How a "grandkid fund" can factor into retirement planning

How a “grandkid fund” can factor into retirement planning


With a record high of more than 4 million Americans turning age 65 in 2024, for some people, retirement priorities may be more complex with family in the mix.

Around 67 million adults in the United States are grandparents,and more than 7 million American grandparents live with their under-18 grandchildren, according to U.S. Census data.2 Of those, 2.3 million are caregivers for the younger generation.2

Whether accounting for family members’ day-to-day expenses or for the 67% of people who say they want to leave an inheritance, planning can affect the ideal retirement.

Adding a “grandkid fund” to a longer-term financial plan can help cover any wants and needs, along with providing some peace of mind for the future. Here’s how this planning tactic can fit into a retirement outlook.

What a “grandkid fund” covers

For some, this slice of the retirement-savings pie can work toward one-time gifts (for birthdays, graduations) or more ongoing support for family members.

With 52% of Americans wanting to travel and 28% seeking to spend time with grandkids in retirement, this budget could also pull double duty and cover expenses for trips that include the younger generations.

The amount of multi-generational trips has risen close to pre-pandemic levels,3 and mapping out this expense could help work toward a rewarding goal for the whole family. Parents and grandparents can have open conversations about how much these leisure trips can cost and set the spending split ahead of time to avoid last-minute surprises.

A grandkid fund can also be used to sock away a general inheritance as part of an overall estate plan.

More than a third of American families (34%) are unsure whether they’ll be able to leave a windfall for future generations. Rather than supporting ongoing trips and expenses, retirees may opt to set a goal containing a flat dollar-amount or percentage of retirement savings in order to kick off a grandkid fund.

Balancing what to set aside

With considerations like future lifestyle, cost of living, and healthcare expenses taking space in the equation of how much to save for retirement, it can be a balancing act to know how much can go toward a special savings goal like a grandkid fund.

The average retirement savings for people ages 65 and older is $1,074,415, according to Empower Personal DashboardTM data.4

People nearing retirement may want to get a good look at all the ways they save, factoring in what’s held in various accounts and investments. From there, they can divvy up priorities to determine the income needed in retirement, alongside their priorities that will bring them closer to financial happiness. While this could be part of someone’s future retirement plan, another option is to start saving while still working using today’s income.

Looking to the future

Family can play a big role in where life goes next, and a grandkid fund could be a good add-on to retirement planning as way to enrich life across the ages.

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1 Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, “2023 Grandparents Day Report,” Sept. 2023.

2 AARP, “When Grandparents Are Called to Parent — Again,” March 2023.

3 New York Times, “9 Ways to Bring Every Generation but Leave the Family Drama at Home,” March 2023.

4 Anonymized data from Empower Personal DashboardTM as of May 1, 2024. This figure includes data from people who use Empower’s online financial dashboard and may include balances from both current and former employer-sponsored plans. Investors who use online financial tools tend to be particularly engaged in saving for retirement and other financial best practices and may not be representative of plan participants in general.

The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

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