(you didn't list what your financial situation is, except that you are in a well paying industry...for now), and because of that you need to be focused on setting yourselves up first.
I actually said not very well paying. Currently I have some credit card debt I am aggressively trying to pay down and about $7k in student loans.
I'm sort of in the same boat. My parents are terrible with money, and I make sure I have adequate savings for the day they come to me and say something along the lines of "our electricity is going to be turned off if we dont pay $90,000 by tomorrow"(ok, thats a slight exaggeration, but you get the point).
Just save what you can, and be prepared. No amount of asking, telling, pleading, etc... will get them to be more responsible if they have lived their entire lives irresponsibly.
My parents actually aren't terrible with money... they haven't always made the best decisions but they've managed to pull themselves out of a low income class and provide a pretty good life for us.
I guess I'm looking at one of those more emotional decisions than purely financial. Because yes, financially, googoo and kombat are right... it doesn't make sense in those terms and I completely see that.
But they're my parents, and it's not so much a question of whether or not I do it, but whether I take the hit now while I have no mortgage and kids or if I take it later when I do.
If it were me (and it sort of is, since I too am saving a bit of cash to be able to help my parents should they need it), I’d put the money in a high interest (the best interest you can get anyway) savings account. If it turns out they don’t need my help financially – great – I’ll do something else with it (maybe save it for retirement) but if they do, I feel a lot better knowing that I am in a position to be able to help them out. They’ve done so much for me over the years so helping them if they need it is a no-brainer.