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This Aging Without Children article states "Family is seen as the solution to aging". How true is this? In China it can be required by law. I live in the US and it seems like the flow of funds more often goes from grandparents' investments to strapped kids.

My main purpose in asking is wondering, "How much should a person who decided not to have children save to replace their expected contribution?"

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    In some families, children support the parents; in others, parents support the children and grandchildren; in others the finances are separate once the child reaches some age of majority or other milestone such as marrying. There is no way anyone can tell you "most people's retirement plans include X from their children; since you have no children, add X to the average numbers you see." I doubt any publicly available retirement advice includes any expectation of money from children, but that's really not the point. – Kate Gregory Jul 31 '16 at 14:56
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    I think your question at the end is a good one, and a problem I had never considered, but the title and start of the post is out of sync and asks a very different, rather off topic, question. With revision to focus on the last question I would +1 – BrianH Jul 31 '16 at 16:49
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    Welcome to Money.SE. Your question is likely to be closed as either too broad or personal opinion. Keep in mind, when retirement income is listed, I've never seen "children's contribution" as part of the equation. Your benefit, if any, of not having children, is the savings you'll have from not caring for a human person over 18-22 years, including a potential $250K college bill. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jul 31 '16 at 17:02
  • The title question is not unanswerable -- a simple survey would do it. Then that information would help people develop their answer to the second question -- "most adults get by with $2000 annually from their children, so I should be OK saving that much" would be a different world from "most adults receive 5-15 years of free care and rent from their children, which would cost $180,000 to replace with long-term care". So answer the title question, I will then use the answer to answer the other, fuzzier question. – Noumenon Jul 31 '16 at 18:15
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    I guess I am missing what the question is. You don't want to know about planning but you want to know how much to save to compensate for not having a child's expected contribution. Wouldn't expecting a contribution be planning on it? Under what conditions would a parent expect their child to contribute? Are we talking about it being normal or in case of unforseen circumstances? Can you clarify what you are looking for? – homer150mw Aug 1 '16 at 10:48
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Most people in the US don't plan on relying on their children financially to retire, so there is nothing additional to modify a retirement plan specifically for that. Most people who do rely on their children do so because they fail to plan sufficiently for retirement. You likely won't need significant amounts of life insurance if you have no children, which is a cost savings (not to mention not having to pay for the kids expenses themselves), but you may want to have things more clearly planned out via a will or other legal documents since there may not be a next of kin to be able to make decisions for your estate once you're gone. It's also worth noting that you won't have the fallback of relying on kids, so failing to plan will likely end up worse for you than if you had children.

  • To the extent that this question is answerable, I think this is the best appropriate answer. Having a smaller support network (family, friends, etc.) means you must rely on yourself more in times of emergency. Among other things, this may mean that without children, you will need to ensure (that much more than anyone else) that you can support yourself after you retire. However any number you see on line about 'how much to save for retirement' is already assuming you will be self-sufficient, so it's not a magic number you need to add to other estimates. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Aug 2 '16 at 19:35

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