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Caring for an Aging Parent: Understanding the Financial Wellness Challenges

Oct 30, 2019

Key Takeaways

  • Adult children will play an increasingly critical role in supporting the needs of their aging parents.
  • Unfortunately, many who take on caregiving duties are not financially prepared for the role.
  • A financial plan including life insurance and annuities can help both generations prepare for the future.

 

Many American families are already struggling financially as they attempt to juggle the need to fund their own retirements while coping with rising costs for healthcare, housing, college education, and student loan debt. Increasingly, many are also taking on the task of caring for an aging parent, for which many families are not financially prepared.

A confluence of events — an aging population, increases in life expectancy, rising healthcare costs, and the declining availability of both long-term care insurance and employer-provided retiree health insurance — have all contributed to the dramatic shift in the eldercare landscape. This has led family members, many of whom are working-age adults, to shoulder the caregiving responsibilities of their aging parents.

And they are often not financially prepared for caregiving. A majority of American adults aren’t sure how to pay for their parents’ eldercare needs, and about half of older Americans have not even discussed long-term care with their family. Without proper planning, they may risk their own financial and emotional well-being and long-term financial security.

 

Family Discussions about Eldercare
  How long assets will last in retirement Desired lifestyle in retirement
Don't know 3%  
A great deal 13% 11%
Some 18% 22%
A little 14% 21%
None 52% 46%

 

Fortunately, there are ways to support families navigating these challenges. Many financial advisors have gone through specialized training related to eldercare; they can help families understand the financial implications and determine how to pay for it. To be as prepared as possible, adult children need to look past traditional taboos, initiate conversations with their aging parents about finances, and develop a plan for handling assistance their parents may require.

 

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