Mom Admits Her Daughter Is Her Retirement Plan — ‘We Had Kids So They Could Take Care Of Us When We’re Older’

She has unrealistic and emotionally charged expectations.

older woman sitting on couch fizkes / Shutterstock

A young woman named Jo offered personal insight into an emotional challenge many adult children face as their parents get older.

Jo said that her mom expects to be supported financially as she ages, despite their tenuous family dynamics.

The mom admitted her adult daughter is her retirement plan, saying that her generation had kids ‘so they could take care of us when we’re older.’

Jo’s mom revealed her so-called retirement plan during “A random phone call we were having. She was talking about how she’s always dreamt of her children taking care of her.”


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As her mom explained, “My generation, we had children so that they could take care of us when we’re older.”

“Things are so expensive, and we sacrificed everything for our kids,” her mom continued. “So, you know, when we get older, we just figured that the kids that we had would essentially pay for us when we’re retired.”

The cost of living is wildly high at this current moment, yet expecting an adult child to fully financially support their aging parents while establishing their own life is out-of-touch from anyone's economic reality. 

older woman holding flowers sirtravelalot / Shutterstock


It also creates major undue pressure for kids to act as caregivers without any compensation.

Jo directly confronted her mom, saying, “So, I’m the retirement plan?” to which her mom replied, “Yeah, more or less.”

The mindset that kids should be their parents’ retirement plan is problematic in emotional and practical terms.

The 28-year-old had a firm response to the news that she’s her mom’s retirement plan, saying, “Unfortunately, you didn’t really set me up very well to be your retirement plan.”

“At 17 years old, you convinced me to take out these astronomical student loans — I don’t know if you’ll remember that, Mom, but, yeah — Not really fit to be the retirement plan,” Jo said, throwing up a peace sign and smiling.


Looking past her lighthearted tone, Jo’s comment brings up an important question in this conversation: Is it okay for parents to expect their adult kids to support them, when those adult kids are living hand-to-mouth themselves?

“I get it,” Jo said. “I think in some situations it’s really nice when kids can take care of their parents, when they’re financially fit to, but I also don’t think you should put that burden on your kids when they can’t afford it or they’re trying to start their life out themselves.”

According to Northwestern Mutual, 11,000 Americans will turn 65 every day through 2027, but only half of boomers and Gen X'ers think they’re financially ready for retirement.

@yourtango A man is worried that he is his boomer mother's retirement plan because she refuses to get a job #worktok #boomer #reddit #retirement #economy #savings ♬ original sound - YourTango

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The financial planning company published a study that found that people nearing retirement believe they need savings of $1.46 million to retire comfortably.

Yet the average amount that Americans have saved up for retirement in 2024 is $88,400, dropping down from $89,300 in 2023.

The unstable economy we live under drags everyone through the muck of uncertainty, yet the answer isn’t to outsource retirement to younger generations who are trying to figure out how to support themselves.

Jo also touched on how circumstantial these situations are, noting, “If we were in a different situation, if we were 10 years old, it would be a lot different, but we’re only 28, and it’s a lot to put on a child. The fact that I’m trying to start my life and then, like, I have to fund my mom’s life?”


“That’s a huge burden to carry, and I never wanna put that on my children,” Jo said, bringing the conversation around to themes of healing generational trauma by choosing different avenues for parenting than her own parents took.

Jo acknowledged that she doesn’t feel emotionally close to her mom, which makes her hesitant to offer unlimited financial support.

“I think it would be different if our relationship was a lot different,” she said. “If we were really, really close, I don’t think I would mind if my mom moved to Florida… I think it would be fun to have her around when I had children, but our relationship just isn’t like that.”


mom and daughter hugging - Yuri A. / Shutterstock

Because of that distance, Jo explained, “It’s not like I’m jumping up and down to fund her.”

“She hasn’t treated me the way that I wanted her to or the way that she should have treated me as a parent,” she said decisively, making another very valid point.


Parents are required to provide for their kids as it was their decision to bring them into the world, yet having that same care extended to them later in life isn’t an absolute guarantee.

To access that kind of reciprocity, parents need to have healthy boundaries and meet their children’s emotional needs.

Economic support from kids to their parents isn’t an automatic given. It’s an act of generosity, a decision based on mutual love, respect, and communication. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.