Unplanned Child Support

Traditionally, when people make a plan for their retirement, they expect to support their children as best they can through their educational years and then, hopefully, the kids are on their own. But in the protracted wake of the recession, and partially due to behavior choices of the younger adult generations, support of children has become a frequent additional burden upon retirement planning.

At the recent Center for Retirement Research conference in Washington, Rick Miller, the keynote speaker and a Certified Financial Planner with Sensible Financial Planning in Boston, reported that his firm has about 200 clients who are mostly not rich but have planned well for their retirement—and yet many of them have retirement funding issues. Often, the problem is their children.

Miller ran off a list of post-college issues that today’s young or even middle-aged adults face that are in need of support: big weddings, bad marriages and their results, costly housing in the cities they tend to drift towards, health issues, disappointing jobs or no jobs at all, entrepreneurship that goes awry, substance abuse.

The issue for retirees is, how do you plan for any of this? How do you plan for your child who is used to sharing two salaries having to live on one?

Who anticipates that their child is going to have alcohol or drug issues? And this is in addition to the other great unknowns-- health issues and longevity.