Think about the amount of time you’ve spent planning for retirement. Then, think about how much time you’ve put into planning your summer vacations. The crazy truth is that people spend more time planning their two-week vacation for the year than reviewing and planning for their retirement.
When you think back to those family vacations before you became an empty nester, it was an important annual ritual. Your own children have probably picked up the habit of spending hours planning for their vacations. But are your kids planning for retirement like you did? Are they in the habit of looking at the future and setting themselves up to retire on their terms?
The common answer is no. If this is your answer, it might be time for your kids to take a look at where they’re at, where they’re going, and how to put together a plan so they can get there. Now, if you have kids and you say, “You must do this and that,” your kids aren’t going to react any differently than if your parents had told you the same thing back in the day. No one likes being told what to do, so instead, make it a conversation.
A good first step is to ask your kids if they’re getting all the tax breaks available to them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share any insight you may have. What tax breaks have you been able to take advantage of? While not every tax break will be applicable now, the insight is always valuable.
The second step is to ask if they are maximizing the money they’re putting toward retirement. Do they have a retirement plan through work? What kind of retirement accounts are they taking advantage of? Are they taking dollars they normally pay in taxes and putting them away for retirement?
Third, suggest they speak to a financial advisor if they haven’t already. An advisor is there to make sure they’re on track for the future. Not only do advisors help determine when you can retire, but they also make sure you have a good plan in place that won’t hurt you in times of high volatility.
One thing you want to avoid is simply giving your kids money to put toward their own retirement. People are surprised when I say that they can hurt their children by giving them money, particularly if it’s a lump sum.
While we all want what’s best for our kids no matter their age, this can do more harm than good. There are a lot of things that don’t always enter the money or retirement conversation. If your children are going through a divorce, a bankruptcy, facing excessive medical costs, or any number of issues, those dollars may drift away instead of being deposited in a retirement fund. It doesn’t mean that the money isn’t useful, but perhaps it’s not useful in the way you intended.
Most of the time, our clients want their money to stay in the family. To do this properly, not only does your financial house have to be in order with updated trust and beneficiary information on all of your accounts, but your children’s houses must be in order as well. When your financial houses are in order, this gives both parties the safety and protection they need for a smooth transfer of wealth when the time comes.
But before that time comes, we’re here to help. This summer, we’re extending a complimentary financial review to your adult children. If they call our office any time in the next 45 days, we’ll sit down with them free of charge to talk about their financial health and retirement.
Just as you plan for your summer vacations, it’s important to plan for your retirement. We want to make sure everything goes off without a hitch so that when you take your first step into retirement, you know you’re in for the time of your lives. After all, you deserve a stress-free retirement.