From Sacrifice to Stability: How Caregivers Can Safeguard Their Financial Future
Don't flight attendants always tell you to place the oxygen mask on YOURSELF first before helping anyone else?
Well, this advice also applies if you are a primary caregiver. You can have the best care plan in place for your loved one, but what happens if you don’t have a solid financial plan in place for the both of you? You may find yourself not being able to help your loved one OR yourself.
Caregiving can be financially draining as it often involves paying for medical bills, medications, and other related expenses. According to an AARP report, more than three-quarters of caregivers have out-of-pocket caregiving expenses. This can undermine your long-term financial security.
36 billion hours were spent caregiving in the U.S. in 2023 with a value of nearly $600 billion.*
Advance planning is crucial to be prepared for the costs of caregiving—especially if you are underemployed, unemployed, or in retirement while serving as a caregiver.
How caregivers can show some love to their own future:
- Assess your current financial situation: Make a list of all your income sources, expenses, debts, and savings.
- Estimate the cost of care: Project the cost of the care you provide or plan to provide—including the value of the hours you dedicate to caregiving that may be lost income from sacrificing employment.
- Create a budget: Once you have a clear picture of your finances, develop a budget that includes caregiving expenses.
- Explore financial assistance programs that might ease the financial burden of caregiving, including offerings from government entities, non-profits, and community resources like National Alliance for Caregiving and Family Caregiving Alliance.
- Consider long-term care options: Caregiving can be a long-term commitment, so it's important to consider long-term financial planning. Developing a solid retirement plan, investing in hybrid long-term care insurance, establishing special needs trusts, and planning for end-of-life care are all integral components of robust planning.
The costs of caregiving take a toll on more than your money.
By creating a comprehensive financial plan, caregivers can better manage the costs of caregiving and avoid financial stress down the line. The stress of caregiving transcends financial implications; it's emotionally taxing, often leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. Caregiver statistics underscore the prevalence of these challenges, especially when dealing with conditions like dementia.
- An estimated 38 million people in the U.S., about 11.5% of the population, are taking care of loved ones.
- That care will total nearly 36 billion hours with a value of nearly $600 billion.
- 0-40% of caregivers for people living with dementia experience depression while 44% have anxiety.
With substantial time commitments, caregivers often find themselves balancing work and caregiving, impacting both their time and income. Many caregivers have to juggle caregiving responsibilities with work and other commitments. Income may go down due to reduced hours or time off of work.
Caregiving can also be physically demanding, especially for those caring for individuals with mobility issues or other physical disabilities. This can lead to injuries or health problems for the caregiver which can further impact finances and savings.
Overcoming care challenges with proactive planning and support
The emotional, physical, and financial toll of caregiving is real, but a proactive financial strategy can help ease these burdens. Caretaker vs caregiver distinctions blur in the face of these challenges, highlighting the need for self-care and reaching out for support.
Professional financial advisors, such as Treece Financial Group, can provide tailored guidance. With financial advice and advocacy, caregivers can navigate the intricacies of caregiving more effectively, ensuring stability and peace of mind.
Caregivers don't have to face these challenges alone. Having a trusted advocate can make all the difference.
We’re here to help. Schedule a consultation with Team Treece.