Brad and Arita Bohannan, 44 and 42 years old, want to retire by the time Ms. Bohannan is 50. Their retirement plan: Sell the businesses and live off the proceeds and income from their real-estate holdings. Their commercial real estate is collectively worth about $3.4 million, but has mortgages totaling about $1 million. They pay $1,100 per month for health insurance through a plan from one of their bars. The couple are using the proceeds, along with all of the income from their commercial properties, to pay down their commercial mortgages. The couple also has two 529 college-savings accounts, each holding about $45,000. They contribute $3,000 a year to the 529 accounts. If they pay off their mortgages before they retire and the 529 accounts cover what is left of tuition (the couple will likely pay for most of college out of pocket before retiring), they should expect to spend about $100,000 a year. Right now, plans on Louisiana’s health-care exchange range from $15,000 to $21,000 annually, per couple, and $17,000 to $35,000 if the two children are included, Mr. Clemons says. Still, the $250,000 of annual income from the commercial real estate alone should easily cover living expenses, assuming the mortgages are paid off, though some maintenance costs should be expected.
Editors’ note: We are exploring the idea of adulthood. See the first part of our series here.
Gary Thornton’s mother no longer recognizes him. She thinks he’s a cousin, and he doesn’t correct her.
His mother, Colleena, has Alzheimer’s and needs constant care at their home in Des Moines, Iowa. “This year she just really took a turn for the worse,” he said. “She no longer knows this is her house, and if she’s here by herself she gets scared. I can’t leave her alone here anymore.”
Thornton is 59. When MarketWatch asked when readers began feeling like adults, he said taking care of his mother has forced him to grow up more than ever. When his mother’s health began deteriorating, he realized there was no one else who could take over.
Experts have said besides financial costs, taking care of parents has many emotional ones, including feelings of guilt during any times spent away from those parents and potential conflict with other family members who disagree about the parent’s care.
Explaining why taking care of his mother made him feel more like an adult than ever, he said, “That parent and child relationship, I used to have that with her, and that’s gone. I just realize it’s me now, and nobody else basically, and I have to make all the decisions.”
Thornton was working in a sales support role at the Dallas Morning News at the time, and took a buyout in 2008 to move back to Iowa, where his mother lives. He now works part-time at a gym, while his mother’s part-time caregiver watches her at night.
He is divorced and has a 28-year-old daughter as well, who is in graduate school.
Thornton is not alone. As the baby boomer generation ages, their Generation-X children will increasingly have to make similar accommodations. Some 25% of children over 50 are now providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent, a number that’s more than tripled over the past 15 years, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
For a 65-year-old couple, there is a 35.7% chance that one of them…