Thinking about your retirement may be a stress-inducing thought. You’re worrying about saving enough money for it and making sure all your debts are paid off.
But have you ever thought about your parent’s retirement? Have you ever thought that they might not have money saved up for their golden years? If such a thought has crossed your mind and you have a gut feeling that this may be the case, take a deep breath.
It may mean substantial financial struggles for you in the future, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be true. There are steps you and your parents can take to make sure that they have some money for their retirement. Some money is a whole lot better than no money.
Have an honest conversation with your parents
Have a sit down with them about their future. Your goal is to have your parents open up and talk to you about money. You want as many details as possible so you can find the best way to help them. This conversation is not the time to lecture them on how they misused their money.
You may want to start the conversation with an inspiring story about money. It may be a story about how managing your money turned out to be beneficial for you since it helped you pay off your debt. Now you can use that money towards other goals. You want the conversation about money to be positive and not negative.
Unfortunately, your parents may feel ashamed about telling you all of their financial troubles. They might also still see you as a child and not as an adult so they may not take your advice seriously. In this situation, think of a family member or a friend that they can trust who’s also good with their money. Let them know about your concerns and have them talk to your parents.
Pay off all debt
If your parents still have some form of debt, they need to pay it off soon. Not having this debt while they are retired will help them out tremendously since they no longer will have to make payments.
But if their debt is out of control and there is no real way that they can pay off their debt soon, they may have to consider bankruptcy. I would recommend reaching out to a financial advisor to discuss if there are other ways of paying off their debt or if bankruptcy is the best way.
Maximize retirement plans
This is the time that they should contribute as much as they can to their retirement fund. If they are 50 or older, they are allowed to push more money into their retirement funds. For a 401k, they can contribute up to an extra $6,000 on top of the standard contribution limit, totaling $24,000 a year. If they don’t have a 401k, they can also use an IRA where they can contribute an extra $1,000 on top of the $5,500 normal contribution limit, totaling $6,500 a year.
Pushing money into retirement funds around this age can make the difference of having $0 saved to a small cushion of around $97,000 when they are ready to retire. This is if they are only contributing to an IRA to its maximum contribution for ten years. You can find some retirement fund calculators online to give yourself a better picture of your unique situation.
Delaying retirement may be something that your parents didn’t want to hear, but already knew it was coming. If they can, working past their full retirement age is a great way for them to get a bit more money from their social security benefits.
According to the U.S. Social Security website, if they delay receiving their benefits for a couple of years after their full retirement age, they qualify for delayed retirement credits. It may increase their social security payments by 20%-24%. Here’s a link of the Delayed Retirement credits if they were born on 1960 or later.
Delaying retirement will also give them more time for their money in retirement funds to grow. If they don’t know when their full retirement age is, they can find it on this Retirement chart.
Adapt to a frugal style of living
Since there isn’t as much money for retirement as hoped, every dollar counts. They will need to cut spending where they can. Buying items on sale, clipping coupons, and eating at home are some of the many ways they can live on a dime. They will also need to make and stick to a budget to make their plan as practical as possible.
Insurance for long-term care
Medical events, like a stroke, may force your parent’s retirement funds to dwindle down fast since it may now be covering several medical costs like assisted living or in-home care. Since their retirement fund was small to begin with, you may need to start paying for those costs. Long-term care insurance is there to prevent such events from crippling you financially. This is another tool where a financial planner will be helpful in deciding which plan is great for your parents or if they need it.
Take care of yourself
Under such a high-stress situation, you may want to give as much money as you can to your parents to help them out. But you do have to remember that you’re a priority. You need to take care of your financial goals first before helping out anyone else. It will ensure that you are and stay in a great financial state that will benefit your parents in the long run.
For instance, you may only be able to give them a small amount of money every month since you’re working hard to pay off your credit card debt. It’ll take some time, but once you pay it off, you will now have more money available than you did before. You may now want to increase the amount of money you’re giving to your parents since you finally can.
Remember to take a deep breath and be grateful that you can do something about your parent’s retirement now instead of later. Talk to them and try using these tips to help create a retirement plan that works for them. It’s not the plan that they imagined when they were younger, but it’s still something.
If you have other tips or ideas you think may be helpful in pushing through circumstances like these, please feel free to comment them below