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Navigating a Multigenerational Household | The Financial Tortoise | EP 302

Vivian with Tae

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • We are checking back in with Vivan from our Households of FI series who has been paired with mentor, Tae from Financial Tortoise, to go over strategies, best practices, and considerations for multiple generations living under one roof.
  • In many Asian cultures, adult children are responsible for taking care of and being financially responsible for aging parents while also raising their own children, often referred to as the Sandwich Generation.
  • Whether or not being financially responsible for parents is part of your culture, caring for or assisting them to make decisions as they age may be in your future.
  • Tae writes from the perspective of the Sandwich Generation on his blog, Financial Tortoise. Living with him and his wife are his two kids and both of his parents. During the last 10 years in this living arrangement, he’s paid off $105,000 in student loans and is pursuing financial independence.
  • Vivian has been fighting breast cancer while dealing with a separation and child custody battle. She also has her mom living with her, who is helping out with her child, but she finds that there are generational differences leading to misunderstandings. She has questions about what kind of disability or long-term care insurance she would be getting for them.
  • At 61, Vivian‘s mom doesn’t yet qualify for Medicare and hasn’t applied for Social Security, but she does have a small pension from working for the Los Angeles School District. Tae thinks there may be healthcare gap insurance available if her mom qualifies.
  • Her mom retired from work last year. If she applies for Social Security early at 62, she’ll earn 20-30% less. If she waits until age 70, she’ll earn 20-30% more. As long as she has paid into Social Security for at least 10 years, she is eligible. If she hasn’t been receiving paper summary statements, she can check online and see what her estimated benefits will be.
  • Tae‘s parents moved in with him right when they began collecting Social Security. They didn’t understand retirement accounts, but they did have real estate and rolled over equity into the down payment for a new home they could all live in and Tae took over the mortgage.
  • Since Vivian‘s mom lives with her, she shouldn’t have major expenses and her pension and Social Security should be enough to live one, but she would like to travel so Tae suggests looking into travel rewards.
  • As for healthcare, Vivian‘s mom retired because of health issues and is no longer able to work. She currently pays for private insurance, but at 61, there isn’t an ideal solution until age 65 when she becomes eligible for Medicare. She will need to enroll 3 months before she turns 65. Basic Medicare is covered, but if she wants things like hospital visits covered, she will pay a premium that is taken directly from Social Security if she is collecting it.
  • Tae does not have long-term care insurance for his parents because it is hard to find affordable long-term care insurance now, but skilled nursing and assisted living may be alternatives. The best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. He thinks people in the FI community have the advantage of having more time to spend figuring out a care solution when the time comes.
  • Vivian asked if Tae his FI plan included healthcare spending for his parents. He does not, but he does plan for them to age in place, which means maintaining the larger home.
  • Living through the Vietnam war has created conflicts in some areas, like hoarding food and water. Her mother helps out with cooking, child care, and food costs, but Vivian pays for everything else.
  • One of the reasons why Tae decided to try co-habiting with his parents was for help with childcare. It helped them fully commit to their careers. While there can be a huge cultural chasm when living with your parents as adults, Tae has learned empathy and takes time to try and understand where they are coming from.
  • Rather than try to control what his parents are doing with their money, Tae tries to ensure his own finances are as strong as possible. If something were to happen with his parents, if his own finances are strong, he’ll be able to figure out how to deal with it.
  • Vivian is trying to save 50% of her income as a pharmacist and her parents think she is being stingy, which runs counter to many Asian cultures where you wear your wealth.
  • She was excited when she found ChooseFI because she previously believed you needed to have your own business to become financially independent. She’s now following the advice in The Simple Path to Wealth.
  • Saving for college is another question Vivian has. Tae‘s children are 4 and 6 but he’s started 529 accounts for them since there is some flexibility with them. However, he believes the future of work could look different. He thinks about how he can help his children become productive adults rather than blindly save for college.
  • Tae thinks it’s good to start thinking about estate planning with her parents. He and his wife just did their own, setting up a trust and power of attorney which motivated his parents to do the same.
  • There is a cost for everything and there are both positives and negatives when putting families together under one roof. You have to be aware of it going in.
  • The major takeaways from Tae and Vivian‘s conversation are the need for managing the gap before Medicare kicks in, navigating Social Security, and feed estate planning.
Money Savvy Family book preview

Doug Nordman and Carol Pittner show you how to validate your childs feelings about money, talk through mistakes, and think of better ways to manage their money the next time.

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

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