I had an epiphany
My mother lives with me, and I am her sole caregiver. Mom has some real issues, especially mobility related, but all of her recent lab work reads stable, and a recent chest X-ray reads clear. Which isn’t stopping her from trying to convince everyone that her kidneys are failing and she should be on oxygen (one of her sisters, after multiple bouts of pneumonia, now has an oxygen line in the house). I have a sister but she lives several states away so it’s just me dealing with this (sister does call and talk to Mom regularly, she’s just not physically present). For years I’ve heard people talk about the importance of having children to take care of you in your old age, but nobody mentions the toll this takes on the caregiver. It’s a mental, emotional, and financial toll. I have no children and people used to think that was so sad. But I have socked away a retirement account so I will be okay. In fact, I should be better then, when various things start paying out, than I am now. And after recent events with my mom I am glad I have no kids. Extended family won’t have the burden of putting up with crazy auntie should I ever get like my mom. My will and POA’s, the financial planning I have set up, all will work to prevent me from becoming a burden. I hope, of course, that they will care enough to be a part of my life, but it will be because they want to, not because there isn’t anyone else to take me in. Our relationship won’t be based on feelings of obligation. So I’m actually happy I don’t have kids. If you are still reasonably young or have family just beginning their working life, please put thought into your finances for your “Golden years” as they call them. When we are young it is easy to make excuses for putting this off; but if you are young, you also have the time and flexibility to start small and let it grow. Don’t put it off thinking you can make it up later.