A new survey shows that 1 in 4 respondents belonging to the sandwich generation – persons who support both parents and children – expect to support their parents financially. And while some are able to help their parents, many Canadians are not so fortunate. Some 48 percent or almost half of those who support their parents aren’t financially well themselves. For 55 percent of them, supporting parents means delaying retirement.
So, when should you support your parents financially? Experts explain that this is a personal decision, especially if this means going in debt. There is a variety of factors to be weighed, for example: Will your parents go bankrupt or lose their home? Do they have serious medical problems? (Bankrate)
What about parents who do not fall on hard times due to an unexpected job loss, poor health, or disability? Obviously, most people, even those who weren’t raised in loving homes, will step in and prevent a parent from becoming bankrupt because of such circumstances. However, some parents are irresponsible and just live too high on the hog, with their children ending up paying the bill.
According to therapists and financial experts, the best way to determine whether to step in is to find out what fuels the overspending. You may be surprised, but some common causes are entitlement, addiction, and ignorance. Some parents are not good at financial planning and do not know how to handle their money. Entitlement is when parents feel they owe a slice of their children’s success. Finally, addiction is when parents’ overspending results from a compulsive need to buy, gambling, drug, or alcohol problems (MSN).
Even if this is not the case, there are some questions to ask and things to do. To begin with, it is a good idea to talk to your parents and discuss their financial future. Have they considered the option of selling their home? How much does it cost to live on a monthly basis? How much money do they have left? Answering these questions will help you make plans. Another thing to do is organize a family meeting. If grandchildren, in-laws, and siblings are involved, now it is the time to look at this as a family issue. Everyone can give valuable advice and input, helping you decide what to do. If having a family meeting is not an option, you may consider enlisting the help of a geriatric care manager, an elder law attorney, or a professional elder care advisor. Seeking advice is important. Input from a financial planner, tax advisor, elder law attorney, and estate planning attorney will save you unnecessary losses. Finally, you should ask yourself whether you are willing to help and be honest about it. Unresolved disputes, past resentments, and old hurts may have to be worked out so that your parents’ or parent’s last years are the best quality possible with existing resources. Even if your parents weren’t good parents, forgiveness will uplift you. Focus on the present, the past is gone now (Forbes).