As the parents of boomers age, more family members are managing eldercare responsibilities. Healthcare and finances aren’t easy topics for many families to broach. In fact, research from the Money Across Generations IISM study shows that 36 percent of boomers’ parents feel that talking about healthcare with family will likely or very likely create tension or spark an argument.1
This is where a long-term financial plan comes into play. Your plan should support your financial goals and help to care for your parents needs, especially when there are unexpected expenses and emotions involved.
To get started:
- Talk about finances now. While it may be uncomfortable to discuss finances, it’s essential that you’re familiar with your parents finances. This includes medical, disability and long-term care insurance policies. Use this information—along with your own funds—to choose healthcare options.
- Create a contact list. Ask your parents to compile a list of account numbers, computer login names and passwords, plus the names, addresses and phone numbers of the professionals they work with. Also, ask about the location of important financial and legal documents and lockbox keys.
- Identify current healthcare costs and needs. Learn about your parents medical and pharmaceutical expenses and identify any cost savings. For example, change from a name brand to a generic prescription or, instead of filling prescriptions at your pharmacy, order a long-term supply from a mail-order provider.
- Build a support network. Talk with family members, neighbors and industry professionals to see who can help you care for your parents and in what capacity and at what cost.
- Anticipate future lifestyle changes. Even if they aren’t yet needed, explore the costs of in-home, senior apartment, assisted living and memory care housing and services, as well as the costs of having a parent live with you. Consider the pros and cons of each option.
- Become familiar with assistance programs. Your parents may qualify for government programs, supplements or services. For information, visit www.Govbenefits.gov. Also, contact your local Area Agency on Aging for information about elder programs and services.
- Keep your retirement goals in mind. Continue to manage your budget and save for your future. Be mindful that exiting and re-entering the workforce even temporarily may affect your earning power and employer-sponsored retirement plan.
- Know your rights at work. The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) allows covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to provide care for a family member with a serious health condition.2 If you’re caring for a parent, inform your Human Resources department about your situation to take advantage of this legal protection, if relevant, and create a workable plan within your company’s policies.
Thinking about caring for an ill or aging parent isn’t easy to do, but creating a plan now can help immensely down the road. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help you plan for unexpected expenses and prepare for the costs of healthcare during your own retirement.
Michael W. K. Yee at (808) 952-1222 ext. 1240
Michael W K Yee, CFP®, CFS®, CRPC®, is a Financial Advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner™ with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Honolulu, HI. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 25 years. To contact him, firstname.lastname@example.org, 808.952.1222 ext 1240, 1585 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1100 Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96814.
Advisor is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of Honolulu, Hawai‘i.
1 The Money Across Generations IISM study was commissioned by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted by telephone by GfK in December 2011 among 1,006 affluent baby boomers (those with $100,000 or more in investable assets); 300 parents of baby boomers; and 300 children of baby boomers at least 18 years old. The margin of error is +/- three percentage points for the affluent boomers segment and +/- six percentage points for the parents and children of boomers segments.
2 United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Family and Medical Leave Act http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
Ameriprise Financial and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues.
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