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Helping Across Generations: An Exploratory Study of Blue Collar Workers’ Retirement Well-Being

With today’s young adults facing increasing financial pressures, it is parents that often come to the rescue. Older adults from working-class backgrounds often provide help to their adult children and extended families, which can affect family relationships, and their own economic well-being, particularly in retirement. This effort will explore the impacts of these arrangements.

While parents are important sources of assistance for adult children, labor market and demographic shifts may both increase the need for help among younger generations but also strain the resources of those who provide help, particularly more economically vulnerable workers.

Study findings may suggest needed reforms to the social safety net and to the ways we think about retirement so that poverty is both alleviated and prevented. These include reforms that would make it easier for families to access public benefits, putting less stress on the private safety net as well as reforms that do not penalize economically vulnerable retirees for providing assistance.

Kristin S. Seefeldt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Social Work
School of Social Work
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy