Squeezed by Competing Needs
At a time when baby boomer couples should be saving for their own retirements, many feel squeezed by competing financial needs. Having started families later than past generations, their children may just now be entering college or still living at home. At the same time, aging parents may need financial assistance. It is a dilemma that is likely to become more common.
Caring for Parents
As life expectancies continue to rise, it becomes increasingly likely that you may need to help an aging parent. Some financial precautions you should consider now include:
Investigate long-term-care insurance for your parents.If they can’t afford the insurance, you may want to purchase it for them.
Have your parents prepare a listing of their assets, liabilities, and income sources, including the location of important documents.This can save time if you need to take over their finances.
Make sure your parents have legal documents in place so someone can take over their financial affairs if they become incapacitated. They may also want to delegate healthcare decisions.
Understand the tax laws if you provide financial support to your parents. You may be able to claim them as dependents if you provide more than half of their support. Additionally, you may be able to deduct medical expenses paid on their behalf.
Find out if your employer offers a flexible spending account for elder care. This may allow you to set aside pretax dollars to pay elder-care expenses for a dependent parent.
Assisting Your Children
For many families, college costs are significant. While you may want to pay all college expenses for your children, it may not be feasible with competing needs to save for retirement and/or assist parents. Some strategies to consider include:
Shift some of the burden to your children, requiring them to work part-time during college or take out student loans.
Understand the financial aid system, investigating all financial aid sources. Search for scholarships that are not based on need. Apply to several different colleges, looking for the best financial aid package. Negotiate with your child’s preferred college to see if you can increase that financial aid package.
Look for ways to reduce the cost of college. Your child can start at a community college, which is often cheaper than a four-year university, especially if the child commutes from home. Also consider a public university in your state, which will generally be more affordable than a private university.
Once your child graduates from college, don’t assume your financial responsibilities are over. Adult children may return home for a variety of reasons — they can’t find a well-paying job, they have too much debt to live alone, or they divorce and need financial support. If your child returns home, realize there are increased costs — additional food, phone bills, utilities, etc. Consider charging rent and imposing a deadline on how long he/she can stay.
Don’t Forget Yourself
When faced with the competing needs of children and aging parents, it’s easy to neglect your own need to save for retirement. But don’t feel guilty about your retirement needs. One of the best gifts you can give your children is the knowledge that you will be financially independent during retirement. Consider the following:
Calculate how much you need for retirement and how much to save on an annual basis to reach that goal. Don’t give up if that amount is beyond what you are able to save now. Start out saving what you can, resolving to significantly increase your savings once your parents’ or children’s needs have passed. Also consider changing your retirement plans, perhaps delaying your retirement or reducing your financial needs.
Take advantage of all retirement plans. Enroll in your company’s 401(k), 403(b), or other defined-contribution plan as soon as you’re eligible. Also consider investing in individual retirement accounts. All provide tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement.
Reconsider your views about retirement. Instead of a time of total leisure, consider working at a less-stressful job, starting your own business, or turning hobbies into paying jobs.
Representative is registered with and offers only securities and advisory services through PlanMember Securities Corporation, a registered broker/dealer, investment advisor and member FINRA/SIPC. 6187 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria CA. 93013, (800) 874-6910. Randall Wealth Management Group and PlanMember Securities Corporation are independently owned and operated. PSEC is not responsible or liable for ancillary products or services offered by Randall Wealth Management Group or this representative. CA Insurance License: #0727953.
This newsletter was prepared by Integrated Concepts Group, Inc. The opinions expressed in this newsletter are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to it accuracy or completeness.