If you enjoy supporting your grandchildren financially — or if this is one of your goals — you’re not alone. Eighty-four percent of seniors say that creating a financially secure life for themselves and their family is an important goal.*

Yet, deciding how to best help your grandchildren can be a struggle, especially if you share some of the same financial concerns as your peers. For example, you may be among the 27 percent of seniors who say changes to Social Security are most likely to jeopardize your retirement plans, or the 23 percent who identify health care costs as the biggest threat.

When evaluating how much financial support to provide, consider the following:

  • Give only what you can afford. Your financial security should be your first priority. Since there is no way to know with any certainty how long you’ll live, how the market will perform or how inflation may impact your purchasing power, make sure that you gift within your means. Doing so will help ensure your generosity today doesn’t create a financial hardship for you — or your family members — down the road.
  • Give equally. To help prevent family conflict and avoid damaging relationships, give equally to your grandchildren. If you need to give more to help one of them through a rough patch, adjust your will to even things out and clearly communicate your intentions.
  • Clarify whether you’re making a loan or giving a gift. If you’re giving a gift, familiarize yourself with federal tax rules, which are based on the calendar year. For example, in 2012 you were able to give up to $13,000 before the federal gift tax is applied. Also, be sure the recipient knows it’s a gift to alleviate any uncertainty about whether they’re required to pay you back.
    If you are loaning money, be specific about the terms and repayment. Make sure you have a written document that both parties sign and date.
  • Discuss your intentions. Only 61 percent of seniors say they regularly discuss finances with their family. If you would like to support your grandchildren and save for their college or home down payment, be sure to communicate this with their parents. This can help your adult children with their own financial planning.

If you want to provide financial support to a family member, consider consulting a financial professional. He or she can help you evaluate your finances and goals and create a strategy. A realistic understanding of your financial picture can help you identify how much you can comfortably give, as well as the most tax-efficient and effective way to go about it.

For info, contact Michael W. K. Yee at (808) 952-1240

*The Money Across Generations IISM study was commissioned by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted by telephone by GfK in December 2011 among 1,006 affluent baby boomers (those with $100,000 or more in investable assets); 300 parents of baby boomers; and 300 children of baby boomers at least 18 years old. The margin of error is +/- three percentage points for the affluent boomers segment and +/- six percentage points for the parents and children of boomers segments.
Ameriprise Financial and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues. Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. Some products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions or to all clients. © 2012 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. File # 143286