(article and photo via
The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lule-demmissie/retirement-planning-tips-when-family-members-ask-for-help_b_8083262.html?utm_hp_ref=retirement)
"A recent study showed that one in five Americans are providing monetary support to a family member -- either a parent, an adult child or both in some instances. One in five might not sound like a lot, but this support is adding up to a $630 billion chunk out of American budgets each year..."
"When is the last time you talked about finances? Conversations about financial support most often happen when a family member needs help, not before, and only one in five Americans reports discussing generational money obligations with a financial professional. With older and younger generations, these conversations can be hard, no doubt. But it's better to talk now, than get hit with an unexpected financial request later.
If you're ready to talk (or even if you're not ready), here are some tips to have honest, productive conversations with your parent or child and keep your sanity and (hopefully savings) intact:
Make it a date. Once you've decided to have the conversation, you may be experiencing some trepidation or nerves and that's understandable. If you're having trouble getting started, put a date on your calendar and circle it in red. Prepare for it like you would a business meeting, and outline your thoughts beforehand. A little advance preparation can go along way, especially if you expect the conversation to get heated. By collecting your thoughts and feelings ahead of time, you'll be better equipped to de-escalate and refocus the conversation if necessary.
Be clear. Money conversations can be fraught with tension, especially if the message about financial support is "no" or "not anymore." And there are probably things you think are better left unsaid. But don't take the easy way out here. This is not the time for "maybes" or "we'll see" or "perhaps." Be strong and clear, so to avoid slipping into a situation where you're contributing more than you feel comfortable with for longer than you'd like to.
With kids, ask:
If you're helping or planning to help a mother, father or both, consider your siblings if you have any. Perhaps there is no need for all the pressure to be on your shoulders. Make it a family effort, as much as possible, to rally help all around.
And if you have an existing relationship with a registered investment advisor or a financial planner, talk to them about your situation. They deal with money every day, and often hear about the family dynamics that can go with it. They can provide helpful advice as you think about ways to approach a loved one.
Don't neglect your own financial future. Taking care of aging parents or a child, especially if you're getting close to your own retirement, can be an expensive setback personally, as well as financially. If you're Gen X or a Boomer, consider this: Kids can always try to take out student loans, but there's no loan you can take out for retirement. If you're a millennial, consider this: Time is on your side, so even if you're helping mom or dad, set aside $10 or $100 each month and watch it add up over time. Keep your own financial situation front-of-mind. It's not selfish... it's smart. "