If your parents raised you from the time you were born all the way into adulthood, they have undoubtedly spent thousands of dollars to put you through school, pay medical insurance, buy food and clothing, provided you with a vehicle, taken you on trips and vacations, and handled any unexpected emergencies that arose.
There are many holidays dedicated to recognizing your parents for their efforts, and we have covered how to navigate debt with your dad on Father’s Day. So what is Senior Citizens Day for, and how do you observe it? We chose to focus on repaying parents for their efforts by helping you bring these sound financial tips to them in appreciation.
First: Some Cold-Hard Facts
It is not as easy to make a living for people born in the 1980s as it was for those born in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. According to InCharge.org, “People born in 1940 had a 92% chance of making more than their parents, according to a Stanford University study. People born in 1980 have a 50% of making more than their parents, and the chances have continued dropping every year since then.
InCharge.org continues, “It’s no coincidence that median real income for men has been on a 45-year decline. Adjusted for inflation, it was $53,609 in 1972. It was $52,146 in 2017, the most recent year reported by the U.S. Census Bureau….One in three retiring Americans will find themselves in or near poverty in the next 10 years, according to a 2019 study by the Schwartz Center for Economic and Policy Analysis.”
So with this in mind, how does one assist their parents financially when they are not in the most comfortable financial situation themselves?
Find an Internship or an Additional Part-Time Job
If you are still living with your parents in your early 20s, you are not alone. This has become increasingly common since the turn of the century. According to the New York Times, “A frequently referenced 2016 Pew Research Center report found that, across the country, more adults are living with their parents — about 15 percent of those between the ages of 25 and 35. In 2000, that figure was 10 percent, and in 1981 it was just 8 percent. The ever-increasing cost of housing is an obvious factor, but it may not be the only one.”
While moving out from your parents’ house might not be in the near future, many high school graduates are foregoing college in order to find an internship or apprenticeship to gain the vocational training they need to begin a career. It can be the perfect stepping stone to take the pressure off your parents. In the meantime, it would be worthwhile to find free online resources to learn about budgeting, and how to manage budget vs debt. Golden Financial Services offers calculators to help you learn this process. Plug your current income and bills into our Budget Calculator, then take that budget over to the Debt Calculator to learn what you currently make in relation to potential bills while living on your own. Finally, the Debt Calculator leads you to a Snowball Calculator where you can learn how to pay off the crippling debt that has forced you to stay in your parents’ home longer than you expected.
Help Mom and Dad Draft a Will
Is there a more difficult thing to discuss with your mom and dad than to discuss their final will and testament? It fringes upon the topic of death and in every feature film broaching the subject, the children of the elderly are painted as greedy and ungrateful. But if you really know your parents, and your parents know you love them, helping them set up a will in the digital age can be very beneficial not only to take care of the future but also as a solid exercise to gain a very comprehensive look at the situation of your parents’ finances. Working toward a common goal then becomes an excellent reason to discuss a will with your father and/or mother.
Here is a solid tip from Debt.org covering how to broach the subject with your parents:
“A good way to start is talking about your own financial situation. You might mention that you recently had a lawyer draft a will, create a revocable trust and prepare a document with medical directives. You can use as a way of asking your parents if they’ve taken similar steps. You can also tell them how important having such documents in place is if they even can’t manage on their own. This is also a good way to talk about debt. If you worked through a debt, or have a close friend who did, you can tell the story in a way that inspires your parents to confront their own balance sheet.”
If Giving Your Parents Direct Financial Support
According to MoneyUnder30.com, one in five Millennials provide financial support to their parents. Furthermore, “On average, the young adults who find themselves taking care of mom and dad carry $63,000 of their own personal debt.”
Sending money to your parents on a monthly basis can be a costly business, especially in the face of large debts due to mortgages and student loans.
The best way to bring this up with your parents is to first calculate your expenses, then come up with a dollar figure to provide for your parents that is affordable. Allow your parents to discuss paying you back at some point, but assume the loan you give them is a sunken cost, just in case. Ask yourself how much can you give them knowing it may not come back. Give your bank a call or head down to your local branch; oftentimes your bank will help you with the process as part of their services for your business.
Some Things That Can Start Today and Cost Nothing
Finally, here are some things to help with around the house that will save hundreds to thousands of dollars for your parents:
- Yardwork – some parents pay landscapers up to $1,000 monthly for services that include: Tree trimming, lawn mowing, edging, and watering. Getting out in the sunshine and handling this for them can save money, and also be very therapeutic!
- Cutting Cable – teach mom and dad how to subscribe to alternative services like Netflix and Hulu, saving them hundreds of dollars per month on cable services they don’t use.
- Reviewing finances – surf the web to find ways to help them plan and manage finances by utilizing online tools. Find online advice that might fit their situation.