Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Following 31 as a Baby Boomer

I will admit it - I am a baby boomer, just having gotten in there at the tail end. I'm getting older and all of my five children have reached age 18 or older. In many ways, getting older is not a whole lot of fun. To be fair, there are some perks. Senior discounts anyone?

What has been popping up on my radar these days has to do with baby boomers and their children, specifically finances. Consumer's Reports has published an interesting article concerning the "gifts" many parents have given their grown children. The majority of these gifts are in the form of cash. The magazine calls this an epidemic.

I know that oftentimes seniors are split between wanting to help their children and wanting them to "just grow up". This is a touchy subject for the many boomers who find themselves in the situation of giving to adult kids who keep holding out their hands for more.

My question is, would you consider it loving to continue to give and give until you have nothing left to give - then find yourself in the position of being penniless and, maybe, find yourself with no resources to sustain you in your retirement? From all that I've read, that seems to be where many boomers are heading or have actually gone in the United States today. And that's sad because, from all people tell me, Social Security isn't all that secure, or lucrative.

Forbes Magazine has also published an article on this "epidemic". The author states that giving to adult kids who fully able to work and earn their own incomes is "unhealthy". She states, "The unhealthy result of too much leads to dependency and to your own possible financial destruction in your later years." 

I am a sucker for the elderly. Put me in a room full of small children and I immediately feel my anxiety rise. I love children, I really do. But I seem to be more at ease with the elderly. Perhaps it's because I know I'm reaching that place sooner than later. Maybe I just love to hear their stories (the very old can tell you things about which you could never imagine!) Whatever the reason, they have a special place in my heart. And my heart breaks for those who have given to their children out of love just to find that their life savings is now depleted. 

Don't even get me started on the tragedy that has befallen so many American veterans who gave and gave, and now find themselves homeless and alone.

My question is, who will step in and take care of these old people who gave so much? Will it be the grown kids who "borrowed" from Mom and Dad? Will it be the Americans who owe their very lives to those homeless vets? 

And what if it happens to me?

As my husband and I make plans for our future retirement years, we talk about this. Our kids are no different than anyone else's. They are not perfect. We are taking steps to provide a home business that will supplement Social Security. We are also taking steps to make sure that our children don't fall into the trap of dependency upon aging parents. And if that means that our kids fall on their faces, it will also mean that they have learned something.

The Proverbs 31 Woman is someone who I think works with her husband to ensure that the children are mature and able to survive this harsh world by relying upon God and not on aging parents. 

"She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26 (NIV)

I don't think it's ever too early to teach financial responsibility and the value of hard work to our children. Along with that, maybe we need to remind those children of the fifth Commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." (KJV)

1 comment:

Secondary Roads said...

Our parents were not able to help us financially. By the time we were able to help our children they were successfully launched into their work careers. We have friends who say it is wrong to help children after they've left their parents' home. We have others who sacrifice to help their grown children and grandchildren. As usual, you've given a good analysis of the situation.