Older-Parent Families: Advantages and Disadvantages
Campbell works with such a family with two young children; combined, the family receives about $4,600 a month in Social Securitybenefits.
Beyond the retirement and college-planning decisions, middle-aged parents may be caring for their own frail, elderly parents at the same time they’re raising preschoolers, a potentially costly prospect that points to another issue: No built-in support network of youthful grandparents who can babysit during parental getaways. CFP Kahler knows this first hand.
“Our childcare bill is as much as our airfare bill,” he says. Trading childcare with other families can defrays the costs, though, he adds.
The age factor similarly can make it difficult for middle-age parents to find willing and able guardians to name in their wills. Lindsay recalls a former client couple in their 40s with young children who had trouble completing their estate planning because they had only older siblings and no one willing to be named as guardians.
“Sometimes it just comes down to making the best decision out of a number of poor alternatives," Kahler says. "It may mean sending them out of state to someone, you may be looking to nieces and nephews who could potentially raise a child.”
Older-parent families can face other advantages and disadvantages, as well.
“I think my kids will need less therapy than if I’d had kids in my 20s,” Kahler jokes. On the other hand, he notes there are costs associated with the care of an aging body. “I tell my kids, `The horsey can only go up and down the hallway a couple of times before the horsey runs out of gas.’ ”