Top 3 Retirement Planning Tips for Family Caregivers
29 Jun 2017
Anxious and doubtful—these are two of the top emotions many Americans would use to describe retirement planning. Over the years, we have witnessed various changes—both good and bad—when it comes to retirement. People are living longer and healthier, but the costs of everything are increasing to unimaginable heights. Because of this, many of the baby boom generation are hesitant to let go of their main source of income and retire.
Moreover, we have witnessed the significant blow that long term care requirements can drive to households. These needs do not just affect the person who requires the care; these can impact multiple generations within the family. However, family is family, and people are left with no choice but to offer any type of help they can provide. This is why the number of family caregivers has reached millions, and it will only increase over time.
Caregivers need support and care, too. These individuals need to be able to plan for their retirement, as well.
Planning for the Future
If you are reading this, then you may either be a family caregiver. If you wish to maintain a stable plan for your retirement as you face the demands of long term care, then here are three strategies you can apply now.
Remember that it’s okay to use your resources to protect yourself.
Financial support is a common responsibility among caregivers. On top of the physical care that they provide, caregivers also dedicate a substantial portion of their income to out of pocket expenses. For lower-income caregivers, the percentage of money that they set aside for care is greater. This often leads to various sacrifices of their expenses in order to meet the demands.
Family caregivers must remember that planning for their own retirement is also a top priority, and they should not feel guilty for using some of these resources to ensure that they are protected. Often, spousal caregivers feel as if they are not stealing funds that should be used for their partner’s well-being. However, this should not be the case as they need protection, as well.
Find your own long term care coverage as early as possible.
Family caregivers can be under substantial amounts of stress, and this can certainly take its toll on their health. A survey reflects that caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s share that the care demands has created or aggravated their own health problems. Without long term care coverage, they will either have to pay for these services out of pocket or rely on their family members to provide the care, as well.
Long term care insurance coverage can protect individuals for surprise care expenses that can drain their retirement savings. This can even help family caregivers break the cycle of relying on family members for care. In securing coverage, they get to maintain their independence during old age. To learn more about this, refer to this guide to retirement planning, long term care insurance rates, and policy coverage.
Take advantage of employer-sponsored programs.
Employers typically offer retirement savings programs as part of their employee benefits. Working caregivers would do well to look into the various programs in which that their employers are participating. These may include 401(k), flexible spending accounts, or health spending accounts.
Moreover, they should also check if the employers take part in company matched contributions. The percentage varies—some employers only match 10% of their employee’s contributions while others match the full cost. Others may choose to match the contributions with company stock.
The Importance of Early Planning
Retirement is only a heartbeat away for many family caregivers, and yet not all of them have prepared enough for it. Understandably, these individuals are in a difficult situation, and thinking of oneself may not be as easy as it should be. However, family caregivers must be proactive in planning for their retirement despite all the challenges it might pose. They must take matters into their own hands and secure the coverage and plans that they need to keep their well-being intact.
Lastly, family caregivers must consider talking with industry experts—like insurance specialists and financial planners—about their plans. These individuals can help them create a plan that works best for their situation.