Retirement-killing money mistakes

The prodigal son (or daughter)

Broke relatives are the most dangerous and emotionally charged drain on senior savings. Refusing a child or grandchild, brother or sister, who's desperate for money can be traumatic. Yet that's exactly what most retirees must do. It doesn't matter whether they're the blameless victims of illness or divorce, or demanding lifelong deadbeats, the answer must be "no." Statistics are hard to come by, but a 2012 survey found 23% of Americans over 50 with credit card debt had used their cards to bail out family members. “Convincing someone to turn away their financially strapped children is difficult, but many seniors already living on the financial edge need to look out for themselves first or risk outliving their money,” says Kendra A. Hudson of Woodward Financial Advisors in Chapel Hill, N.C. One of her clients, for example, insisted on paying their grandchildren’s college tuition and even bought one a car, although the couple's savings will be gone in the foreseeable future.

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