A new Wells Fargo/Gallup survey finds that 53% of U.S. investors are spending time or money or both helping adult children or extended family members, which affects their own financial well-being including their ability to save for retirement.
More specifically, 45% of the almost 2,100 investors polled — with a minimum $10,000 invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds — said they contributed on average $10,000 in financial assistance to an adult child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandchild or other relative over the past year. That’s twice the $5,000 that a previous Wells Fargo/Gallup survey found investors could not handle. (They were not asked that question in the latest survey.)
“It is extraordinarily generous for investors to step in and help adult family members with this level of support, but there is risk if they are not doing so from a position of strength,” said Mary Sumners, regional president of Wells Fargo Advisors’ Northern Region, in a statement.
The most common expense paid by investors was living expenses for an adult child, incurred by 30% of respondents, followed by living expenses for a parent or in-law (13%), medical expenses for an adult child (9%), caregiver expenses (7%) and medical expenses (6%) for a parent or in-law. An additional 29% of investors reported they had paid tuition for college or other type of school, but that figure was not included in the financial support stats of the latest survey.
Investors providing personal assistance or care to family members spent an average 13 hours per week doing so. Women were almost twice as likely as men to be caregivers (14% versus 8%) and even more likely to be sole caregiver (40% versus 13%), according to the survey.
Both men and women reported that caring for relatives has had a negative effect on their emotional health and time for themselves, their family and friends and jobs. Not surprisingly, a higher percentage of women than men reported these negative effects, since they also reported spending more time on caregiving.