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Mid-life adults today face financial strain and are struggling to provide for their own retirements as they attempt to meet the needs of both ageing parents and adult children.

If you are over 45 there’s a good chance you’ve helped an elderly family member enjoy their retirement.

In 2019 surveys indicate more than 37 per cent of adults between the ages of 45 and 65 financially support their parents. Families should have an open conversation about retirement and the financials and the possibility of some form of dementia well before these become a reality

Population – Elderly persons (60 years and older)
South Africa (Stats SA) estimates the mid-year population 2020 at 59,62-million in South Africa. Around 51,1 per cent (approximately 30,5-million) of the population is female, while 5,43-million people are aged 60 and over.

In South Africa, population estimates indicate that the proportion of elderly persons (60 years and older) has grown from 7,6 per cent in 2002 to 9,1 per cent in 2020.

According to South Africa’s census, there are approximately 3.2-million people in South Africa with some form of dementia.

Meeting the needs of older parents is not the only financial burden that mid-life adults are shouldering. Compounding this, half of mid-life adults are still providing money to their adult children age 25 or older (51 per cent) for basic expenses. About a quarter of mid-life adults say their parents or adult children rely on the money they provide to a great extent.

In comparison with financial support for adult children, support for parents is more likely to help cover medical expenses. Financial help for adult children, on the other hand, is more likely to be used for paying transportation costs. Other common cost areas being covered both for older parents and adult children include rent, groceries and personal items, utility costs and phone, internet and television bills.

This reality creates an enormous financial strain on mid-life adults.  They are having difficulty in managing their own family finances and, in particular, pressure is placed on their ability to provide for their own retirement savings during what is typically a crucial time for building personal wealth.