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Don’t delay retirement to support your grown-up kids

Road signs with elderly people saying 'retirement at 70'

It’s a gloomy outlook for people approaching retirement right now, with many being forced into ‘semi-retirement’. What’s the answer? For a start, parents should put their own needs before those of their grown children.

People nearing retirement can’t seem to get a break these days. If they’re planning on giving up work in the very near future, the main way of buying an income for their later years (through an annuity) looks highly unattractive at the moment.

Rates continue to plummet – 15 years ago, a man aged 65 with retirement savings of £100,000 was able to buy an annual income of almost £11,000. Now, £100k will get you just £6,000.

Seventy-somethings are staggering retirement

It doesn’t get much better for anyone with a few years to go until that point. The wildness of the stock markets over the past few years has wiped billions off the value of people’s pension pots.

Traditionally, as you wind down your savings towards retirement, you move your money out of the stock market into safer investments. Millions of people doing this would have had to eat the losses on the markets by doing so.

It’s no surprise, then, to see more and more people staggering their retirement. A survey carried out by retirement planning firm Heartwood found that 40% of people over 50 are now looking to delay their retirement for at least five years. And it’s not for the love of work. Oh no, it’s simply because they don’t think they have enough cash to have a comfortable life in their later years.

Interestingly, many people said that they need to carry on working to support their older children who have since flown the nest – either by paying off student debt, paying for weddings, or giving them a hand up onto the property ladder. So, a continued push of more work, followed by semi-retirement, is the prospect many are facing well into their 70s.

Parents shouldn’t be burdened by our debt

I’m one of those kids probably giving my dad that very headache. Five years out of university, I still have an enormous loan to pay off and I’m with thousands of others in London battling to get some cash together to buy a house.

Of course, I’d love some help. But my dad only has a limited time left to get some money together for his impending retirement. At 26, I’ve got at least 40 years to save for my later years, as well as time to scrape together a deposit. Should I be burdening my old man with my needs when his outlook is far less rosy?

My generation have got one hell of a fight to walk the financial path our parents did. Should we be expecting them to make even more sacrifices to help us get there? I don’t think so but I’d like to hear what you think.

Comments
Member

That’s what parents are for though, regardless of how bad you feel. 🙂

I am similar in that I never ask my parents for money or help and constantly refuse it when they do offer it. My sisters on the other hand often borrow and never pay them back which annoys me.

What I say is that if you do it yourself then do, not relying on my parents for the last few years has meant that I have my own house that I rent out, savings and pension. Budgeting just had to happen and until I force myself into it, I’m not going to do it. I am my own disciplinarian!

My parents have just retired and to be honest, they need something to do as they have busied themselves with helping others. If they want to do that then fine, they can help me put up blinds and curtains when I move into my new place next month.

But they can keep their money, that’s theirs to enjoy in retirement.

Member

Of course the tendency to delay starting a family until you are in your 30s does tend to mean the kids will still be looking for support when you are thinking of retirement.
We had our children when in our mid 20’s, so they are now well established and we can use our retirement to catch up on all the things we didnt do when younger.

Member

Thanks for your comments. Yes parents are having kids older, which means they’re going to have to push their retirement plans even further back. It’s not just kids though – the parents of our parents are also becoming a financial concern, with funding expensive long-term care. This generation of retirees are getting pulled from either side – that’s why I’m trying not to lean on my dad.

Member
Daddykins says:
18 November 2011

My father walked out on his family 60yrs ago so no inheritence there. Mother lives in a council bungalow on her state pension. Not much there. Father-in-law was a farm worker always living in tied farm cottages so no inheritance from that side. Daughter and son in law have good jobs, flash cars and own home. I retire at age of 65 next month with state pension and four small occupational pensions and some mortgage still to pay. If we can’t manage financially we will downsize. When we are both dead anything left will go to daughter or the cats home. I have worked for 50yrs, I would like a rest.