Caring for an older parent is both a wonderful thing to do, but also can be very stressful both financially and emotionally. In today’s article on www.myperfectfinancialadvisor.com our writing team shares some perspectives than can help.
Many Americans are facing the reality that they may need to help their parents as they age. In fact, this is a global issue as indicated by a 2015 Pew Research Center report. In the United States, over 58% of adults support their parents with some form of physical help like errands or tasks. Over 25% support their parents with financial contributions. While it certainly it is admirable that children care for their aging parents, if not carefully planned for, support of an older parent can have calamitous effects on an entire family.
The topic of planning for care of an older parent can never begin too soon. Like all planning, the earlier one starts the better. It is ideal to engage a financial planner that specializes in such matters as the support costs can be very high and the emotions even higher from all family members involved. For adult children, the first step is to have an honest conversation between siblings about the future of their parents. If you are an only child, seek the advice and support of a friend, advisor, or CPA.
If your parents are financially savvy, then the process is far easier, but that is not the case for most Americans. Parents make grave financial mistakes like bad investments, retiring too early, not saving enough, spending frivolously and the list goes on. It is vital to have an honest assessment of the true shape your parent’s financial situation. In some cases, you may find out a parent will not want to share any details with their children out of pride, which of course makes it much harder to help them in the future.
The key is to start early having a conversation about the future, and bringing up the topic regularly not only with your parent but with other members of the family who have a vested interest. The stress of caring for a parent can wreak havoc on family members if the process is not thought out. There are many issues to consider including who is going to physically help, who is going to pay and how much and for what? Can your parent live alone, or do they need in-home care? Are there government programs they can qualify for and who can you turn to for help with the evaluation?
If you are in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s and think its too soon to think about your aging parents, you are wrong. You do not want to hit your 50’s and 60’s and realize that your parent has a major issue without a game plan. The good news is there are ample resources to rely upon, you just need to avail yourself of them earlier than later.
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