In this post I’m going to discuss some next steps if your parents haven’t saved much for retirement.
Financial concerns are often times the number one concerns for the Sandwich Generation.
A recent market watch article talks about how 23 percent of baby boomers haven’t saved anything for retirement. It’s possible that our parents could be one of them!
As the Sandwich Generation you’re not only needing to manage your own finances, but you also have to manage the cost of your children as well as your parents.
The questions running through our minds are…
How am I going to save for retirement at the same time saving for my kids college fund as well as thinking about my parents long term care solution?
So you can imagine it’s not a pretty picture when all the financial concerns of multiple generations are stacked on top of each other. There is no perfect solution to this challenge but I want to share with you three strategies that my wife and I have deployed to tackle these challenges.
1) Start Having Conversations Early
Number one – start having the conversation early with your parents. If the idea of having money conversation with their parents make you feel nauseous, don’t worry. It’s very normal.
It’s not like you can easily broach the conversation saying – hey mom this dish is great, but hey by the way how much to have in your 401K?
Conversation about finances with your parents is going to be very difficult. But if you don’t do it now, it’s going to get even more difficult later.
A strategy that’s worked for us was to start a conversation by talking about our situation first and then transitioning into their situation. For example you could say…
Hey Monnica and I just started a brokerage account, have you heard of a brokerage account? Do you guys have one?
Hey mom we just finished paying off our student loans. Have you and dad ever had to pay off any major loans?
These conversations are gonna be awkward and difficult at first. However, if you approach them with humility and without judgment, I’m confident that you’ll make progress.
Even small progress is still a progress!
2) Access to Information
Second strategy – access to information. So if you’ve been able to have some conversation with your parents, getting access into information will really help.
Start with simple items like health insurance and life insurance policies. These will really help if for some reason your parents health fails and you need to step in to assist.
At minimum just knowing where they keep their account information will save a lot of time and anxiety down the line.
For my wife and I, to be honest, we actually don’t know where all of our parents accounts are. However we do know where to look if we need to fine them.
3) Strong Financial Position
Number three – get yourself into strong financial position. This I consider the most important strategy and the one that you actually have the most control over.
Let’s say your parents for whatever reason doesn’t want to talk about finances or doesn’t want to let you into any of their financial picture. These you can’t control no matter how hard you try.
However when it comes to your personal finances you have full control. You have control over how much you spend, how much you save every single month.
If your parents haven’t saved well for retirement there could come a point where you have to use your own personal finances to help them. And if you’re struggling financially this will not only be difficult practically, but emotionally as well.
So my most important strategy – if your parents haven’t saved enough for retirement, at least get yourself into a strong financial position.
This is a very difficult process. These are very difficult conversations for many of us who have a feeling that our parents haven’t saved enough for retirement. It’s even difficult to think about.
However ignoring it is not gonna make the problem go away.
I encourage you to start having these conversations or at least start implementing some of these strategies as soon as possible. I promise you, you’ll thank yourself later.
Have any of you guys ever had to have any of these very difficult conversations? I would love to hear how it went and if you have any other tips or strategies that we can implement.