There have been a lot of factors that have contributed to significantly reduced retirement funds for millions of baby boomers across the country over the last few years. It seems that one factor that has been particularly problematic is the cost of paying for a child's college.
As part of a study about how Americans pay for college in general, it was found that many parents with children under the age of 18 feel somewhat obliged to help their kids pay for college, and many may do so to the detriment of their own future financial security. In general, those polled said that they expect their own income or savings to cover about 32% of their kids' college funds, with grants and scholarships expected to cover roughly the same amount, but student loan borrowing is believed to account for half that amount.
On average, families say they have a goal of saving $38,953 to cover these costs, meaning that nearly $12,500 of that will have to come from retirement savings, statistically. However, it should be noted that just 70% of those who plan to save believe they will actually reach their goals by the time their kids reach college age. Overall, only 50% of people are saving for their kids' college at all. The other half mostly say that a lack of funds, reliance on scholarships, other financial priorities and procrastination are reasons for their not doing so.
Moreover, when it comes to using savings options to cover these costs, 17% said they would use money from their retirement plans to help fund a child's education. And while that was the smallest proportion, lagging behind general savings and CDs (42%), 529 plans and checking (2% each), and investments (23%), that's still a sizable percentage who are hurting their own financial stability in their post-career lives to cover costs that their kids will have decades to deal with on their own.
Boomers should be doing all they can to adequately prepare for their retirement by saving as much as possible and perhaps even pushing back the date by which they stop working. Experts recommend having about 75 or 80% of one's final pre-retirement income available to them annually once they pull out of the workforce.