How to Plan When You Are Your Parents’ Retirement Plan

Picture of a Latino family

Many 2nd generation Latinos are often put in the position to have to not only provide for themselves, but for aging parents as well. Generations of white people have had unfettered access to education, real estate acquisition, and other wealth building opportunities, while Latino (and Black and other non-white people) families haven’t had the same access. This has resulted in Latino children having to go beyond just caring for their aging parents, but to also be their parents’ financial retirement plan.

With the Latina wage gap increasing in 2022, the future seems even bleaker than before. Meanwhile, the dutiful daughter complex lives on strongly in the Latina community making the responsibility of providing a good quality life for parents even more anxiety-ridden.

But there is a way to manage it. Unless our elected officials make meaningful changes to address the horrific wealth gap, the overall landscape won’t improve anytime soon, however, we can be proactive about how we move forward with taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

Get an idea of your parent's finances.

Finances in many Latino households aren’t a popular discussion. While many 2nd generation Latinos end up understanding the value of money simply because of different socioeconomic situations they encounter, the conversations end there. It’s not enough to just know where your parents land on the income scale, you have to know their whole portfolio or lack thereof.

Do they have any savings at all? How much, if anything, do they expect in private retirement or social security payments? Do they own a home and if so, what’s owed on it? It’s important to sit down with your parents and have an honest conversation about their lifestyle and what they expect to maintain after they are too old to keep working. And most importantly, how much you can contribute to help.

Manage each other expectations.

Along with the difficult conversation about how much money they have and what they can depend on, it's important to manage each other's expectations for what is expected of you. This includes the caretaking, expenses, and how they will contribute. If you even need to go so far as to have it in writing, do that. This includes any end-of-life documents such as medical power of attorneys, a will, and any life insurance they may have.

Clear boundaries will help relieve the stress of having to figure it out on the fly when someone all of a sudden can’t work or if a parent should unexpectedly pass. No one wants to depend on a go fund me, so don’t.

Don't expect your parents to remain in perfect health.

While many start retirement planning before any illnesses come to mind, it’s important to note that with aging parents come higher healthcare costs. Budgeting for potential illnesses or shopping around for insurance that might enable better care pre-retirement is vital to ensuring that retirement-age expenses will be accounted for. When budgeting for retirement, many people do so without healthcare costs in mind, so be prepared for the unexpected and potentially the worst outcome will ensure everyone is equipped to deal with the situation.

As previously mentioned, life insurance is relatively inexpensive especially when the policy is purchased earlier in life. Many people mistakingly believe that all insurance is unaffordable and this simply isn’t true. What’s unaffordable is having to fork over $10,000.00 or more for a proper funeral and worse, having to ask friends, family, and strangers to help thru a go fund me. Save yourself a lot of stress, anxiety, and time and prepare in advance for the inevitable.

Savings accounts save lives.

Opening up a Roth IRA is a great option for those working for employers that may not have retirement accounts available. Gains to contributions tend to be higher the earlier you begin putting money towards a Roth. Still, it's never too late to open an account and utilize it for savings - for those earning less than six figures; it also helps with taxable income, which helps present-day you as well. Making sure your parents understand the benefits of retirement accounts and the gains made from contributions can make a huge difference in the money they will have come retirement time.

Lifestyle changes might need to be made now to make it easier later.

Some of us know the importance of investing into retirement younger, so it's less of a catch-up once you are older. This means that adjusting current spending habits might need to happen to direct that money to more useful paths like a retirement savings account to offset the amount needing to be saved later. This includes getting rid of exorbitant car payments or money pits that could currently be presenting obstacles to proper retirement savings.

Create living wills.

Estate planning doesn't seem necessary if you don't have assets, but it is important to encourage your parents to create wills for the division of assets after their deaths. This prevents potentially costly arguments with the state over dividing what it is they left behind and can prevent family infighting during those sad times as well.

Insurance policies can go a long way.

Some employers have free life insurance policies, while others can be quite costly. Those life insurance policies can prove to be quite helpful to cover the costs of anything from funeral expenses to cover any outstanding debt you might have. Various types of insurance provide a solution should any financial obligations a person had when they were alive need to be met, so encouraging your parents to invest in policies as early as possible is a viable solution should they not have much saved in retirement accounts.

Some policies, like whole life policies, will accumulate worth and actually provide payments before death. There are many different types of insurance products that can work with your parent’s budget that will help them and you during difficult times.

We know that things get complicated as our parents age, and our own financial situations can change a lot with aging family members. It is important to keep in mind how we can all adjust to make being your parent's retirement account less stressful and more beneficial to all.

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Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

Video by theluncheonlawyer on InstagramVideo by theluncheonlawyer on Instagram

Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.