Panda wrote:My parents never matched my casual savings when I was a kid (because I was pretty naturally inclined to save, so they joked they couldn't afford it), but I'll offer this up as an idea for when they're older. When I got my first "real" job (for me was after my freshman year of college as a waitress), my Dad gifted me my IRA contribution. I had to earn the income, which I used to pay expenses during the school year, but they made the IRA contribution. This lasted for the 3 summers I worked in college.
I'll always credit it for making a HUGE difference in how I viewed saving for retirement, etc.
Sounds like it worked.
On an unrelated note, all this reminds me a bit of how my parents tried to motivate me to come home for visits when I was in college. They promised to fill up my gas tank any time I drove home to visit. They kept to their word until I started dating my wife consistently and showing up pretty much every weekend (she lived near them). At that point they decided I wasn't really coming to see them, and they invited me to pay for my own gas, which I happily did.