First Person

Why you should prioritize retirement savings over helping adult children

If you’re a parent, you know you’ve had to make many difficult decisions. One of the hardest ones often comes as retirement nears. Sometimes, you’ll be faced with offering financial support to your adult children or saving for retirement. Here’s why you should prioritize the latter.


Social Security is not going to be enough to fund your retirement. As USA Today reports, Social Security typically replaces less than half of your pre-retirement savings. In 2022, the average benefit was $19,884 per year. That’s not enough to live comfortably, which means you need to prioritize savings, because you’re going to need it. If you focus on helping your adult kids with their finances instead, you’ll likely end up coming up short in retirement.


If you want, you could work during retirement. That would certainly help with retirement income levels and allow you to give more toward your adult children. However, working during retirement could hurt your Social Security benefit. Before you reach Full Retirement Age (FRA), Social Security has an income cap. If you earn too much, your benefit gets reduced. Additionally, keep in mind that wanting to work doesn’t equal being able to work. You have to find a job and be healthy enough to do it.


While your options to fund your retirement are limited, your adult children have many avenues for finding help. If they need assistance with paying for college, there are loans and grants. They have time on their side to find ways out of their situation, and as you near retirement, you don’t. Start by saving plenty for your golden years; after that you can help your adult children.

Chris O'Shea