That Talk You Need to Have With Your Children Before You Retire

 

Finally, It’s that time.

You’re ready to clock out of that old 9-to-5 after all those years. You’re one of the  lucky ones, old enough to have both a pension and 401(k).

The kids have all graduated college and are out of the house. You still have a car note, but you and your spouse are only a few years from being mortgage-free.

You’ve turned in your pension paperwork to the HR department and you’ve decided to wait a few years before you start taking Social Security.

Forget anything?

How about that chat you need to have with your children to make sure they understand that things have changed now that you no longer have that weekly paycheck coming in. As much as you love them, those days of coming to mom and dad for financial help are gone.

Parents will do virtually anything to help their children. That includes financial help, even if it’s to the detriment of our own financial security and retirement.

“When you are on fixed income, you don’t have those two paychecks coming in,” says Jack Teboda at Teboda and Associates in Elgin, Ill. “It’s difficult to think about  anything but maintaining the lifestyle you’re growing accustomed to.

“The best communication you should have with children is that mom and I are in the distribution phase of our life and most likely won’t be able to help out if there is a financial emergency,” he says. “That discussion will bode well for anything.”

Teboda says, if necessary, he is fine being the bad guy and sitting down with the kids to explain to them that things have changed.

“We’ve gone as far as having a meeting in office to let them know mom and dad can’t help out anymore,” Teboda says. “We become the bad guy. It makes sense for them to understand that mom and dad are retired and won’t be that helping hand. We will be bad guy.”

According to the Pew Research Center report, Family Support in Graying Societies, 61 percent of parents with adult children in the U.S. say they have helped an adult child financially in the previous 12 months.

And a Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey, about one-third of U.S. investors said they provide financial assistance to an adult child, a parent or to both. Sixty-one percent of those who provide the financial help said it has hindered their own retirement savings. The report highlights one of the biggest challenges we face in achieving or maintaining financial security in retirement.

Says David Evans at Evans Financial in Shreveport, La.: “There are two kinds of advice I don’t’ give – marital advice and what to do with grown children. I violate the second if the grown children is bleeding my client.

“I have a discussion with them (parents) about tough love,” he says. “In today’s society, kids say mom, I can’t pay car payment. They are living day to day and not saving.

“People say ‘I am helping my daughter,” says Evans. “I say, do you understand you  can’t help your daughter or you will run out of money? Your stash will run out. It may not be enough to carry you through your Golden Years and your kids through midlife.”

“If the child has been asking for money or help, I would say listen, when dad  retires we will not be able to do this,” Evans says. We will be on fixed income. “

Says Teboda: “Mom and dad are on fixed income. Distribution is happening. They are not getting those weekly paychecks.”

Teboda says it’s also important that your children meet your financial advisor.

“It’s always good that your kids know who your financial advisor is,” he says. “There should always be an advisor. We have a team. We have attorney on staff. He handles wills and trust and powers of attorney. We also has a CPA to make sure mom and dad are being as tax efficient as possible.”

Evans, tongue in cheek, says he has a philosophy when it comes to retirees and their money: “Spend all them money. The last check should be to the undertaker, and it should bounce.”

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide any tax or legal advice. For guidance regarding your specific situation, we encourage you to speak with qualified legal, tax, and/or financial professionals.