Should you save money for your parents' retirement?

One topic I’ve been getting lots of questions about lately pertains to parents and retirement. Specifically, should you plan to support your parents when they retire?

This is such a complicated issue and one that’s fraught with lots of emotion. Here’s the latest example. The letter writer’s parents drained their retirement savings when some of her college financial aid fell through — without her knowledge. Many years later, her parents want her to start paying them back $400 a month for the loans (that she didn’t know existed) to help support them when they retire.…s-i-owe-400-a-month/

In this case, I don’t think what the parents are expecting is reasonable — but a lot of readers told me I got this one wrong! Many readers argued that she got her degree because of her parents’ sacrifice, which is a legitimate point. But most people get 18 years of food, shelter and clothing from their parents too. What if many years later, they presented you with the bill?

If they’d told her back in college that they were taking money out of their retirement accounts and would need to reimburse them, I’d 100% say she owes this money. But she also has young children. I think she and her husband need to feel comfortable that they can provide for the kids and save for their own future before they can agree to send $400 a month to her parents for many years.

This topic hits close to home as my own mother approaches retirement age with little savings. I’d love to hear perspectives from people who have retired parents. Do you provide support to them, and if so, what does that look like? Do you give them money? A place to live in your home? Help them with chores around their home?

Also, if you’re a parent: Do you want or expect your kids to support you when you retire?


As for myself, my answer is a flat-out no, not going to happen. (my parents are dead) when they were alive they made more money than I.

I read the article and the way I understood it, the child in question never knew where the money had come from, in the beginning. And did not know until parents brought it up later in life. Guilt Trip !

For the said child, no don’t do it, is my answer.


Every family and financial situation is different. In my own family, it’s not expected for children to financially help out aging parents, but if and when someone does need some support in order to cover basic quality-of-life needs, they generally get it in some form.

Do I expect my kid to take care of me financially one day? Not at all.

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Ooh, this is touchy. My parents have passed, my dad much earlier at 45, my mother more recently in 2012. She made more money than me and had adequate teachers retirement, SS, investments, rentals. While she didn’t need it, I would always pay for her travel tickets no matter where she went, just as an act of appreciation/love.

I don’t think parents should expect for their children to support them financially (realizing that in some cultures, that is expected). However, if I were the writer who wrote in, knowing that they made that type of sacrifice (which they should not have done…they should have protected themselves first), I would be inclined to give them a small monthly amount, something that I felt comfortable with, and not be guilted into giving $400 if that is not in the budget and while raising a family of my own. It’s just a matter of respect for me, and the writer is not showing much. The fact that they didn’t tell her of their sacrifice at the time is not the point…parents make plenty of sacrifices without their children’s knowledge. My take.


I’m an immigrant so I feel obligated to support my parents without them asking for money. In fact, I often offer them money to buy stuff even when they flat-out refuse to take my money.

On the flip side, if I were to become a parent, I’d have no expectations of my kid supporting me since I wouldn’t have a kid unless I can easily support myself anyway. However, my parents have made some sacrifices to allow me to live the life I had so I feel a strong inclination to support them, as a gesture, not because it’s out of necessity. They have more than enough money to live for the rest of their lives, but if they want something more I’m happy to provide that cash for them because, “why not?”

A lot of posts here seem to have the attitude that ‘my parents make more money than I do so screw them’ – I disagree with this wholeheartedly. It’s akin to saying ‘the wealthiest person at the table should always pay for the meal for everyone’. Those people are very annoying to be around and those leeches get cut off from my social circle pretty much ASAP. Instead of having that attitude, why not just make more money?

And sure, it’s a lot more work to make more money. And I mean, a lot more work. Making money is remarkably difficult. But…why be lazy so that I have the option to refuse my parents that might need my help? Seems like a life full of regrets to live that way.

And conversely, seems like a much better life if we all had an abundance mentality and an abundance in finances (even if it comes at a cost of working a lot harder).

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I am in the process of moving my mother from Germany to the States. I wish she hadn’t waited so long to agree to come however she is now home bound and has no family over there at least that care to help take care of her so she has no choice. I got some funds from a car wreck that I was in and guess that will go to moving some of her household goods over here. Wish my brothers would help but they are useless. LOL


I dont think a lot of younger people, myself being 41, realize that the vast generational wage gap since 1980, the year I was born. We still make less than our parents at the same life stage. In my particular situation I paid for my own college and my parents do not need or haven’t asked for payments from me, but if they did, the answer would be no.

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I think my mom will be fine. She has my fathers military retirement and an IRA and his Social Security so she will be fine. Just have to get her over here. LOL