Your parents are not your emergency fund! Your children are not your retirement fund!

by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier

“I’m thinking about retiring in 11 years. I think I’ll get full Medicare and some Social Security but I don’t want to wait that long. At what age can I start receiving money from my retirement account without that penalty? I’m not banking on Social Security so I don’t pay too much attention to it. I just want to retire comfortably on my 50th birthday.”

~ Christina

Damon says:

15.3 percent!  That’s how much is deducted from your paycheck for Social Security and Medicare from the day you start working until the day you retire or die.

Both you and employer pay 6.2 percent respectively for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance commonly referred to as Social Security for a total of 12.4 percent.

Medicare takes another 1.45 percent from you and employer for a total of 2.9 percent.

That’s 15.3 percent paid into the system each pay on your behalf.  That’s more than what 90 percent of people save per pay for their own retirement. I think it’s worth paying attention to—but it’s nice if you don’t have to bank on it. Just think if that same 15.3 percent went to a personal private account on our behalf instead of Social Security. We’d ALL be wealthy!!

Medicare doesn’t kick in until age 65. Perhaps you’ll be covered under your husband’s health insurance until you reach age 65?

You can’t liquidate retirement-specific accounts like 401(k)s IRA, etc until age 59 1/2 without an early withdrawal penalty. By drawing down retirement funds in your early 50’s you run the risk of outliving your savings.  Then what?

You’d probably want to avoid tapping retirement funds that early.  You should consider setting up what is known as a bridge account —money invested outside of retirement funds to bridge the gap between age 50 and age 59 1/2 in your case. Lastly, the best retirement withdrawal plan is an interest-only retirement plan—meaning you live off the interest of your investments and never touch the principal. That way you don’t outlive your savings and you leave an inheritance to your loved ones.


Chicago newlyweds post $240 bill to no-show wedding guest. Sparks online debate: Should wedding guests have to pay if they fail to show up? The answer is yes, according to one Chicago couple.

~ FB Question

Damon says:

Wait! What? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! This is a joke right!? It’s not! I followed up on the story.

They’re both small business owners. As a small business owner myself, some things you simply chalk up as the cost of doing business.

Since they are a small business owner, one of the days they’re at their destination wedding, they should have had a meeting—discussing their business services. By doing so, they could have written off some of the expenses as business-related expenses—thus offsetting the loss from the eight no-shows! That’s how the big companies do things.

I imagine some of the no-shows thought about it, then at the last minute decided it was cheaper to just give a gift as opposed to fly to Jamaica, pay for plane tickets, lodging and other expenses, plus give a gift.

Fact is, the wedding guest could have saved face and mentioned they couldn’t attend up front. But few weddings/receptions have all 100 percent of those who RSVP show up to the wedding.

They probably would have given a gift upon the newlyweds’ return, but after generating an invoice, if they’ve recently showed a pattern of dodging a promise, they’re likely to dodge giving them a gift and paying the invoice. What’s the recourse for not paying ? Ding on their credit report!? Not!!

Here’s an idea: Plan a wedding based on your wedding budget—not potential gifts and the need for everyone to pay X amount for their plate.  Then no-shows wouldn’t be on your to-invoice list.


Your parents are not your EMERGENCY FUND! Your children are not your RETIREMENT FUND! Build your own WEALTH.

~ Facebook Post

Damon says:

Financially speaking, the best thing an adult child can do for their parents—and the best thing that parents can do for their adult children—is NOT be a burden on them financially!

I read a report years back that revealed 96 percent of Americans age 65 and over retire or die broke.

One of the main reasons for this unfortunate dilemma was parents prioritizing paying for children’s college over saving for their retirement and parents continuing to provide for adult children.

I recall working with a client who was in her early 60’s.  I had worked with her in the past—set her up on a plan. Years later she ran into a dilemma.  Money was tight. She was struggling to make ends meet. As I backed into her numbers, I observed she had a property in Florida.  She lived in Ohio.

The payment on this property was $1,700 per month. Almost one whole paycheck.  I asked if  there was rental income.  She said no. Her two adult children have been living in the property for a couple of years with their kids and significant others. None of them had a job. She pays for the mortgage and all utilities.

I looked at her as she was tearing up. I said, I think I’ve solved your problem. You cannot afford to take care of your household and theirs. You’re struggling to make ends meet while they’re living their best life in sunny Florida. I advised her to sell the house immediately!

Then there’s the flip side. You have adult children who have to help provide financially for their parents because the parent prioritized providing for junior and neglecting saving for retirement creating what is called the sandwich generation. You’re taking care of your household and assisting with your parents’ household—neglecting yourself!  Sounds like fun. You bust your butt to provide for everyone but you.

You helping others hinders your ability to help yourself. No money saved for your future. Fast forward to years later.  Now you too are in that 96 percent of Americans age 65 and older retiring or dying broke!!

Your parents are not your emergency fund! Your children are not your retirement fund!

(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached at 412-216-1013 or visit his website at



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