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How 50 Somethings Can Unbundle Their Finances From Those Of Their Adult Children


Family togetherness is a beautiful thing.  If your family stays together through times of prosperity and financial hardship, this is something to celebrate.  Meanwhile, the key to discord is to be in each other’s business about every decision, especially financial decisions.  Some happily married couples will tell you that one reason they get along so well together is that they have separate bank accounts in addition to their joint bank account, so they do not have to argue about every purchase.  The hard truth is that, in 2023, many young adults need financial support from their parents.  How can you help your adult children become financially independent without tanking your own plans for retirement?  Of course, the answer depends on the unique circumstances of your family.  A Washington, D.C. estate planning lawyer can help you find the best way to help your children gain financial independence while still providing for your own retirement.

Hurtling Toward Multigenerational Financial Uncertainty

The price of almost everything has skyrocketed since your children were babies.  Your children are entering a workforce where the money they earn does not go as far as it did when you were their age.  Jobs with employer-provided retirement accounts are so hard to find these days that you can assume that your retirement account is the only one your family is getting for the next two generations.  Instead of focusing on how much money your kids spend on travel and clothing or on how impractical their career plans are, think about the best way to give your grandchildren (or your future grandchildren) a financial cushion.

Your 50s are a reality check, since your career is at its peak, but you are acutely aware of just how many people your earnings must sustain and how long it must sustain them.  Your six-figure job doesn’t feel so cushy once you realize that it will have to support you in your long retirement and provide an inheritance for your kids, who might be stuck in the gig economy for their entire careers.

Choosing Multigenerational Frugality

Don’t think in terms of giving your children as much as possible or of saving as much as possible for their inheritance.  Instead, let them benefit from things that are already free or affordable.  Let them live in your house while working and contribute a modest amount to household expenses.  Share a vehicle if possible, or if your commutes are in opposite directions, transfer your old car to your son or daughter when you buy a new car.

Less Financial Support Doesn’t Mean Less Emotional Support

Be honest with yourself and with your children about the fact that you cannot afford to give them money without jeopardizing your own financial independence.  Remember that money is not the only way you can help someone.  Your children also benefit from your advice and your willingness to listen.

Contact Us About Overcoming Estate Planning With Limited Resources

A Washington, D.C. estate planning attorney can help you make plans that will help safeguard future generations from financial uncertainty.  Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help.



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