You spend most of your adult life planning for retirement. You might also spend a lot of time thinking about having grandkids one day. But what you might not predict is a phone call asking whether you’d be interested in a new job: being a childcare provider for the newest family member.
Men and women who are nearing retirement age fit into another demographic, too. They’re also the age of grandparents. But what happens if you’re not retired but are asked to, or if you are retired and asked to go back to work? Taking on the role of a childcare provider in retirement might be more complicated than you think.
One of the biggest risks of taking on the role of childcare provider in your retirement is that your kids’ plans might change. Maybe there will be a job transfer. Or maybe mom or dad will decide that being a stay-at-home parent is a much better idea than working.
If you’re already retired, switching gears (and then switching back again) probably won’t be traumatic. But if you retired earlier than you had planned in order to care for your grandchild, being left without that responsibility might make you question your choices.
The impact of the flip-flopping of your decision is compounded the further you are from full retirement age. If you hold off before collecting Social Security–and can continue to do so until full retirement age–you’ll be a lot better off financially than if you take early retirement. In the latter situation, you’d be left without a child to care for and without the ability to ever draw your maximum benefits.
Before a baby is born, it’s easy to think about how beneficial it would be to care for your grandchild. Mom and Dad can go back to work, and avoid paying for daycare. But is the amount that they save worth what you’ll give up with early retirement?
If you’re not eligible for Medicare, your medical costs alone could outweigh the daycare savings. If you are in your peak earning years when you retire, how much more might you save if you keep working?
The benefits of caring for a grandchild might need some tempering with financial realism. Some grandparents stand to lose not just a little, but substantially more than the child’s parents would save, by their decision to retire early and become a full-time caregiver.
There’s nothing as sweet as a grandchild, and there’s no denying the value of strong family ties. If you consider this from every angle and can afford it, there’s no reason not to retire early and spend that time bonding with the new family member. Just remember that retiring early requires sacrifices (and more than just diaper changes and the inability to nap in the afternoon).
Go into grandparenting with a healthy dose of realism, and you’ll be more likely to succeed without regrets.
New Retirement can help you not just assess your retirement plans, but also reassess if a life-changing event comes around. If you’re wondering whether your nest egg can last if you decide to retire early, check out our retirement calculator. In a matter of minutes, you’ll see where you are now and where you might be a year or two down the road.