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5 tips on financially helping your parents in your 20s and 30s

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While in college, I regularly gave money to my grandmother, Big Mama, to help with her living expenses. I pay for her groceries if we shop together and do the occasional utility bill.

In my late twenties, I started paying her annual property tax. Big Mama would never have asked for financial help, but I knew it would give her some comfort. She was a good money manager, but she lived on a small pension and Social Security didn’t allow much in the budget.

I hate jokes about young people “failing to start a business” because they live with their parents. If you don’t live under a rented roof, you are often unfairly characterized as being economically underdeveloped. Never mind that the cost of living is very high in some areas and independence is difficult. strangle their short-term and long-term goals.

Let grown children take care of themselves? It’s obsolete in today’s economy.

But would you be surprised to learn that a significant percentage of people in their 20s live in their parents’ home not just to save money for themselves, but to help out at home? their parents?

up to date investigation On the economic well-being of American households, the Federal Reserve reported that 33 percent of adults ages 22 to 24 said they live at home to provide financial assistance to their parents. Among those aged 25 to 29 who live with their parents, the figure jumps to 42%. This is an increasing trend among younger groups. 2017Seventeen percent of adults aged 22-24 said they are staying at home to provide financial assistance.

In the 10th Annual Fed Survey on Household Economics and Decision Making, conducted in the fourth quarter of last year, participants were able to: Please select multiple answers regarding housing conditions. It should therefore be noted that most (90%) of adults in their early twenties (ages 22-24) lived with their parents to save money. Between the ages of 25 and 29, the percentage drops to 87 percent.

The Fed noted that 60% of adults aged 30 to 59 living with their parents said it was to provide financial support.

but for For young adults just starting out, caring for aging parents with limited resources can be a heavy burden. If you’re in this category and you’re feeling the pinch, here are five things you should and shouldn’t do.

Ask your parents for financial information

The younger you are, the harder it can be to ask your parents about their financial situation. Role reversal can be uncomfortable. However, it is necessary to know in order to assess how long assistance will be needed.

if they need you If they need help paying their mortgage each month, they probably can’t afford a house anymore. Perhaps it’s time to relocate or downsize. Alternatively, living at home and sharing the costs may be a long-term plan. Either way, talk about it.

Communication is very important when you are dependent on each other. Start the conversation by sharing your budget. I hope that when you become transparent, they become transparent too.

If I were to supplement their budget, I would have the right to know the full extent of the shortfall. How long do they expect help? What happens if I move? how will they survive? I need answers to these questions.

As one caregiver told me, it’s important to discuss your financial situation with your parents before a crisis hits. Maintenance is always cheaper than cleaning.

The sandwich generation is changing. It leaves you stressed.

If you live at home and witness your parents being reckless with their money, it may be time to let them grow up. Cut the cord. Or at least decide how much you can help and only donate that amount.

Helping parents is good. Enabling bad financial behavior is not.

If the pressure is too much for you to handle on your own, seek therapy.

For more timeless personal finance advice, order Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones.

don’t go into debt to help

Mind you, don’t risk your own finances by going into debt to help your parents. Increasing your credit card debt or co-signing a credit card loan may not be doing you any good.

Don’t let debt hurt your future financially. Don’t let debt get you down and ultimately hinder your ability to start a family of your own. This is difficult because you feel the weight of the responsibility, but please only do what you can afford.

Don’t sacrifice your savings goals

Sacrificing retirement savings and financial goals to support my parents reminds me of the instructions given by flight attendants just before takeoff.

Airline passengers are always instructed to put on oxygen masks first, even when traveling with children.

At first glance, this seems selfish.

But if you are out of breath and faint, you cannot help others.

Elderly care is very expensive. Baby boomers are not ready.

We have a network of professionals who can help you manage your parent’s care. AARP is a great place to find information about such services.go to aarp.org Click on the “Care” link.

There is also an elder care locator (eldercare.acl.gov or 800-677-1116). It is a nationwide service established by the U.S. Administration on Aging that connects older adults and their caregivers to public and private services. Once on the site, click on the “Support Services” link.

Research financial aid programs. For example, my grandmother was eligible for a property tax discount. But I had to pester her to fill out her paperwork. She was worried that the city would somehow bring her back to her home. In the end I convinced her that it would help us both if her property taxes were reduced as her income is limited.

National Senior Citizens Council BenefitsCheckUp tool (benefitcheckup.org) They can help connect you to programs that can help pay your parents’ prescription drugs or help with rent and utilities.

BOM — Michelle Singletary’s Best of Personal Finance

If you have questions about Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary’s personal finances, please call 1-855-ASK-POST (1-855-275-7678).

Recession-proof life: A tsunami of economic news has caused consumers, investors and would-be homeowners alike to question whether a recession is inevitable. regardless of the answer Practical steps you can take to protect yourself From worst case scenario.

Credit card debt: Carrying on with credit card debt is never a good thing and you should stop the habit. Given that the Fed continues to raise interest rates, here are seven ways to reduce your credit card debt.

Money moves throughout life. For a more comprehensive overview of Michelle’s timeless money advice, see Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones. Interactive packages provide guidance for every stage of her life, from beginning her career to thriving in her retirement.

try yourself: Do you know where you stand financially? Take the quiz and read Michelle’s advice.

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