Sunday is National Parents’ Day, and the well-being of our parents is our ultimate wish as they age. When faced with the task of financial planning for elderly parents, where do you turn? If you’re one of the millions of Americans facing this challenge, a good way to cope is to plan, plan, and plan some more.
People in their late 60s and early 70s thought this would be a time of life when some of their responsibilities would ease. But a growing part of the population are feeling a financial tug from kids on one side and parents on the other.
Known as “The Sandwich Generation“, adult children planning for retirement themselves are finding they’re not as emotionally and financially prepared as they need to be.
If this sounds familiar, you have plenty of company. A Pew Research study showed 12% of adults with a child younger than 18 at home were also providing unpaid care for an adult as well. Add longer life expectancies, having children later, children living at home, rising health care expenses for older Americans… and you have the makings of today’s sandwich generation.
Balancing Your Retirement and Your Parents’ Long-Term Care Needs
It’s important to plan and save for retirement, but plans can quickly unravel when elderly parents need extra care. Long-term care is expensive. Statistics show that assisted living costs $45,000 a year, on average, while you can expect to pay at least $20 an hour for in-home help. Nursing home care costs much more – more than $85,000 a year on average for a semi-private room.
Providing parents’ care can have major consequences for your own retirement; from your health to your ability to afford long-term care for yourself.
You can’t prevent your parents from needing care; however, you can protect yourself by being proactive, communicating, and planning.
Easing the Challenges
There are ways to ease the burden of this high-stress juggling act.
Planning for your parents’ future starts with communication. Find a way to talk to them about their finances—their retirement income, and their money and other assets.
Find out if they have long-term care insurance and what it covers. Transparency will help you and your family members deal with money effectively and preserve your relationships. You should aim to always be familiar with your parents’ financial situation, including their assets and liabilities. You’ll want to ask about their sources of income, as well as any life insurance policies they hold.
If you have siblings, communicate and involve them as well. This increases the chance that everyone will be on the same page when it comes to helping your parents make decisions about their care.
Taking Care of You
It’s no surprise that the research shows that sandwich generation adults often experience higher levels of stress than other adults and are more likely to say they always feel rushed or pressed for time. Self-care is not only essential for the caregiver — it is essential for the well-being of the entire family.
Tips to help you care for your loved ones – without losing sight of yourself – could include:
- Setting boundaries of your time: Setting boundaries around your time will help you get clear about what you can and can’t do. Healthy boundaries means having sometimes to say “no” while reminding yourself that you are doing the best you can.
- Asking for help: Whether is be from family members, or a professional caregiver, they can make a huge impact on both the older and younger family members in your life—and provide you with the respite you need to continue caring for your loved ones in the long term.
- Practicing self-care: Taking time to recover and renew is essential. Don’t forget to address your own needs: Sleeping, eating well and caring for your mental health help you stay strong so you can care for your loved ones. Incorporate self-care, such as an exercise class, a 10-minute meditation or a hobby you love, into your daily routine.
- Continue to plan for your own retirement: It’s critical to take care of your retirement first. Retirement planning services can help you stay on track with a personal financial plan and help guide you towards finding some balance between life’s competing priorities.
Get the Help You Need
Members of the sandwich generation often handle complex matters, such as legal and financial issues, for their parents. Lean on experts, including a financial planner/retirement income advisor, a public accountant and an estate-planning attorney, to help you navigate the situation. At a minimum, make sure your parents have a will, a living will and a power of attorney—and be sure you do, too.
Proactive planning will help reduce your financial stress when caring for ageing parents, adult children, and trying to plan your own financially secure future. Let CKS Summit Group help take care of your retirement income planning. Contact us here today and we’ll set up your complimentary strategy session.