The Declaration of Dependents

A new study sounds a not-so-gentle wake-up call. 

More of us are claiming our parents as financial dependents on our tax returns.

That’s the headline from‘s 2024 Senior Financial Dependency Study, which surveyed 4,000 Americans to gauge the severity of the financial pressures faced by family caregivers.

The study found that 53% of respondents began claiming their parents as dependents in past two years. That’s a real jump from the 12% of participants who started claiming their parents as dependents before 2019.

Not a good trend — especially when you consider that 75% of the people who claimed parents as dependents are also supporting one of more of their own kids.

Other key findings focus on tipping points that led to their parents’ financial dependence:

  • More than 40% said their parents’ savings and investments, including Social Security benefits, did not cover the rising cost of living.
  • 35% said their parents’ medical costs and debts were “overwhelming.”
  • 35% said their parents couldn’t afford the costs of senior living or senior care.
  • One in five seniors became dependent as the result of fraud or a scam.

Nearly half of study participants said they felt responsible to support and provide for their parents.

I wonder how many respondents also felt resentful. 

That would be an interesting question, because no one plans on having to claim their parents as dependents. It’s a “best option for a bad situation” strategy that most people never consider until they have no choice.

Your takeaway: The fact that more people are declaring mom and dad as dependents is a harsh reminder of how much your parents’ financial security can affect yours.

So if you haven’t started talking with your parents about their finances, consider this study a not-so-gentle wake-up call.

Because you don’t know what you don’t know.

And the sooner you find out, the better.

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Thanks for caring,

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