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Crisis Fallout: Supporting the Parents?!

In the old days, I’m talking pre-Industrial Revolution, children were an economic necessity for the vast majority of people. When your parents could no longer work, you and your many, many siblings were supposed to take of them in their old age.

Thanks to economic progress, pension plans and social security, that’s been less and less true for most people. The 401(k) revolution was making it easier and easier for our parents to take care of themselves when they hit their sixties and seventies. At least that’s how things were trending until last week, when the market probably took a big bite out of your parents’ retirement fund.

Now those of us in our twenties have a whole new set of problems to contend with. Forget worrying about your retirement, you’ve got to think about being able to send Mom and Dad off to Sunrise Senior Living or maybe an Assisted Living Concepts home in a few years. Instead of treating our parents like ATMs, we may have to support them in a few years time unless stocks recover pretty dramatically.

And unlike the status quo 200 years ago, the average American family has, what, 2.3 children? That means you and your 1.3 brothers and sisters could have an enormous burden to shoulder when your parents retire. Pray they do the parental thing and keep working so as not to inconvenience you, but it’s probably time to start thinking about what you won’t be able to have when you start supporting your parents.

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