A friend says she was only joking when she told her grown children she might have to borrow back the money she and their father had "lent" them to pay for college and graduate school.These are friends with a small apartment in New York City and a sizeable vacation spread in Vermont. But came the shock of the bear market and their portfolio has been sliced in half.
It's a scary time for them. They are both retired. They are tightening their belts: cutting off travel plans, eating out less, going to local movies rather than the Broadway shows, laying off the woman who cleans their apartment. But they still have to carry two homes on half a portfolio--and what if one of their grown children loses a job or runs into a financial problem? They've always been there to tide them through, and though they may joke with their children about "repaying" education "loans," what if they do need help with two mortgages--this is not exactly an easy time to unload a house or two.
Are these troubled times going to see a shift: From comfortable parents always there as a safety net to help grown children in case of a fiscal emergency to parents who may have to lean on their adult children to survive.
Her last email to me read, "Let's hope for an uptick in the stock market." It went down another 300 points the next day.