Advances in medicine are allowing many people to live longer. But living longer can create a whole new set of challenges, as baby boomers are starting to find out. Many boomers will need to take care of their growing kids and their aging parents, sometimes at the same time. Here are a few things you can do to care for your parents while also protecting your retirement finances:
Ask your folks to live with you. This sounds drastic, but you can better take care of each other living together than if you have to drive across town every day. Of course, there are many compromises that will need to be made, and not everybody can handle the added complexity. But you'll be rewarded with far fewer expenses than if you maintained two separate households. The closer bond you will build with your parents is also priceless, which actually trumps any financial gain.
Talk to your parents about their finances. Pooling your finances together can be beneficial from a financial standpoint, but arguments may arise once more people share control of the decision-making process. Instead, share information about your own finances with your parents and invite them to share theirs with you. There may be some simple improvements that a more objective eye can spot right away. Perhaps their CPA advised them on a tax-saving strategy that you can implement too, or maybe you can help them save a bit on administrative costs because you know how to access investment information easily online. Without chatting in more detail about money matters, these simple fixes may never come up.
Share your money-saving tactics with your parents. Many cost-cutting moves can be duplicated from household to household. If you find a great deal on broadband TV, don't hesitate to share your findings with your folks. You can also buy your groceries together and share the produce, reaping the bulk discounts. If you're willing to share with your folks, they may be more willing to share their tips too, which will save you both money.
Reduce the chances that your parents will be targeted for scams. Seniors are a popular target among scammers, who thrive on confusion and fear of the unknown. An extra person to scrutinize each financial decision can help to make sure that all the investments selected are legitimate. If your parents want to attend a financial seminar, offer to go with them. Sometimes your presence could help deter the sale of inappropriate investments. Other times, you may learn a thing or two, which could be beneficial for your own retirement down the road.
Help your parents to worry less. Retirement is about much more than just money. By being there for your folks, you will reduce the amount of anxiety in their lives, and that will make them happier people in general. This will not only improve their quality of life, but it will pay dividends for you too. After all, your parents are the people who took care of you when you were young, and that type of relationship is irreplaceable.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site that shares money moves you can make to significantly increase your chances of having a comfortable retirement. He likes to share simple changes that anyone can make, such as picking the best online savings account and figuring out whether a 0 percent balance transfer credit card makes sense.