7 Ways to Care For Your Children as You Age
No matter how old your children are, you still want to care for them. The key to taking care of them when they are adults is making sure that caring does not become overbearing. You and your adult children need to strike a healthy blend of autonomy and connection.
Buy Life Insurance
You probably had life insurance when your kids were little. You knew that if you died while they were still dependents, they would need to replace your income. Now, they do not need you to pay their bills and maintain their household (hopefully), but they can still benefit from your life insurance. If you served your country, see what military life insurance offers. Talk to your agent to decide what is right for your situation and if it’s the right choice for your family.
Create an Estate Plan
You may think only wealthy families need estate plans, but nothing could be further from the truth. Creating a plan is a way for you to preserve your legacy, and continue to care for your descendants when you are gone. Depending on your circumstances, you may need a will or a trust, a living will (which has to do with medical care, not inheritance) and power of attorney. Consult an estate planning specialist to determine what is best for you and your family.
Prepare for Your Retirement
Caring for yourself is a way to care for your children. If you provide for yourself into your retirement years, you will not be a burden to your children. Prepare for your retirement by starting early and saving consistently. If your employer offers a retirement plan, participate to the maximum allowed. If your job doesn’t offer retirement benefits, open an account of your own.
Give Their Retirement a Boost
Many young people fail to plan for their retirement. It seems so far away and there are so many exciting ways to spend money now. You can help your children start saving now, while time is on their side. Open an individual retirement account with any amount your child would be allowed to contribute, based on his or her annual income (see IRS rules for details). Once the account is established, your child may be inspired to contribute as well. Sometimes people just need to get over the initial hassle of opening the account. Even if your children never add a cent, the money you contribute will grow for decades and should double many times over.
You can open an account for your grandchildren, too, if they qualify. The account owner needs to have earned income, but it does not have to be documented on a W-2. Income from babysitting, mowing lawns, or tutoring the neighbor counts. As long as you do not contribute more than the grandchild earned throughout the year, the contributions are allowed by the IRS.
Open Investment Accounts for Your Grandchildren
Basically, anything you do for your grandchildren is also a gift to your children. Parents may not have enough income to set aside money for their children’s big expenses: a car, college, down payment on a home. You can open an account specifically for education, which has the added benefit of tax breaks for you. For more flexibility, invest in a general brokerage account or in individual stocks. Since your grandkids will not need the money for many years, you can take some risks, which tend to pay better rewards. Investing in your grandchildren’s future is a practical gift that helps two generations of your family.
Take Care of Your Health
What your adult children may want more than anything is time with you. When you take care of yourself, you can live longer, remain energetic, and participate in more of your kid’s lives. As you do more together you make more memories. Remember how much you liked taking your children hiking or exploring museums? You — and they — will still treasure moments like that now. Sharing experiences allows people to bond, even if the experience seems mundane or routine. So stay healthy enough to go over for dinner, wash the dishes together, and help prune the rose bushes.
Watch the Grandkids
Nothing warms the heart quite as much as seeing people we love creating memories together. As much fun as you have with your children, you can have twice as much with your grandchildren. Steal them away for a day to bake cookies or take them for a week of camping. Your children will appreciate the break! This can be difficult now with COVID-19, so make sure you take the right safety precautions.
One caveat: be sure to respect your children as parents by following their rules. If parents insist on protective gear, do not let your grandchild ride a bike without a helmet. If bedtime is normally 8 p.m. do not let the little tyke stay up until midnight. Encouraging rebellion is one sure way to undermine your relationship with your children and ensure you never get to take the grandkids on a trip again.