BABY BOOMERS SUPPORT AGING PARENTSJun 3rd, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances
The world of finances for senior citizens is changing rapidly. Due to strained economics, many of us find ourselves running out of money we saved for retirement. It’s not what we planned. But it’s what is happening now. And it doesn’t help to read about politicians trying to make changes in our lifelines, Social Security and Medicare. They tell us we need to participate in making sacrifices. That’s easy for them to say when they have renewable income. We don’t. Our income is fixed, and when our retirement savings are gone, all we have left is Social Security.
Some recent research supports this bleak picture. Ameriprise Financial polled three generations recently: affluent baby boomers, and parents and adult children of baby boomers. The study is called Money Across Generations, and it revealed some interesting findings:
- Baby Boomers are making fewer major purchases for themselves
- Baby Boomers are saving less in retirement accounts
- more Baby Boomers are supporting their adult children and grandchildren
- more Baby Boomers are supporting their aging parents
Baby Boomers Support Aging Parents
It’s this last point that got our attention. Fifty-eight percent of Baby Boomers reported helping aging parents with cooking, laundry, transportation and home maintenance. The financial support includes paying for groceries, medical expenses and utility bills.
Boomers are also supporting their adult children. Ninety-three percent of Boomers in the study report having helped their adult children pay for insurance, rent, utilities, credit card debt, housing, car purchases, and college tuition and loans.
The study revealed very interesting information about Baby Boomers feelings about saving money for retirement versus helping aging parents and adult children. For example, sixty-eight percent of the subjects said they would save for retirement before helping their adult children financially; but they would take their retirement savings to help their aging parents with long-term care insurance.
AARP Bulletin suggests remembering the airplane oxygen mask analogy: “You must take care of your own mask (financial needs) before you can be able to help out the person sitting next to you (family).”