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Are You Ready to Help Your Parents in Retirement?


There is a wide gap between the expectations of parents and their adult children about the help they will provide as their parents get older.

In fact, when it comes to money and healthcare in retirement, parents and their adult children just aren’t on the same page, according to the 2016 Fidelity Investments’ Family & Finance Study.

Four in ten families disagree on roles adult children should play such as who will be a caregiver, who will be the executor of the estate and who will manage finances.  In addition:

  • 93% of parents said it was unacceptable to become financially dependent on their children; only 30% of adult children felt the same way.
  • 45% of adult children said they won’t help with caregiving, but 72% of parents expect their children to help.
  • Topics such as long term care, living expenses in retirement, will and estate plan and the location of important documents just aren’t being talked about.

No wonder there is so much stress and confusion when a family crisis occurs.  What’s the solution?

Start talking.

It’s hardly a surprise that the survey found that 93% of adult children and 95% of parents enjoyed greater peace of mind when they had conversations about expectations of assistance during retirement

There are resources listed below to help guide the discussion whether you are the parent or adult child.

You don’t have to go it alone.  If you have a financial advisor, ask him or her to join you in the discussion.  It is your responsibility to set the tone and guide the discussion while the advisor can help bridge the conversation gaps and fill in the details on investments and insurance.  It’s a great opportunity for your children to get to know your advisor so they are comfortable turning there for help when it is needed.

Genworth has a conversation starting kit that offers some great tips about how to and “not to” handle the discussion of long term care and caregiving.

These articles from Fidelity provide some great tips for adult children and their parents to open up the discussion and the topics to cover from finances to will and estate issues.

These conversations aren’t easy but they can be a wonderful gift to an adult child who when the time comes will know what you want rather than guessing or feeling overwhelmed when something happens.

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