisor can serve as a neutral party in financial discussions, offering suggestions to help you and your parents deal with income, expenses, taxes, gifting and other issues in a way that sustains your own retirement planning.

Supporting adult children

While 89% of parents say that helping their adult children is rewarding1, it's tough to balance supporting your grown children while guiding them towards financial independence — especially if you are also supporting aging parents. And once you're in retirement, you may not be able to replenish the money that you're giving to your kids.

Now is a good time to speak candidly with your children about money and responsibilities. Encourage them to form a relationship with a financial advisor who can help them with life planning, debt management and financial security, while taking some of the burden off of you.

Balancing act

Taking care of eldery parents and adult children takes on many forms, but when it comes to an aging parent, it’s more about time than money. And the reverse holds true for support and assistance for adult children.

Percentage of adults who have helped at least one parent 65+ or one child 18+ in the past year

  Helped a parent age 65+ Helped an adult child age 18+
Financially 28% 61%
With errands, housework or home repairs 58% 39%
With personal or child care 14% 33%

Note: Respondents with at least one parent age 65 and older were asked about providing personal care, such as bathing and getting dressed; grandparents were asked about helping their adult children with child care for their grandchildren (shown here based on all with adult children)

Source: Pew Research Center survey, Oct. 27 – Dec. 18, 20141

An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you address multi-generational financial issues — such as providing support for your parents or children, or planning estate and gifting strategies — while keeping your retirement security intact.