Mom, Dad you’re dying. Let Me Help You Plan for Retirement.
Dear Mom and Dad,
The aging process isn't easy. We know that. And you should know that we want to help you. But for us to do a better job, you have to tell us how we can help.
We know that you feel like you will be a burden to us, that's why you don't ask for help. But did you know that more of us are willing to step in and help?
Take a look at this survey that Fidelity took. They interviewed over 1,200 parents 55 years and older, 221 adult children (older than 25 with a retirement plan, 401k, or other investment accounts). The adult kids above 30 years needed at least 10,000 in their savings.
- 93% of the parents felt that it wouldn't be right to depend on their children financially, but only 30% of the adult kids felt that way.
- 92% of the parents expected one of their kids to take care of their estate, but only 27% of the kids identified for these roles were not aware of it.
- 72% of parents expect one of their kids to take on the caregiver responsibilities if needed, but 40% of the kids identified weren't aware of that either.
- 43% of the parents haven't had a detailed conversation about long-term care and elder care with any family member; another 23% of you haven't had any conversation about this at all.
I'd hate to bore you with more results, but the bottom line is that you need to communicate with us more.
There’s good news taken from the survey as well.
- More families agree that parents will have a comfortable retirement. From 72% in 2014, it's now 86%
- More parents can now say they are more "prepared" for retirement. From 48% in 2014, it's now 55%
- More parents are now saving more for retirement. From 34% in 2012, it's now up to 45%
It may have been different before. Not all of us wanted to know details about what you want. But times have changed. More adult kids nowadays want more specific details. Maybe it's because we live in "instant" times? More of us now want to hear it and know it all.
Of course, there are things you don't have to reveal to us. We are aware that you might be scared about telling us very personal details. That has to be the main reason why we don't hear about your retirement plans, your expectations, and your health care needs, right? We understand why you wouldn't talk about how much you have and where it is, especially if we were younger. But now we're more mature. And even then you don't have to go into so much detail.
Here's what you can tell us:
- Where your financial records and other relevant documents are so if necessary, we can get access.
- Who your financial advisers are so we can contact them if necessary.
According to the same survey by Fidelity, 30% of the families did not agree on whether the children knew where to find these document. It's very important for us adult kids to know these things. We're not hoping you'll get Alzheimer's, but what if? If not that, so many other things can happen. It's better for us to be ready just in case.
You don't even have to share all the details all at once. You can start without the numbers - that's totally fine! We know it's not easy, but you have to start somewhere. When's the right time, you may ask? Any time. There's never a perfect time, but it's always too early until it's too late.
In the end, we just want to be as helpful as we can. You are our parents after all. However, we can do it so much better when we do it together.
Updated: Oct 05, 2016