The Sandwich Generation: My Parents Didn't Save For Their Retirement
Planning for your retirement can be challenging enough, but what if you also have to plan for your parents?
Looking after your family’s financial needs and lending financial support to your parents is a reality that lies ahead for many young Singaporeans. It’s a common phenomenon for the sandwich generation or working adults who have to support both their parents and their own children.
To be fair, our parents sacrificed retirement planning for us to live comfortably while growing up, and there were fewer financial instruments available during their time. As they enter their twilight years, many of us have to face the fact that it’s not going to be easy looking after them while having our own families to support.
To help you out, we’ve come up with a list of suggestions that can help lessen your problems as part of the sandwich generation.
1. Buy insurance plans for your parents
It’s not uncommon to hear boomer parents being sceptical about financial planning instruments like insurance and retirement plans. After all, many of these weren’t around or that accessible back in their time.
Although insurance plans will be expensive for your parents considering their age and health conditions, you should still consider getting one for them.
If your parents still qualify for health insurance, we suggest getting at least an Integrated Shield Plan for them. Even the most basic health insurance plan would be a massive help in case of a health emergency.
2. If possible, ask them to delay retirement
Asking your parents to put off their retirement may sound like an unreasonable, massive request, but it can benefit both parties in the long run. As people over the years live longer due to improved living conditions, delayed retirements become a more viable option for employed adults.
This might be a bit difficult to hear, but if your parents throw in the towel at 60 and then live until their 70s and 80s, that’s 2 decades of retirement expenses you have to worry about.
On the flip side, if you encourage your parents to work until their 70s, then that’s already a decade shaven off the years that you're looking after and financially supporting them.
It will help reduce the financial burden of both parties later on and keep your parents’ minds active for a few more years.
3. Top up their CPF
One of the things that will help your parents live through retirement is the Central Provident Fund. The problem is, it’s more or less not enough for them to live a comfortable retirement.
The more funds a person has in their CPF Retirement Account by the age of 55, the higher monthly payouts they will receive upon retirement. However, it will be hard to depend mainly on your CPA Retirement Account if you aren’t able to make regular contributions while working.
CPF Payouts last as long as the beneficiary is alive, so it’s important to convince your parents to top up their accounts regularly. Top-ups are meant to boost monthly payouts to accommodate for their retirement needs.
Here’s a piece of good news: you can help your parents have a steady source of retirement payouts by topping up their CPF RA. You can even transfer a portion of your CPF savings to your parents after you’ve tucked away enough for your own retirement.
4. Downsize their properties
If you and your siblings have all moved out of your parents’ house, you might want to open the idea of downsizing their flat to them.
Apart from helping with the empty nest syndrome, downgrading flats should free up some cash for your parents, which can be added to their daily living expenses. It’s expensive to maintain a 3-bedroom flat even if only 2 people are living in it.
You might not want to hear this, but as your parents grow older, they will need more assistance. When that time comes, you’d either have to hire someone to look after them or care for them yourself.
Hiring a caregiver for your parents isn’t exactly cheap, but so is being a full-time caregiver yourself. The cash from selling or downsizing their properties will be a huge contribution to their retirement expenses.
Let's be honest, whether or not our parents have saved enough for their retirement funds, we're still going to be supporting them one way or another, financially or not.
If you're part of the sandwich generation in Singapore, you'll definitely have more work and sacrifices to make for your loved ones to have a secure retirement life.
If you want to learn more about retirement planning, or simply need financial planning tips, feel free to get in touch with us! We can connect you with experienced financial experts who can help you face your parents' retirement more comfortably.