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Majority of Adult Children Cannot Support Boomer Parents, Surveys Find

  • November 1st, 2022

Boomer dad and GenX son sitting on couch at home and talking.A recent survey by the American Advisors Group (AAG) finds that 55 percent of adult children say they are not financially prepared to help their Baby Boomer parents cope with rising inflation and living expenses.

“Americans want to see their parents age with grace and dignity and have the resources they need to live comfortably, but for many families the current economy is making that difficult,” AAG Chief of Marketing Martin Lenoir said in a news release.

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AAG surveyed more than 1,500 adult children, ages 40 to 55, across the country. Known as the “sandwich generation,” this group faces the responsibilities not only of raising their children, but also of serving as caregivers for their aging parents.

Among the survey’s other key findings:

  • More than a third of adult children say they worry that their parents will become a financial burden for them.
  • Nearly 60 percent say they cannot afford any kind of professional elder care for their parents.
  • Yet almost half admit they have never broached the subject of finances with their senior parents.
  • A full 50 percent of them do not know how much debt their parents are carrying.

1 in 3 Adult Children Already Assisting Their Parents Financially

Another survey, conducted in 2020 by GoHealth, Inc., explored GenXers’ and millennials’ involvement in their parents’ financial and health care needs. It found that one in three GenXers and millennials are supporting their parents financially. Nearly the same number are managing, or helping to manage, their parents’ health care.

The survey’s 2,000 GenX and millennial respondents also reported the following:

  • On average, they spend 11.5 hours per week managing their parents’ health care by providing transportation, scheduling doctor visits, and explaining insurance claims. They also estimate they’ll spend 14 to 16 years continuing to do so.
  • 2 in 5 spent more than $10,000 of their own money supporting their parents in 2020.
  • The vast majority (86 percent of GenXers and 82 percent of millennials) worry about having enough money to support themselves and their parents.

Squeezing the Sandwich Generation

Adult children will continue to feel the pressure for the foreseeable future. Every day, on average, 10,000 Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) reach age 65, and another 10,000 of them turn 75. According to research by the Blackstone Group, an independent research firm, nearly 80 percent of middle-income Boomers do not have any savings designated to cover their retirement care.

Meanwhile, 30 million Boomers retired from the workforce amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Saddled with college debt, as well as rising inflation and housing costs, those GenXers and millennials who still depend on their parents for financial assistance or housing may no longer be able to count on that support.

Have ‘The Talk’

It’s important for families to have an honest and respectful financial conversation before a medical event occurs or the need for care arises. Talking about money with aging parents can be a delicate matter, but it’s necessary to understand both the degree of care that may be needed and the financial resources available to provide it.

For help planning for the future of your Boomer parents, or for your GenXer and millennial children, consult a qualified attorney in your area.


Last Modified: 11/01/2022

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