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Grandparents who are retiring early may see unintended effects

Delaware residents may be interested in a study that looks at one phenomenon leading many to retire earlier than planned. This early retirement may be having unintended consequences, however. The Pew Research Center study revealed some surprising statistics about the number of women who are working after they become grandparents. According to the researchers, women who are age 58 to 61 are nearly 30 percent less likely to be working when they have grandchildren than when they don't. Those grandparents who are aged 51 to 54 are 21 percent less likely to be working than their grandchild-less counterparts.

New grandchildren, the study says, are pushing grandparents to stop working and help out with child care. Just in 2008, the number of grandparents who were caring for their grandchildren rose by 5 percent, likely due to the financial crisis that was taking place that year. Many who were set to retire saw their retirement savings plummet.

The study concludes that these grandparents are retiring earlier because their children need the child care assistance. However, this early retirement may be coming at a cost. Because women generally live longer than men while making less money over their lifetimes, they need to work until their late 60s to fully save for retirement and get their full Social Security benefits. With more grandmothers retiring early, it can be difficult for them to save enough to pay for that retirement in the time that they did work.

There are numerous estate planning issues that coincide with elder law. An attorney with experience in both may be able to help those who are retiring soon to understand the effect that early retirement can have on estate planning. The attorney may also be helpful in drafting or updating the necessary documents to create a comprehensive, up-to-date estate plan.

Source: Crain's Wealth, "Surprising factor in women's retirement decision: grandchildren", Bloomberg News, Jan. 7, 2015

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