Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging Parents

Taking care of aging parents this close to your own retirement can be an expensive setback personally, as well as financially. But it doesn’t have to be, as long as you’re proactive about planning for it as much as possible.

Start with communication. When is the last time you talked with a parent about his or her finances? With older generations it can be a hard discussion to have, but it’s better to try to talk and do some detective work now than get hit with a difficult reality later. Ask about estate planning — is there a will? How much of their house do they actually own (and how big is the remaining mortgage)? What’s their debt look like? Also, are there any insurance policies and/or pensions or annuities that they can count on, in addition to retirement savings and social security? Answers to these questions will help you plan for your parents in terms of gauging how much help you may be expected to give down the road. And no need for this all to be on your shoulders if you have siblings. Make it a family effort, as much as possible, to rally help all around.

And what about your own aging reality? Long-term care insurance (LTC) is a solid consideration if you’re under 65 but over 35 and have assets you’d like to protect, when and if you have to pay for long term care. Many avoid LTC because of fear of high premiums, but the younger and healthier you are when you purchase a plan, the lower the monthly price tag. Plus, when you consider the odds of needing long-term care are 70%, LTC can make solid financial sense to protect you and your kids from the burden of an uncertain financial future.

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