5 Steps to Take When Your Parents Aren't Prepared for Retirement

Are you one of the many Americans who have discovered that their parents have little planned or saved for retirement? If so, you may need to take some steps now to help both you and your parents formulate a plan that will work for all. Here are a few steps to consider. 

1. Meet With a Planner.

A financial planner is a valuable resource when you and your parents aren't sure where to start. They have the experience and tools to run projections and make educated estimations for your parents' retirement. They can also help you locate all resources and work with what you've got. 

2. Open an IRA.

It's not too late to start some retirement savings. An IRA — either Roth or traditional — is an option for most American workers. Help your parent or parents open one and make automatic contributions. You can also contribute to it in their name, as long as you don't contribute more than their earned income. 

3. Don't Neglect Yourself.

It's hard for adult children to prioritize their own retirement while dealing with a parent in financial straits. But you don't want to repeat any mistakes of prior generations by neglecting your own retirement planning even now. Use automated contributions options, meet with your own financial planner, and avoid reducing your own savings efforts. 

4. Start an Emergency Fund.

If you believe that you'll eventually be called on to help support your parents during retirement, increase your readiness now. A parental emergency fund is a great way to start. Talk with other siblings and your partner, then open an account specifically for covering your parents' expenses and emergencies later. Fund it with small contributions over time. 

5. Determine Your Boundaries. 

Responsibly supporting parents during retirement must include not driving yourself into further financial trouble. This means setting boundaries before they actually retire. Determine with your financial planner what you can offer and where you need to draw the line. Find nonfinancial ways to help, such as helping them get public assistance or start a side gig. Then, talk frankly with them about what you can and can't do. 

Where to Start

If you've been blindsided by your parents' lack of retirement planning, you may not even know where to start fixing the problem. The best place is in a meeting with an experienced retirement planner in your state. They will work with you, your parents, and any other siblings to find the best solutions for everyone. Make an appointment today to begin.