When we were young, most of us depended on our parents. They provided the emotional — and financial — support needed to grow. And though it seemed the day would never come, eventually it’s often time for a bit of role reversal. Just as your parents provided what they could to help you achieve the life you want, you find yourself handling some (or all) of the caregiver responsibilities.
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One of the issues you may face is helping your parents financially prepare for retirement. Even the most careful and savvy planners will have questions and concerns about how much they will need in retirement. Check out the following tips to do all you can to provide them with the kind of support they need.
1. Get Educated Together
It’s a good idea to start the conversation and then learn together. Be honest about your ability to help and the limits of what you can provide. Sometimes using a book you recently read or a friend going through this can make the introduction of the topic more comfortable.
2. Secure the Basics
One way to help prepare your parents for retirement is by getting important factors in place. Where do they plan to live in retirement? How do they plan to pass the time? By knowing how they envision retirement, you can get a better idea of how much money they will need, then work toward saving enough to make their plans a reality.
3. Consult an Expert
Don’t be shy about consulting financial experts if you don’t know all the details of retirement planning. Financial planners or advisers can provide their expertise, guidance and assistance to help figure out the best way to utilize your parents’ assets.
4. Put Your Own Finances First
While you are helping your parents, it may be tempting to put aside money for them as they age. However, it’s important to make sure you are planning for your own future and considering your welfare in your decisions. For most of us, it is not realistic to comfortably support all our loved ones.
5. Stay Involved
No matter how independent your parents may be, it is a good idea to pay regular visits or make regular phones calls to check in. Aside from the emotional and health benefits these check-ins can bring, you can also offer financial benefits and help protect them from scams and fraud. (The elderly are often targeted by scammers, and the horror stories are truly terrifying.) You can reassure them that you are there to help them figure out how to best move into retirement.
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AJ Smith is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online content. She currently serves as the managing editor for SmartAsset. AJ has a passion for meeting new people, sharing stories and helping others. She has degrees from Princeton University and Mississippi State University. AJ and her husband also write and illustrate educational children’s books. More by AJ Smith