Aging parents and adult kids compete for retirement savings

Aging parents and adult kids compete for retirement savings

0805olderfolkspartyap-crop-600x338Two independent studies of the financial burdens Americans bear for parents, adult children, and the hope to help their kids finance higher education rveal wide-ranging realities that challenge the imperative to adequately save for retirement.

One TD Ameritrade report shows that more than one in five Americans provides ongoing financial support for a parent or an adult child.

In the past year, an average of $12,000 of support was handed out, diverting $630 billion from the economy, according to TD Ameritrade’s estimates.

Respondents to the survey don’t articulate their support as a burden, but the online brokerage’s data shows so-called “financial supports” are already carrying an average of $100,000 in debt, most from mortgages, and some from credit and their own college debt.

More than a third, 36 percent, said they were willing to delay retirement in order to support adult children.

“The financial downside of living longer may mean not only planning for our own extended retirement years, but also caring for aging family members in ways that can take a solid bite out of any well-laid plans,” said Matthew Sadowsky, director of retirement at TD Ameritrade.

Meanwhile, in a study on the state of college debt, research from the non-profit College Savings Foundation shows the college debt young and middle-age parents carry is influencing them to save more aggressively for their own children’s’ higher education, so they can avoid the burdens of long-term education debt.

The group’s ninth annual survey of college debt dynamics shows that 40 percent of younger parents aged 31 to 35 still carry college debt.

Almost all of those younger parents who still have their own debt say it is motivating them to savings strategies for their own children.

Half have established automatic savings plans, and 31 percent say they have a 529 college savings plan.

Many older parents age 46 to 55 are still wrestling with their own college debt, a fact motivating them to save more to help their kids fund higher education.

About 24 percent of that demographic said they still have college debt.

As they pay down their own obligations, while funding a retirement growing closer on the horizon, 33 percent say they also are channeling savings into 529s to help their kids shoulder education burdens.

And they are socking away a good amount of cash into those plans: 33 percent said they are deferring $100 to $300 monthly, and 45 percent reported deferring even more.