The Cost of Being a Grandparent

Grandparents can help their Millennial children with the grandkids both financially and with their time.For many Millennials, having a baby is the next big life step, however we are waiting longer to have kids then prior generations.  Why? One reason is because we want to be more financially secure. We are doing more planning in advance and understand that we have existing financial challenges to manage.  Raising children is expensive, but you might have a secret weapon: your parents.  Grandma and grandpa will probably want to be involved in your child’s life and may offer to help in whatever way they can.  That help from grandparents can go a long way.  Millennial parents should identify what areas they need help in and grandparents can identify how they are willing to help. An open conversation about what areas you may need help in is a great way to start.  Here are some ways for grandparents to prepare for the transition and ways they can be part of the grandchild’s life.

How to Prepare to be a Grandparent

As a grandparent, there are many ways to help your kids and grandkids be it with time or money.  But, you want to make sure you have your financial plan in order first.  When thinking about how you want to help, consider the effect on your ability to meet your own goals.  Many grandparents make compromises such as postponing their own retirement or giving up free time.  If you are willing to make the compromises, make sure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk.  Do you want to spoil your grandchild rotten at the expense of running out of money at 80? There are so many ways to help your grandchild without hurting your own financial goals. Be sure to explore them.

How Grandparents Can Help

Let’s divide the ways a grandparent can help into two categories: time and money.

Time is something that grandparents are more likely to have especially if they are retired.  Millennials on the other hand, may be spending more hours at work and there for need help with childcare.  Grandparents can help by providing regular primary child care, babysitting and even transportation to after-school activities.  They also may assist with household tasks such as meal prep, cleaning and errands. The cost savings to the parents can add up quickly with family willing to help.   To many Millennials, that means a lot given that many of us face challenges such as student loan debt and stagnant wages.

Grandparents may also want to help monetarily support their grandkids.  Here are some ways a grandparent can help if they have extra funds:

  • 529 College Savings (contributions may be tax deductible)
  • Medical Cost (direct payments to the medical provider may be from gift taxes)
  • Clothing, toys and gifts
  • School expenses
  • Vacations
  • Meals Out and Entertainment

These are just a few of the ways to help provide for a grandchild monetarily. And things like family vacations and entertainment can be shared experiences and time together that can bring a family closer. Grandparents, we know you love your grandkids and Millennials, make sure to thank your parents for anything they can do to help!

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