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Amid a continued rough economy, baby boomers are sacrificing their own financial security to care for their aging parents and adult children, according to a new study.
A report by Ameriprise Financial revealed that less than a quarter of baby boomers are putting away money for the future, down from 44 percent in 2007.
The study shows boomers continue to prioritize their families' needs over their own, despite increased uncertainty about their own financial security. Nearly 60 percent of boomers are assisting their aging parents in some way, including helping them purchase groceries and pay medical and utility bills.
In addition, more than 90 percent have provided some kind of support to their adult children, such as helping pay for college tuition and loans, car payments or basic expenses like rent and utilities.
More than a third of those surveyed believe the care they are offering their children is hampering their opportunities to save for retirement. And Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial, confirmed that many boomers may fall short of their own goals by diverting such funds from their retirement savings.
Despite the potential consequences, more than 85 percent of baby boomers would still support their adult children financially if they had to, and 20 percent feel guilty about being unable to give their children more assistance.
"Unfortunately, unconditional financial support can threaten or even sabotage retirement goals and security," de Baca said. "It’s important to have open conversations with your family about your current financial situation and evaluate your ability to meet your own goals before offering any kind of support."
The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 affluent baby boomers, 300 parents of baby boomers and 300 children of baby boomers at least 18 years old.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.