If you’re a caregiver, possibly for a loved one dealing with an illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, you’re probably already facing some significant emotional and physical challenges – so you don’t need any financial ones as well. Yet, they are difficult to avoid. What steps can you take to deal with them?
First of all, you may be interested in knowing the scale of the problem. Consider these numbers from the Alzheimer’s Association: About 5.8 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and in 2019, caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias contributed more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care – worth about $244 billion in services. Furthermore, about two-thirds of caregivers are women, and one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.
But whatever your gender or relationship to the individuals for whom you’re providing care, you can take some steps to protect your own financial future. Here are a few suggestions:
- Evaluate your employment options. If you have to take time away from work – or even leave employment altogether – to be a caregiver, you will lose not only income but also the opportunity to contribute to an IRA and a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. But you may have some options, such as working remotely, or at least working part time. Either arrangement can give you flexibility in juggling your employment with your caregiving responsibilities.
- Explore payment possibilities for caregiving. Depending on your circumstances, and those of the loved ones for whom you’re providing care, you might be able to work out an arrangement in which you can get paid something for your services. And as long as you are earning income, you can contribute to an IRA to keep building resources for your own retirement.
- Protect your financial interests – and those of your loved ones. You may well want to discuss legal matters with the individual for whom you are a caregiver before Alzheimer’s robs them of the ability to think clearly. It may be beneficial to work with a legal professional to establish a financial power of attorney – a document that names someone to make financial decisions and pay bills when the person with Alzheimer’s no longer can. And whether you or someone else has financial power of attorney, the very existence of this document may help you avoid getting your personal finances entangled with those of the individual for whom you’re caring.
- Keep making the right financial moves. As long as you’re successful at keeping your own finances separate from those of your loved one, you may be able to continue making the financial moves that can help you make progress toward your own goals. For example, avoid taking on more debts than you can handle. Also, try to maintain an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. Of course, these tasks will be much easier if you can maintain some type of employment or get paid for your caregiving services.
There’s nothing easy about being a caregiver. But by making the right moves, you may be able, at the least, to reduce your potential financial burden and brighten your outlook.
Review John-Paul’s Financial Corner Articles:
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- Financial Corner – Local Expert John-Paul Speaks out to Hopatcong Lake Residents
“If anyone has any questions please reach out and use me as a resource. If anyone in this community wants to pick my brain or has concerns about what’s going on in the market, I’d would be happy to make myself available.”
Bio of Local Resident John-Paul:
Hi, my name is John-Paul Tancona and I’m a financial advisor with Edward Jones. I have over 19 years of experience in this industry, working with both institutional and retail investors.
John PaulI earned my bachelor’s degree at Villanova University in 2000 and immediately started my years journey into the world of finance. My first 13 years were spent working at high profile wealth management firms covering large institutional investors. Recently, I joined Edward Jones and changed my focus to educating and empowering individual investors so they can achieve all of their financial goals.
We believe in working with investors one on one, either at your local Edward Jones office or conveniently at your kitchen table. We want to find out what is most important to you and your family so we can take you through our established process and partner together for life.
Whether you’re planning for retirement, saving for your children or grandchildren’s college education or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, we can work together to develop personalized solutions tailored specifically to help you achieve your goals.
I live in Sparta with my wife, Julieann, and two children: Dominic (10) and Daniel (7).
My branch office administrator, Ellen Hawkins, has 35 years of experience and is dedicated to offering you an ideal client experience.
I look forward to answering your financial questions and concerns. Please contact me to discuss your options so you can make informed decisions about your unique financial situation.
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