Money & Career

As an older parent, I worry about our retirement savings

It's a reality that isn’t reflected in the RRSP ads I see -- instead of sailing in the Caribbean or cruising around the Mediterranean, we older parents will be cutting cheques for our kids to buy books or help with tuition fees.

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I’m 42 and my husband just turned 50 – my son is three and my daughter is 18 months so our kids are still really young. I’ll admit there’s not a day that goes by that I wish I’d had my kids earlier. Being a parent of really young kids is hard work physically. And I always wonder if it would be easier if I was, say, 24 – the age my Mum was when she had me. Which is why I loved reading this post from The Happiness Plan – it acknowledges what I (and my even older husband!) so often think about.

But there’s another component to being an older parent that my husband and I are coming to terms with – the financial reality of having kids later in life. It puts a whole different spin on retirement and how much you need to save. In my case, when I’m 62 and my husband is 70 our kids will be going to university. My husband will be retired and I’ll preparing to work a bit less hopefully. Sure, our kids can get jobs and pay for a big chunk of their own schooling but chances are we will want to help them out somehow. 
This means we’ll need even more money than our parents did in retirement since our kids will be financially needy at the time when we are hoping to work less or not at all. 
That’s a reality that isn’t reflected in the RRSP ads I see — instead of sailing in the Caribbean or cruising around the Mediterranean, we older parents will be cutting cheques for our kids to buy books or help with tuition fees. Not quite as dreamy but a reality all the same. On the other hand, I’ve heard from other older parents whose kids are now grown up that having kids later in life keeps you younger for longer – in our case, it’s certainly keeping us on our toes. 
I am really trying hard not to worry too much about the age thing – there’s nothing I can do about it but be the best Mum I can possibly be. And of course sock away as much cash as we can to pay for their education down the road…. 

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