Childfree – Do You Worry Who Will Take Care of You When You Get Old?

The economic meltdown of the past couple of years has turned so called conventional wisdom on it’s head. From being independent children who had supposedly “left the nest” are returning to their parents home or, in some cases never leaving. With housing getting steadily out of the reach of most ordinary folk the trend looks set to continue. “Retirement” assuming you were thinking of it, has become a distant dream for many. (I’ve no intention of retiring)

For the childfree the question “so who will look after you when you get old?” is never far away. It’s usually on the end of a “bingo” from childed people. Reason being that having children is still seen as a kind of insurance policy… and what with long term care costing stratospheric amounts of cash many who have children either expect or secretly hope their kids will take care of them when they can’t take care of themselves. Even if they don’t admit it, the hope is there. If it wasn’t I doubt it would be a bingo.

Of course we know that this can often be a misplaced expectation. Stories abound of parents, left to a lonely existence in homes or even in their own homes with never a visit from their kids or the grandkids. They don’t even get a phone call, let alone a visit from their children. I think it must be tough to have given so much of your life to rearing kids only to be abandoned in your old age. Or the children may live thousands of miles away… or have other problems. In some cultures this is less of a “problem” as children are traditionally expected to look after the parents – the parents often move in with them. I have a colleague who’s built a special house with a “granny flat” attached to it.

The childfree are likely to face an interesting situation…. having to  potentially care for own parents while having to sort out who’s going to be looking after us. Or how to put enough funds aside to ensure one remains independent.

For the latter I believe a lot needs to change. For example the childfree should have more incentives to save for their later years instead of seeing the bulk of their taxes going to support child related services. More tax breaks fro the childfree would be a good start. Either way it will be up to the childfree to have a plan of action. What should that plan look like?

What do you answer when people ask the “what will you do when…?” question. What issues can you see looming? Or are there no issues at all? What else needs to change and what support do the childfree need?  What else can you add to this article?

Share your thoughts.