Oct 10

Will Helping Your Children Hinder Your Retirement

Are your retirement plans safe?

Whilst each generation has very different needs and priorities when it comes to managing their money and their finances, an increasing number of cases are arising where the decision of one generation is having a detrimental effect over the financial stability of other generations. Perhaps the most common example of this is adult children seeking large sums of financial assistance from their aging parents. This is due to a range of reasons, most of which could be avoided if they had were more prepared. 

Whilst pre-retirees and retirees are focusing on the growth and longevity of their nest egg, their children are more focused on education, buying their first homes and starting a family. We are often so focused on our own financial goals, that we don’t consider how our family’s decisions and experiences can have an effect on those around us.

If a child finds themselves in financial difficulty due to factors such as redundancy, illness or debt, most parents first instinct will no doubt be to help their children by providing financial support. This, however, can have a significant impact on the parents’ superannuation nest egg, value of their estate and their quality of life during retirement.

Take Sally and Mark, for example.


Sally and Mark had just retired, and were looking forward to their upcoming golden years, spending quality time with their children and grandchildren and travelling around Australia as they had always planned to do.


Unfortunately, only 6 months into their retirement they had a devastating call advising that their son, Michael, had suffered a heart attack and passed away.


Because he was a fit, healthy man in his late thirties, Michael had not seen the need for any life insurance and for this reason his wife, who was a stay at home mum, was now left to manage their two children and mortgage on her own.


As most parents or grandparents would do, Sally and Mark welcomed their daughter in law and grandchildren into their family home.


The financial impact on Sally and Mark’s retirement plans was enormous. In order to support their daughter in law and grandchildren meant that their retirement plans were no longer what they had originally intended, and Sally and Mark would now need to live a very modest lifestyle in order to make ends meet.


*This case study is for illustrative purposes only.  


It is important to encourage discussions with your children from an early age, and ensure they are educated around their finances in order to avoid these situations. Arming your family with as much information as possible will assist you in helping each other for the long term.

By planning together and communicating, all generations can enjoy a better financial future.

Have you considered how the following issues may impact members of your family? What are some of the solutions to consider to address these issues?

For 20 somethings:

29% of Gen Y are “financially unfit” – high debt, no insurance, few savings and expensive accommodation.1

          Struggling to manage credit card debt

          Low income

          Paying off HECS debt

          Increasing rental costs

          Relative lack of awareness regarding finances

          Living costs (many holding a live now, pay later mentality)


Things to think about:

          Consider avoiding a credit card

          Budget wisely

          Educate yourself about your finances

          Start planning for your future now – start a savings plan now- linked high interest account “pay yourself”

          Live according to your income


For 30 somethings:

Only 53% of 30year olds believe they could survive longer than a month if they were unable to work.

          Job stability and salary packages hit by financial crisis

          Increasing property costs

          Mortgage stress

          Young families to support


Things to think about:

          Speak with your Financial Planner about Risk Cover

          Consider debt consolidation

          Ensure you don’t overextend yourself when purchasing a property

          Budget wisely

          Don’t forget to think about your super

–     Consider some salary protection, life trauma insurance


For Pre-Retirees & Retirees:

It costs around $350 per week to support an adult child. That’s money many pre-retirees and retirees desperately need to build – or rebuild – into their retirement next egg.2

Around 22,500 Australian grandparents are looking after their grandchildren.3

          young adult children living at home

          lending money to children for major life expenses – i.e.: first home.

          supporting children who are not coping with financial debt

          instability of markets and the GFC shrinking super accounts


Its not too late to discuss these issues with your financial planner to learn about how they can help your family better plan for its collective future.












Source: Lonsdale Financial Group

1  Bankwest, Social Indicator Series, as sourced by BT Financial Group

2  What price the clever country? The costs of tertiary education in Australia, AMP. NATESM income and Wealth Report, 21 November 2008 and Honey, I calculated the kids… it’s $537,000, AMP. NATSEM Income and Wealth Report Issue 18 December 2007 as sourced by BT Financial Group Limited.

3  ABS: Family Characteristics, Australia, 2003 as sourced by MLC Insurance

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