Are you nearing retirement age? Don’t overlook this one obstacle that women frequently face! Planning can help alleviate future pressure for you and your family.
Picture this: You are in a successful career and are making more money than ever before. Your children are nearing college age, in college, or are recently graduated. They are on the path to independence especially financially but they still count on you for the time being. You are beginning to think about retirement but then it happens. One of your parent's health declines and you have to step in an help.
This story is the reality for many women especially due to increased life expectancy and the fact that women are having children later in life.
Caring for your family, whether it is your children or your parents is incredibly rewarding but does not come without challenges. The demands of this life phase can be exhausting emotionally. On top of the emotional demands, this time is too often accompanied by financial strains. The average caregiver spends $7,000 per year on the care recipient and in addition to the time that the caregiver must invest. The average caregiver is a woman who works outside the home and provides 20 hours a week of care to her parent. This can lead to additional financial burden if it interferes with one's career.
If you are currently facing these challenges or could potentially face them in the future there are some things you can do to make this difficult time easier for you and your family.
THREE WAYS TO PLAN AHEAD
Communicate with your Parents or Loved ones
It is time to talk with your parents. You will want to know about their wishes for this time in their life. You will also want to assess their situation and see if their wants fit their means financially and from a health perspective. It is never easy to think about or discuss difficult topics but it is the best place to start. When you talk you will want to figure out the following:
Discuss and assess your parent's retirement income, long-term care insurance, assets, and other important financial resources.
Locate all-important health and financial documents.
Securing any legal authorization you will need for financial and health-related tasks in case something happens and your parent becomes incapacitated (ie power of attorney).
Depending on your parent's needs, consider care options such as moving in with you, assisted living options, nursing homes, or other forms of geriatric care.
If you do this before your parent is in dire need it can help ease the transition for you into caregiving and it can help no matter what stage you are in.
2. Check-in with your Children
As you take on more responsibility caring for your aging loved one, you will also need to consider the needs of your children. The key here is communication.
If your child is not yet in college:
You will have to help guide them through future college plans. If you are facing a burden financially while caring for your parent this may mean encouraging your child to chose a college that fits your family’s financial means. You may also need to encourage them to get a job to help out with college expenses.
If your child is one who has returned home after or during college:
You may need to discuss expectations. This could include having them help out with chores, occasional help with caregiving, or contributing to monthly household expenses.
Each family is different and the needs and expectations for your children during this time will be specific to your situation. Nonetheless, it is important during this time to communicate and instill in your children good financial values and priorities.
While stretching yourself thin caring for your parents and your children, it can be easy to forget about you and your needs. Remember to be patient and allow yourself to take time for yourself. It will also help if you have your financial wellbeing taken care of. The following are some tips that might help.
As we have discussed you may have not planned for the disruption to your career that caregiving often causes. This is a great time to reevaluate your current financial plan. If you currently do not have one, it may be time to start.
Establish a budget that reflects your current situation.
Think about investing extra for your future if your budget allows. Put this money in some kind of retirement plan and avoid tapping into it for expenses related to your parent's care or your child's education.
Do not quit your job right away. This may seem obvious but at the time it can seem like the only choice. Be sure to explore all options such as adult day-care or hiring a home health aid.
This is the ultimate balancing act. We know how stressful this time can be for caregivers. If you have any questions or would like to come in for a free consult. Call 716-568-8568.
Women and Financial Wellness: Beyond the Bottom Line, Merrill Lynch, and New Wave Study. 2018