In this day and age, people are living longer than ever before but not necessarily working for longer. This could leave them in a difficult position financially as the years roll by. If your parents are in this situation, this might also place you in the ever-growing sandwich generation – stuck between your ageing parents and your growing children as the main breadwinner.
There are a number of ways to help your parents financially should they require it. This can be difficult to do as you are more than likely going to have your own financial concerns and commitments. But, in many cases, it is unavoidable. So the best thing to do is start with a plan of action to protect both your own and your parents’ finances and to commit to clear and frequent communication with your parents about the situation.
Ways to help your parents without losing it all
While you might find it hard to talk to your parents about their money and their future, it must be done. Find out exactly what your parents have planned for retirement. If your parents have planned well, they might be able to cover all their necessary expenses after retirement for many years to come. If not, it’s best to contact a trusted financial adviser to determine what can be done with the funds your parents do have to ensure that they are as financially secure as possible.
2. Consider your own needs
Once you understand your parents’ situation, you can start to consider how you can contribute to their needs financially without jeopardising your own future. Contrary to what some may believe, it is not selfish to put your own financial needs before those of your parents. Remember, that if you are not financially secure, you will not be able to help them at all. Do not create more debt (especially when you should be focusing on getting rid of what you’ve got) trying to help your parents get out of theirs. Ask yourself - what can you afford to do for your parents? Help them move? Work out their monthly budget? Donate a monthly sum to the upkeep of their home?
It can be hard to decide what do financially if emotions are involved. Plus, you might not have all the financial knowledge you need to make informed decisions about questions of investment, savings, and tax for your parents. Seek the help of a professional financial adviser who can help you put together a plan to protect both your parents from unnecessary financial risk and that can help you do the best you can for your parents without sinking your own ship.