As a consequence of an aging population, more working Americans are finding themselves faced with a new challenge -- trying to save for retirement while sandwiched between financial obligations to children and to elderly parents.
With two children in high school, Suzanne and Matt Fletcher each work full time, and contribute regularly to retirement and college savings accounts.* When Suzanne's mother suffered a stroke and needed full-time medical attention, her pension and Social Security payments couldn't cover all of the cost of her increased health care needs. High medical expenses put a squeeze on the Fletchers' combined income of $80,000.
Keep Your Eye on the Future
Understanding the importance of keeping up regular saving for retirement, the Fletchers continue to contribute to a retirement plan offered through Matt's employer, though at a slightly lower level. They took on the additional cost of $1,800 a month for a daytime caregiver for Suzanne's mother so that Suzanne could keep her job. This way, she will continue to accrue Social Security and pension benefits, making it less likely that she and Matt will be a burden to their own children later on.
We're All in This Together
The Fletcher children are now playing a bigger part in funding their own educations. Money from gifts and part-time jobs goes directly into their college savings accounts. They have also taken charge of researching grants, scholarships, and loans for financing the remaining costs. First-hand experience in planning for financial goals will teach a positive lesson to the Fletcher children -- the value of saving and investing for the future.
*This investor profile is hypothetical.
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