Retirement Planning, Elder Law, and Senior Finance

6/9/2021 | By Terri L. Jones

Maybe you lost a lot of money in the recession or have medical bills that are maxing out your budget. It could be that you simply didn’t put away enough money for retirement. Whatever the reason, you may outlive your cash and be forced to reach out to your adult children for financial support at some point down the road. Rest assured you’re not alone in taking financial help from your kids.

A recent study by GoHealth, Inc. found that one in three Gen Xers and Millennials are currently footing some or most of the bills for their parents. However, just because it’s a common occurrence these days doesn’t make it any easier … for either party involved.

Here are five ways to help facilitate a more comfortable financial arrangement with your kids.

1. Make a Plan

Determine exactly how much you need upfront – whether it’s a certain amount per month or a lump sum at the beginning of each year – and stick with the plan. Be transparent about what you’ll be using that money for; however, you must also insist that they trust you to use it wisely (it’s not good for either one of you if they question you every time you go out to dinner or get an Amazon order).

2. Keep It Reasonable

When taking financial help from your kids, be flexible and agreeable. Make sure that your kids can give you whatever amount you agree upon without strapping their lives or jeopardizing their kids’ college funds or their own retirements.

3. Take Their Advice

Sometimes it’s hard to think of your kids as potentially knowing more than you on certain subjects … but they do. Be open to strategies they suggest – from ways to save on your insurance and cellphone plans to reverse mortgages and downsizing – before they agree to give you money. They may also recommend that you talk to an accountant, attorney or other professional for advice and cost-saving measures first.

4. Don’t Be Selective

While you may know that one son or daughter is in a better financial position than the others, avoid resentment or arguments among siblings by asking them all to help in some way. Adult kids who can’t give you money outright may be able to save you dollars or at least time by doing yardwork, preparing meals, cleaning your gutters or fixing a leaky faucet.

5. When Taking Financial Help From Your Kids: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

The key to successfully taking financial help from your kids is maintaining clear and open communication from the outset. Talk about your embarrassment, hesitance, gratitude or whatever it is you’re feeling. Encourage your kids to do the same. Most importantly, let your adult children know that their help is completely voluntary (children want to do what their parents ask them to do, even after they’re grown) but is very much appreciated.

You can allow your kids to pick up the tab on some of your expenses and still maintain a healthy, happy relationship with them. But only with complete respect, trust and transparency!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide. She also writes for many other local magazines and publications.

Terri L. Jones