Financial Focus for Women: An article series created by Bill Few Associates to help women achieve financial independence.
By: Bill Few Senior Vice President, ReShelle L. Barrett, CFP®
Being a caregiver can be one of the hardest jobs one can undertake, yet it can also be the most rewarding. Many caregivers might agree that the ability to provide care for a loved one and be there for them in their time of need is a challenge and a gift all at the same time.
Did you know that women are still the primary caregivers in our society, and the majority of caregivers make adjustments to their work schedules to accommodate their new caregiving responsibilities? This may result in less work hours or missed career opportunities, and finances may be impacted. A caregiver role is time consuming, and the last thing that someone needs in this situation is to fall behind on their own finances because of it.
Financial planning is the key to achieving goals such as retirement, a vacation home, savings for our grandchildren, or even planning and saving for long-term care for ourselves. If you find yourself in a caregiving role, below are some tips to help keep your finances on track:
Review Your Loved Ones’ Financial Plan – Your loved ones may have created a trust that provides for caregiver expenses. They also may own an insurance policy that provides financial assistance for caregiving. Many long-term care insurance policies cover some home healthcare needs or even adult daycare services.
Reach Out to Other Family Members – This can be a tough subject because every family dynamic is different; however, it is important to talk with other family members who are close to your loved one about the care they need and the cost associated with it. If splitting tasks or sharing expenses is possible, your situation may become more manageable.
Create a Budget – Keep tabs on how much you are spending, and break expenses out into categories for yourself and your loved one. This can provide a clearer picture of how much extra you are spending as part of your caregiver role, which expenses can be eliminated, and/or what additional expenses you will need assistance with.
RELATED: Read our previous Financial Focus for Women article—
Women and Finances: A Unique Perspective.
Plan for Your Own Long-Term Care – While caregivers usually see how expensive cost for care is due to their caregiving role, they do not always take the next steps to plan for their own care. There are some ways to plan ahead, such as by looking into long-term care insurance. With the state of inflation right now, ensure to take that into consideration when looking at insurance policies. Thinking about the cost of care for yourself ahead of time will help you, and your loved ones, in the future.
Actively Review Your Investments – When someone opens an investment account or signs up for a plan through their workplace, they may not check in on how it is performing. A critical part of the process is keeping tabs on these accounts. When life gets busy, such as by taking on a caregiving role on top of other responsibilities, reviewing your investments might fall to the bottom of your list. Consult with your financial advisor, or if you don’t have one, find one so they can manage your portfolio and provide recommendations on what moves to make and when.
Take Care of Yourself – As they say on the plane, place your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Know when you are sacrificing your own physical and mental health. If family help is not available, there are companies that provide services for caregiving from light housework and grocery shopping to hiring professionals to serve as financial and medical powers of attorney. If you just need a break at times, explore adult day care services to give yourself some respite and also help your loved one enjoy a social environment. A change of scenery can do wonders for one’s mental health.
If you plan to be a caregiver in the future, or if you suddenly find yourself taking on this role, we recommend consulting with an experienced financial advisor to ensure the change is accounted for in your financial plan. Call our office today—we look forward to helping you.
ReShelle L. Barrett, CFP®
Bill Few Associates
740 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
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