Jul 27, 2012

Retirement: Don't Count on Me (Your Parents)...I am NOT a retirement plan!

Okay here is the deal...I am retired and have been for 15+ years. My husband and I are doing just fine. Our health is good (sorta), we are financially sound, have very good insurance and a successful loving family. Yup...we are doing juuuuuusssst fine!

But if my children are counting on what they inherit from us for their retirement, that will not work. The average amount most parents plan on leaving for their family is around $100,000.  That would work out to $33,000 per child in my family.  We are not dying anytime soon so who knows what will be left in the end. But even if we were average, you cannot retire with only $33,000 in your retirement plan. It will not work.  In an article in the Wall Street Journal the advise was don't count on money from the parents:
For years now, there's been a lot of talk about boomers getting tremendous windfalls as their parents pass on. Many boomers, in fact, have been lagging behind in their savings, betting on—hoping for—big bequests, especially since many of them suffered big losses in 2008. WSJ, June 11, 2012
As it turns out, we parents suffered a hit too in 2008.  We are living longer so our children won't be getting the inheritance in time to make hay from what they may receive. It is not looking good for you if your are thinking that we (the parents) are going to leave you set for retirement. So I am here to say you cannot count on us. 

Just a thought!


Link:  When Your Retirement Plan Depends on Your Parents Dying,  Graceful Retirement


Lisa @ Grandmas Briefs said...

I definitely won't be planning on retirement via my parents and my kids sure as heck can't even consider it. My parents nor my husband and I are among those folks having anywhere near $100,000 to leave others. There's much to be said for making one's own way (even when it's a meager way). :D

Barbara Torris said...

The $100,000 figure surprised me...but the fact that boomers were planning on that inheritance surprised me even more!


Anonymous said...

My Mom passed away in January 2000 and my Dad passed away in October 2002. Although our parents had a six-figure inheritance for my two older sisters and me, my siblings and I considered the inheritance to be just "frosting on the cake" or additional funds for our retirements. I myself started saving for my retirement way back in 1982. My Mom, Dad, and I had regular discussions about the importance of saving and investing. Those discussions were of far greater importance to me than any money my parents left me. I am very grateful to my Mom and Dad. They taught me VERY WELL.

Early Retiree Tamara said...

We will likely have a sizable estate to pass on to our daughters, however, since I had them so young (I was 20 and 23 respectively), my hope is they'll be in their 70's at least before receiving it!

Barbara Torris said...

I agree with Tamara and Anonymous...the best way we parents can help our children's retirement is to talk regularly and honestly about what they need to do. While are parents would like to "win the lottery" and keep their children from all financial worry, in most cases it is not only unlikely but impossible.

A big inheritance is very like a bet that is lost and won. If the parents die soon enough and don't incur a lot of end of life costs, the children win the inheritance. But if the other scenario occurs, everyone loses.

My best advice is "Don't bet on it!"

Thank you for your input.


Shelley Smith said...

A family member, who I won't name, has shared with me her financial strategy: Take advantage of the new offers of charge cards. In England, that means 1 year without monthly payments. (Interest is still added on) Transfer debt to new charge card. Take advantage of new car deals. Don't pay for the first two years. When the two years are almost up - buy a new car. She is not worried, as she plans to use her inheritance from her parents to pay off her debt. They are only in their early 60's.

Barbara Torris said...

Shelley, I think this is more common that we know. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul in hopes that the parents don't live too long is very sad. Most parents are just getting started when they are in their 60s now. We will live much longer that our children even imagine!

Be well.


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