FUTURE YOU : THE DEVOTED CAREGIVER
“People in their 40s, 50s, and 60s have a trio of obligations to worry about—college for their kids, retirement savings for themselves, and caring for an older parent,” says Jean Chatzky, financial expert and author of Age Proof. “You can borrow for college if you have to. You can kick retirement savings down the road a few years if you must. But when it comes to aging parents, you often can’t put it off, and you can’t exactly say no.” And we don’t. Nearly 30% of Americans with a parent age 65 or older help Mom or Dad out financially, according to the Pew Research Center—and that’s actually more common in lower-income households.
MIND YOUR MONEY
You may not need to know every bank password and outstanding bill at this point, but you do need to know what your parents want life to look like as they age and whether you’ll be on the hook to help, says Chatzky. “People tend to avoid these conversations, so I suggest the 70/40 rule. When a parent hits 70 or a child hits 40, it’s time to talk,” she says. Lean on a pro to make these chats less awkward. Start by calling the investment firm that houses your parent’s IRA or 401(k)—many offer simple and free retirement online tools. Or search the Garrett Planning Network (garrettplanningnetwork .com), which has a database of fee-only financial planners who charge by the hour without long-term commitments. A financial planner can also help create a checklist of paperwork to pull together, such as power of attorney forms, an