If you’re like many Americans, you get a look at the effect of our aging population right in your own family. Looking after graying parents and other loved ones can mean a rough transition and sometimes discussions on who will manage a charge’s welfare come too late. When and how should you start planning?
Do you care for an elderly loved one? Despite how you probably feel frequently, you’re not alone: The aging of the U.S. population translated into almost 66 million people caring for a loved one just a few years ago. Even if swamped in looking after another person, you must look after your own finances, too.
Health-care costs for seniors receive a lot of attention, but many people fail to consider other important aspects of elder care. Tackling difficult conversations about elder care now helps you make informed decisions about this unavoidable stage of life.
President Barack Obama’s recent new budget documentation briefly mentions a desire to curtail file and suspend as an option for Social Security benefit filers. The administration views this option as one way for high-income folks to take advantage of the government. Right or wrong, this spells danger for one of your potentially valuable benefits.
Long-term care insurance is something everyone needs, and the earlier they buy it, the more affordable it is. Not that it is cheap. But coverage generally gets costlier, year by year, and more so for those in their 50s and 60s.
Most younger people probably do not think of LTC, as it’s called. It’s no surprise older people, who are retired or close to it, think about it: They want to prepare for what could be a huge financial burden. They fear the potentially corrosive power of LTC costs on their retirement savings.
Most folks don't make preparations before dying. Preparing means communicating with relatives and other loved ones – and it’s hard.
First responders and combat soldiers train for life-threatening situations. They rehearse responses and how to communicate with team members. Generally, families don't do that. When a crisis strikes, loved ones wing it amidst stress and confusion.
We know serious accidents and life-threatening illnesses can strike. Shouldn’t we communicate our wishes to our loved ones, our potential caregivers, before a crisis?
A plan for taking over the finances of an older, ailing relative is best made when both sides are healthy. Once stricken by illness or frustrated by the loss of mobility and freedom, an older relative may not understand questions or state details of their wishes. Lack of a plan often ignites family arguments without even knowing what the older relative would really want.
These talks should also go beyond just the money to include the relatives’ future independence; decision-making regarding finances, health care and other subjects; and basic preferences for day-to-day living.
Whether they want the role or not, adult children often find themselves in the position of primary caregiver for their parents. Unfortunately, many of us are not prepared for that role.
We often find ourselves so engrossed in how fast our children are growing up that it’s easy to sometimes forget that our own parents are also aging. Finances can be very dicey for members of the “sandwich generation,” which simultaneously cares for children and parents.
Father time eventually catches all of us, even the models of healthy living. That means we must plan for our long-term care needs. This is complicated. Where to begin?
First, don’t think you will be the exception who will not need LTC. Today, with 85 and older the fastest growing demographic group in the country, it is likely that at some point most of us will need a nurse, an aide or some other medical care provider. Or we will need to live in a nursing care home or assisted living facility.
Women have special concerns about financial security that financial advisors need to address. For one thing, they tend to live longer than men, so they need to worry about paying for an extended old age. For another, women of all ages are an increasingly important part of the economy.