Filed Under:Markets, Boomer Market

Key challenge for boomers: supporting aging parents, kids

Many boomers find themselves in the unfamiliar role of providing support for both aging parents and children.
Many boomers find themselves in the unfamiliar role of providing support for both aging parents and children.

The Silver Tsunami is no longer a vague threat lurking out at sea. It began slamming into shore in 2011, when the baby boomers started turning 65, and has been shaking the foundations of retirement planning ever since. Boomers swept up in this demographic shift have experienced significant changes in their relationships with those around them, including their families and their advisors. Many boomers now find themselves in the unfamiliar role of providing financial and emotional support for both aging parents and children struggling to achieve financial independence.

Nearly half of Americans in their 40s and 50s (47 percent) have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising young children or supporting a grown child, according to a study released last year by Pew Research. Approximately 15 percent are providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

Watching his sister and her husband care for his mother gave Froehlich a whole new respect for them and others in that position. "That's one of the most stressful things on a marriage that you could deal with," he says.  "It's hard enough to be married and maintain a strong relationship while working, raising kids and everything else going on. And if you're the spouse, it's not even your mother. I told my brother-in-law, I will love and respect him forever for the work he did for my mom."

Several years after his mother passed away, his father, who lived in Florida with Froelich's stepmom, became ill.

Advisors who don't understand generational views of the world and the dynamics of each family are "functioning in the dark," Gray says. She recommends that advisors take the time to understand how retirees are looking at the rest of their lives and what younger people may be expecting from their parents.

A recent study of single-family offices by the Wharton Global Family Alliance cites non-financial components as one of the key drivers of wealth performance. "If you have a family that's disagreeing among themselves, they're going to have difficulty making important decisions about investments," Gray says. "But when you have consensus and engagement, they're going to make much better decisions and they're going to be a much better client for you as an advisor."

Tough love

"We focus on the money, because that's our domain as advisors, but it's about more than that," says Mari Adam, CFP, president of Adam Financial Associates in Boca Raton, Fla. 

One of Adam's clients is over 70 and would like to retire, but continues to work to bolster her retirement funds after years of helping her children financially. And while Adam wishes thing were different, she says, "She's getting closer to having a good retirement because we finally stepped in and started this discussion. If we had not done that, she would be in a much worse situation. It really is a great feeling to know (clients are) where they are now because we did certain things. As an advisor, there's nothing better. "

A good advisor

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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