Denise Clark and her siblings were nearing retirement age themselves when their mother requested they subsidize her living expenses. Not to mention the non-essentials she was asking for. A new car loan and generous birthday gifts for extended family members were just a few. Clark recalls when her mother realized she was going to run out of money, she requested several hundred dollars per month from each child to maintain her lifestyle. Sadly, Denise Clark is not alone in the struggle to keep her own financial security stable while helping elderly parents. Many of us hope to be able to help our parents during their retirement years. But helping retired parents while having boundaries is the best way to go.
TD Ameritrade research has shown that 13 percent of Americans are supporting a parent. Furthermore, this includes a staggering 19 percent of millennials. According to this Money article, many adult children want to help their parents financially. Yet they end up using much of their own assets. Often to the point of having very little left for themselves.
Clearly Denise Clark and her siblings did not have the kind of money to spare that their mother was asking for. In this all too common scenario, there are several tips for still being able to help, but keeping boundaries. Not surprisingly, the first step for those in this position is to establish the appropriate boundaries with their aging parents. Communicate what you’re able and willing to help with, and what you’re not. Make it very clear.
Next, address any harmful money habits. Many seniors turn to hobbies like shopping or gambling later in life. Whether it’s a way to cope with aging and losses, or just for entertainment, it’s important to address how these could be affecting their financial situation. Do they have the insight to not become financially vulnerable and what steps to take if they don’t? Aging life care experts, like Arizona Elder Care, can offer options.
Lastly, look at any available government assistance programs for seniors. Besides the more well-known programs like Medicare, there are also federally funded housing, food, utility, and property tax relief programs. These all vary by state, but you can find local support programs at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging website.
All in all, helping your aging parents is a wonderful thing to be able to do. Yet maintaining boundaries and making sure you don’t jeopardize your own financial security later on is crucial. Once adult children come to this realization, they can help their parents and themselves more effectively.