Grandparents giving more financial help to children, grandchildren

  • Article by: KARA McGUIRE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 26, 2011 - 8:22 AM

But can they afford it? An increasing number of both baby boomers nearing retirement and current retirees find themselves in precarious financial situations.

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minncynicMay. 22, 11 8:54 AM

I'm a grandparent who cares for my grandson during my daughter's work hours. Yes, it's work, but there are many benefits also. My relationship with my grandson is very close. I have met many new people at his nursery school and at other activities. We do a lot of fun things, like our weekly trips to the zoo in the summer, that I wouldn't do without him. Grandparents know that grandchildren don't just take -- they enrich your life and give it meaning.

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ebenezerMay. 22, 11 9:11 AM

Let's take a sobering look at the economic futures of these kids: For every job opening today, there are between 4 and five applicants looking for full time work; 4 out of 5 college grads do not have a job upon graduating; more than half the working families in this country have combined incomes of less than around $51K per year; 97% of working families in this nation have combined incomes of $154K or less; the cost of a live-on-campus education at the U of M can easily exceed $20K per year...private colleges average around $30-35K per year with many reaching $47K or more for tuition and board alone; the real income of the average college graduate has dropped around 7-8% in the last few years, while the cost of their college education has soared by double digits. The secretary of labor said it himself recently, there are the equivalent of probably 29 million people in this country looking for full time jobs right now. The cost of health care has soared; benefits and retirement plans provided by employers are dropping in what they provide, if anything at all anymore. Our financial systems, rather than help their customers succeed, have looked at them as an ever growing source of revenue...from outrageous "wealth" management fees to taking 25-30% of their spendable income in credit card interest and fees, all the while paying decreasing earnings to their customers for those investments while bank costs for borrowing money are near zero. Sure, a few of those kids and grandkids will do OK, but most are headed for real financial challenge as their standard of living drops in lock-step with the growing standards of living in underdeveloped, low-wage, low production cost countries our businesses shift their work to. All this goes on with the apparent blessing and support of too many of our elected officials. How else do these financial planners, many of them young kids right out of school (with no experience to be "advising" anyone) working in "boiler room" atmospheres pressured to sell, sell, and sell to make more money for their employers at the expense of their clients, how else do these advisors think modern families are going to survive without help from somewhere? What amazes me is that the average American continues to put up with this distressing set of circumstances.

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swmnguyMay. 22, 1111:24 AM

The corporate finance capital system has reached its bubble stage and is collapsing. This system doesn't work for its participants. Only those at the very top come out ahead. The amount of interest payments and service charges is outweighing the value of goods and services exchanged. Families have been spread out, broken up and separated. Destroying the family structure has been very profitable over the past century but has gone against how humans have operated for millenia. Not going to last. That people can't afford education or health care simply won't continue. This system is broken. In the waning moments of collapse is when those who cling to an obsolete way of life do the most damage to the rest of us, but the end is inevitable and getting nearer all the time. This isn't a bad thing; it's a good thing. The uncertainty of change is unnerving, but having a system that works for us will be a huge benefit in the long run.

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pitythefoolsMay. 22, 1111:56 AM

The real problem with this story is that this fellow retired at age 56. Doesn't he realize that Paul Ryan says he should work until he's 70?

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reinanMay. 22, 11 6:51 PM

Yes, I don't see how the vast majority of Americans will make it in the decades to come. Wages adjusted for inflation have been in decline since 1970. Pensions are disappearing. Health care costs spiral endlessly. I read a financial advice column recently (not Kara's!) in which the author advised people to save $300,000 to cover uninsured health care costs in retirement and another $300,000 to cover nursing home costs. That's per person, meaning a married couple is advised to save $1.2 million for these items. Why would anyone even bother giving that advice when the average American doesn't even have $100,000 saved for retirement? And now there's a push to cut Social Security and Medicare. Good luck with that, America.

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edinasnobMay. 26, 11 7:49 PM

I'd feel like a huge loser if I depended on grandparents to take care of our children.

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george13Jun. 9, 1111:52 AM

" Doesn't he realize that Paul Ryan says he should work until he's 70?" That's probably not a bad idea if your health is still good at that age. However, NOBODY should be retiring in their fifties, certainly not voluntarily.

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