This post is sponsored by LifeStation, an in-home medical alert company that promotes peace of mind among adults with health and mobility issues and their loved ones.
Millennials have decades before we plan to retire, but the upcoming retirement boom will most certainly affect us. After all, our parents are starting to retire in droves. If your parents are nearing or in retirement, then it’s high time that you connect with them. Here are five questions millennials need to ask their parents about retirement planning sooner rather than later:
- How will your health affect your retirement?
- Do I need to move out soon?
- Can you afford the financial help that you’re giving me?
- What do you need in order to optimize your financial health in retirement?
- Do you have a will and an advanced directive?
1. How Will Your Health Affect Your Retirement?
Slightly more than half of all people retiring before what is considered full retirement age — currently age 66 in the United States — have some sort of health issue that impairs either their physical mobility or mental state.
If your parents are exhibiting some negative health signs, ask them about how that's affecting their retirement planning.
Do they expect to live independently even with health issues? If so, ask if they’ve considered a medical-emergency response system like LifeStation. For a relatively low cost of $25.95 per month, your parents can get medical help with the push of a button.
If your parents are willing to talk finances with you, you may want to ask whether their health problems may push them into early retirement. Millennials with parents who are retiring earlier than expected may be able to help them brainstorm ways to cut costs or increase income during the retirement years.
Detailed conversations like these may seem inappropriate, but 95 percent of parents with adult children want to have these conversations by the time that health or finances become an issue.
2. Do I Need to Move Out Soon?
A third of millennials live with their parents, according to the United States Census Bureau. More often than not, this arrangement works out for everyone involved. However, plenty of retiring boomers have most of their net worth locked up in their home. To shore up their nest egg, your parents may be thinking of downsizing to a smaller home where there may not be room for you. Millennials who live with their parents need to have a frank discussion about whether they will still be welcome when their parents retire.
3. Can You Afford the Financial Help That You’re Giving Me?
More than six in 10 parents help out their adult children financially. Most of the time parents aren’t paying rent for their grown children, but they may be helping them out with educational expenses, allowing them a free ride on their cell phone plan, or covering a medical bill from time to time.
If you’ve made a habit of getting interest-free loans from the bank of Mom, or you’re getting help paying down your student loans, it may be time to ask whether your parents can afford to continue giving you help. It could be that they're more than happy to assist you in special circumstances. On the other hand, your parents may be helping you with your needs at the expense of their future retirement. When they retire and face a reduced income, you’ll want to have this conversation again.
4. What Do You Need in Order to Optimize Your Health During Retirement?
Retiring can be shockingly difficult for some people to handle. If your parents plan to retire soon, ask what they will do afterward. Be sure that they have plans to stay physically and socially active. They may qualify for a discounted gym membership through the Silver Sneakers program. This can be a great way to get physical and social activity in the same venue.
Even if your parents face mobility challenges, they’ll need a plan to optimize their physical, emotional, and social health. Will you or your siblings be able to take them to doctor’s appointments, or will your parents still do that themselves? Do they have close friends who will visit regularly? If your parents have anxiety about their health, you may want to suggest a few safety nets. For example, an at-home medical alert system will give your parents access to trained care whenever they need it. Spending just a few extra dollars every month may offer considerable peace of mind when your parents are adjusting to limited mobility.
5. Do You Have a Will and an Advanced Directive?
Families who talk in detail about parents' estate and medical planning have greater peace of mind, according to a survey by Fidelity. More than 60 percent of parents with adult children want to have these detailed conversations before they retire or early in retirement. Hopefully your parents have a long life and retirement before them, but it’s good to start conversations early about what happens after they die.
A simple question about making wills and advance medical directives can get your parents thinking about their health, their finances, and how the family can get on the same page.