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Interview: 'My Mom Has No Retirement Plan Or Savings'

The impact a Mom's lack of planning has on her daughter.

Photo of Cynthia Andrews
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Background:

I interviewed a fairly recently married friend who is also a new mom and bought a house with her husband last year. She is very financially aware and my goal was to find out how (if at all) her parents influenced her financial practices. Our conversation revealed that her mom has no retirement.

The Mom:

Not too long ago she had enough to retire on but she was manipulated into spending it by someone who took advantage of her giving nature. Her current plan is to work until she physically or mentally can't, whichever comes first. She doesn't want the responsibility to fall on her daughter or son but all three know that eventually, it will. 

The Daughter:

Her mother's situation effects her on multiple levels. She feels pressure to heavily base career decisions on how good of a financial situation they will put her later. She is angry with her mom (for allowing this to happen) but feels guilty for it because her mom is so kind and loving. She feels sorry for her mom because she won't get to retire on her own terms, which is what any child would want for their parent. 

The Effect:

She has anxiety about savings. She has traditional retirement accounts in place but her husband doesn’t really get traditional retirement and wants do things like invest in property, which she views as too risky.

The concept of having a parent live with their child isn't totally foreign to her because her grandmother lived with her and her mom growing up but her husband did not have that experience and feels a little bit more anger, making it a contention in her marriage.

The Plan: 

It's vague. They have talked about it and the likely scenario is that her mom will move in. Though my friend and her husband know it will be sooner rather than later, they don't know exactly when mom will stop being able to work. It’s stressful to think about.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How in creating financial services that support the dreams and obligations of parents we might also be supporting their children's dreams.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a Data Artist at Tableau and a student in the Integrated Digital Media program at NYU.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm currently a member of a credit union

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks for sharing! Interesting assumption about how parents' behaviors do affect children's behaviors... not necessarily in a mirror way though. Your interview shows how entangled are different actors in the system, including the husband of your friend. Great provocation for ideation: who are we designing for?