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The Parent Trap

By Michele T. Sarna, CFP®, AIF®

Hello, 2021! Boy, are we glad to see you. However, with an unbelievable year behind us, many are still faced with the repercussions of the extraordinary events in 2020; pointedly, the need for families to move in together. Whether you are a recent college graduate or a full household, moving home takes on a whole new meaning. Not to mention the added stress if you are also caring for your parents.

The College Grad. You finally graduated from college or are ready to and, until now, had plans to live on your own. Or, you may have been living on your own in some capacity and find yourself back home. It’s ok. If your plans have been altered, take this time to reevaluate your financial goals. If the burden of rent is not an issue right now, budget what you can afford as a rent payment and put it in a separate savings account earmarked for future housing needs. You should also try to live lean. Don’t splurge on unnecessary items; instead, try to save as much as possible until you get a big enough nest egg to fly the coop once again. Try to make the best of the situation – it’s not permanent. If your parents aren’t charging you rent, you may want to add some additional chores to your duties to repay them.

Empty Nester. As great as it is to have your kids back home, there are a handful of financial issues that arise. A budget adjustment is vital as food and utility costs increase with the additional people in the house. You may also need to check your auto insurance policy to ensure every driver under your roof is named on your policy. If the kids are still working, have them pitch in what they can, and if you feel bad about charging them room and board, set that money aside and give it back to them as a moving gift when they are ready to move out again.

The Full House. If you are one of the many families combining households to lower expenses, then kids, get together with your parents and set a household budget for food and utilities to share. Combining your home with theirs may require the use of a storage unit, so go through all your stuff and only keep the necessities. Pairing down will help you obtain a smaller storage unit at a cheaper price or omit one altogether. Again, if you have some income to put toward rent, start a separate savings account just for future housing needs.

Role Reversal. Welcoming your kids back home may have always been a thought in the back of your mind, but what if your parents suddenly need care? Pandemic or not, this situation occurs a lot. Taking care of your parents in your home may require outside help to enable you to continue to work. Depending on the financial support available, exploring assisted living or full care facilities might be necessary. 

There are many planning questions for these situations, and it’s important to know all your options – and the costs associated with them – before making decisions. 

Michele Sarna is a certified financial planner practitioner with Beacon Pointe Advisors and can be reached at (760) 932.0930 or msarna@beaconpointe.com. 

Provided as information only and should not be considered investment, tax, or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any type of investments. Asset Allocation, portfolio diversification, and risk strategies cannot assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. Form ADV contains important information about Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC, and may be viewed at: adviserinfo.sec.gov

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