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Grandparents "filling in the gaps" for finances for grandchildren

The economic downturn took a toll on most households across the country, but boomers were able to weather it better than some younger generations. Consequently, many are finding themselves providing financial assistance to loved ones, especially grandchildren. 

Research from the Metlife Mature Market Institute reveals that, for the past five years, grandparents have been giving the equivalent of $370 billion in support to their grandchildren. That means that the average expense for each household of grandparents is around $8,661.

"Grandparents are filling the gaps," Amy Goyer, an expert with the AARP, told The Minneapolis Star Tribune. "They're paying for the school trips, the sports, the costs of extracurricular activities."

They're also helping fund the bigger expenditures of adult children, assisting with homes or college tuition costs at a time when they're trying to juggle their own retirement expenses.

"Grandparents need to think about their own retirement before giving away too much money to their adult children and grandchildren, because it will come back to bite the family eventually," the director of the Metlife Mature Market Institute, Sandra Timmerman, explained to the publication.

This may mean that retirees are looking to cut other costs. Financial planner Larry Rosenthal suggested to U.S. News & World Report that one effective way to tighten the belt is to sell your old home and downsize.

There are affordable housing solutions in many Del Webb retirement communities, such as those found in Del Webb Orlando in Davenport, Florida. There, you can enjoy a residence in a neighborhood of active adults that includes all of the best in leisure activities and amenities. Homeowners can take part in clubs and classes in a 30,800 square foot social center, or choose to enjoy pools, spas or a fitness center. Best of all, if you're entertaining grandkids for a few days, there are plenty of places to take them - from Disney World to Universal Studios.  

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