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There comes a time in life when you must shut down the bank of mom and dad and force your grown children to find their own financial footing, according to money maven Suze Orman.
If you’re a Gen Xer or baby boomer rolling towards retirement, now’s the time to prioritize you, Orman told Moneywise in a May 16 interview, so you can more easily live out your golden years in comfort.
It’s not down to you to cover your adult kids’ bills — and yet nearly 50% of American parents do, according to a new study by Savings.com.
Not only are almost half of U.S. parents forking out money, but the average financial support for household necessities like groceries, cellphones and rent or mortgage payments is more than $1,400 per month.
Orman encourages aging parents to get a clear message across to their kids:
“I am no longer your bank account! I’m getting to the point where I need my money to be able to support myself. You are old enough now to go out and figure it out. So don’t come to me for money.”
And that isn’t Orman’s only tip that can help you get on solid financial ground before you retire.
Don’t neglect your retirement accounts
Having that undoubtedly tricky conversation with your kids could save you a lot of stress, but it isn’t the only way to ensure a relaxing retirement.
Orman believes “the key ingredient to any financial freedom recipe is compounding.”
If you start early and you invest your savings through tax-friendly vehicles like a 401(k), a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), or a Roth IRA you can grow a big pile of cash for retirement.
However, the realities of retirement planning have grown more complicated as Americans navigate inflation, financial crises, fears of bank failures and other challenges.
When you’re in the final stretch of your career and retirement is just a few years away, you have to make a few big financial decisions, according to Orman.
“The more expenses you have, the more debt you have, the more income you need when you finally retire,” she explains. “How do you get that income? By having a lot of money in your retirement accounts or investment accounts.”
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Take a hard look at your expenses
Many people have difficulty saving for their retirement because their cost of living is too high and they don’t have much left over after paying bills.
That’s when you should tell your kids: “We are no longer your bank account,” Orman stresses. “That is what the line should be if you don’t have enough money.”
“Obviously, if you have more than enough money, you should still tell your kids that so they understand the responsibility and what it takes to make money,” she adds.
If your children have flown the nest and you no longer need your large family home, Orman says you should “downsize now.”
Watch now: Full interview: Suze Orman and Devin Miller of SecureSave delve into why so many Americans aren’t prepared for their next financial emergency
If you can downsize in the years before you stop working, this will reduce the mortgage and maintenance payments that eat up so much of the family budget, and allow you to put more of your income towards your retirement.
“If you know you’re going to stay in your home for the rest of your life — if you’re lucky enough to own a home today — then make it your number one priority to have the mortgage paid off by the time you retire,” says Orman.
And that’s not the only cost you should have under control. Lifestyle choices like regularly buying a new car when your lease is up can be an unnecessary drain on your finances.
“Stop buying a car every three years, when you could just take care of your car and let it go 10 years, 12 years or longer,” says the money maven.
You should also look for other small ways to save money such as paying for multiple streaming and cable services, premium mobile phone plans, and eating at restaurants or ordering in several times a week.
“Cut your expenses now,” she adds.
“Stop spending money you don’t have to impress people you don’t even know or like.”
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.