Prepare Your Kids for Financial Independence
MAKE A PLAN Once you consider what you’re contributing to your child’s lifestyle, you need to find out how it’s going to affect your ability to retire. It’s time to have the tough conversations. Before you talk to your kids, meet with your financial advisor and discuss your retirement goals. Your advisor can give you a reality check if your goals are not in line with your current lifestyle and tell you what needs to change to get them there. THE TALK After your meeting with your advisor, it’s time to talk with your children. Explain how your retirement plan is going to affect them. It’s best to be honest and transparent. Let them know that this isn’t about your feelings for them and give them time to process the information. Remember that even if your retirement has been top of mind for you, it may not be on their radar. Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial,” reminds us, “Adult children can’t be expected to know how ongoing support is affecting your finances if you haven’t talked to them about it.” If you can help them understand how the change will impact them and maybe even help them plan for it, you can open up that conversation and reduce tension around it. Instead of looking at the end of financial support as a loss, frame it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for your child to find financial independence, and while the journey can be rough, it will benefit everyone in the long term.
Your children turned to you for support all their lives. When they were babies, you provided them with food and shelter, and throughout their childhood, you guided them and led by example. But if you’ve continued to provide them with financial support into their adulthood, the lifestyle shift that comes with your retirement might come as a surprise to both of you. If your children are still dependent on you for financial support, it’s important to have a conversation about what might change with your retirement. It’s time to consider how your well-intentioned support will affect both of your futures. CONSIDER THE COSTS A study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that, on average, parents over 50 gave their children a total of $6,500 a year. When you compare that 6K to your current income, it might not look like much, but consider what that amount could do if you invested it into your retirement.
Diane Harris, a personal finance journalist, explains, “If, instead, you saved that much cash every year in a tax-deferred account averaging 6 percent annual gains, you’d have close to $100,000 more for retirement
within a decade.”
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