December 29, 2010
The economy has taken its toll on your parents' retirement nest egg, which they worked so hard to build. You and your four siblings are doing well financially, but no one is stepping up to the plate to help Mom and Dad. What's the solution?
Initially, this calls for a conversation between yourself and your parents. Awareness of your parents' financial situation is critical. Parents can feel like they are giving up their independence and privacy if they discuss that information. In terms of harmony among siblings, it's better if everyone has the same information.
You could discuss an agreement where you will help your parents out financially now, on the understanding that they will pay you back through your inheritance. If they agree, you could share your agreement with your siblings so that they know in advance. They could be invited to be part of the agreement as well. Seek the advice of a professional like a lawyer or financial advisor about how best to make this financial arrangement.
Remind your siblings of the impact that the current economic situation has had on seniors like your parents. Older U.S. adults have lost almost one quarter of their buying power since 2000, according to the Annual Survey of Senior Costs released in 2010 by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a senior advocacy group.
In Canada, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, the share of insolvent consumers for people aged 55 and up has more than quadrupled in the past decade, hitting 20.6% last year. This was the steepest increase for all age groups. The office compiled the findings based on annual numbers between 1989 and 2009.
If your siblings understand, they may get a better grasp of what your family is facing and be more willing to pitch in to help.
Please download the guide: 50-50 Rule® Brochure (PDF 950K).
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