I just met with a couple who are not only supporting themselves, but supporting their parents in one way, and their adult children in another. This means that they are worried and stressed no matter the time of day! Societies change with time, Baby boomers are now falling into a NEW category called the Sandwich Generation, meaning they are sandwiched right in the middle of taking care of their aging parents and their young adult children. That is exactly where this couple falls.
Fred and Sue came to me because they wanted to know whether they can retire within 5 years or not. Such a big question! During our Strategy Session together, I found out more about their daily struggle. Fred’s parents were both having health issues, one mentally while the other physically. To try and save everyone some headaches, Fred wanted to take over his parent’s money management including bill paying, investments, and cash flow. Yet his parents were reluctant to relinquish control! I’ve seen it happen a lot with the older generation, scared to let anyone know anything about their financial situation, terrified to let anyone take control over it!
In this situation, the parents bills weren’t being paid, bills that were paid were late costing them fees, and money seemed to go missing all too often. Fred and Sue were not only struggling with managing their parents finances, but they were also dealing with the scariest struggle, driving! Both parents still wanted to drive everywhere. This is a tough one for many families. It is hard letting the freedom of having your license go, and having to rely on others to take you places. So not only were the parents losing their financial independence, but their freedom to go anywhere at anytime.
Fred and Sue’s children have both graduated from college and have jobs, yet are still on their parents payroll. Like many young adults they didn’t realize how expensive the real world was, so Fred and Sue have been supplementing their living expenses. In this instance, the children were still on the phone bill and car insurance.
With so many households to support, Fred and Sue were not on target to retire in 5 years. Not only a shock to them, but also a red flag that things need to change!
Their first step was to put together their short term plan to get them to retirement, get their kids financially independent, and get their parents the help they need! Here’s a glimpse of what we put together:
- Have a discussion with children about financial expectations, meaning how much they will help them for how long. They have to be upfront with their kids about their retirement goals, how their children need to start being more involved with their own money, and give them access to a professional.
- Bring the children in for their very own Strategy Sessions so they can create their own money plans and goals. I do this for FREE for all my clients because I know how important it is for the children to be involved from the start with their money.
- Fred, Sue, and I had a conversation about the possibilities for their parents. We all came up with a way to bring up the money issues their parents were dealing with in a non-threatening way. We scheduled a meeting for the parents, Fred, Sue, myself, and an elderly law attorney.
- Fred and Sue are now tracking their expenses so they know exactly how much their lifestyle costs them. They are saving more money by eliminating unnecessary purchases, and their assets are being invested in a more efficient manner.
Fred and Sue are committed to their retirement dream of leaving their corporate jobs within 5 years. They are planning to downsize to a smaller house down South and close to the beach. Before they know it, they will be going on vacations throughout the year, playing golf when they want to, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. They know how quickly the last 30 years of their career went, and wanted to make sure the next 5 years didn’t fly past without planning.
So what’s your next step? Face the facts, the hard truth! Though you love your parents and children, they don’t mean you have to derail your retirement dreams. We can find a way to make sure everyone is taken care of and FOR their benefit…sound good?
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