I'm 30, just graduated from grad school and have my first professional full-time job (not my first job, but my first in my field full time and with benefits and everything). My salary isn't high, but it's not low either. I'd call it solid. I've kept my lifestyle similar to what it was before, with little inflation; living frugally isn't normally a hardship for me. This has allowed me to really pay down my debts on both my student loans and my car. It should only be a year or two before they're both paid off in full (and I always pay off my credit cards as I go, so there isn't much debt there). I have a 401k that I am funding to the max, and a 403b through my employer that both me and my employer are funding, and between those and social security I am not worried about retirement. My job is steady and should be reliable throughout my life.What I'm worried about is my parents. They own their own business, and it's never been a very lucrative one. They love it, but it was barely enough to raise a family on, and so they don't have much saved for retirement. Now my brother and I are out of the house, their expenses are less ... but the economic changes of the last ten years have really taken a bite out of their business. Their main retirement plan was to sell the business and the building it's in when they retire, but these days their business isn't really worth anything to sell, and the building may or may not be worth much--it's hard to tell what commercial real estate in my home town will be worth at any given time. It's good they like their work, because I don't know if they'll ever be able to afford to retire. When they have to retire, they'll probably end up living with me or me with them (depending on where my job is at that time). I don't mind; I'm single, and we get along very well, and I've spent enough time living at home with them in the last decade to know it will work. And if they ever end up in a nursing home, if it requires anything more than medicare pays, I'll probably be the one footing the bill.
Also, I may choose to adopt a child sometime in the next five-ten years. Children are expensive, and so are foreign adoptions.
The problem is money. How do I save for this? How do I plan? My financial wisdom of the last decade has been mostly "keep debt to a minimum." Well, that's great as long as you're in a low-income situation, but doesn't give me any guidance for what to do now.