How will you balance your financial goals with caregiving expenses? Caregiving often requires more immediate expenses that can make it challenging to focus on saving for your child’s college education or your own retirement. Developing a plan to continue saving toward long-term goals may help you reduce your financial stress down the road. Financial planning under the guidance of a financial advisor can help you anticipate and prepare for caregiving and other future events that may impact your finances. Who would you turn to for support? Talk with other family members about their willingness to help and how responsibilities might be divided. Research social service and community organizations in your area to see what support is available for caregivers. Remember, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself — so be sure to take time for your own well-being, whether that’s hiring someone to help around the house or speaking to a licensed therapist. Bronwyn L. Martin is a Financial Advisor Chartered Financial Consultant with Martin’s Financial Consulting Group, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Kennett Square and Havre de Grace, Md. She specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 18 years. To contact her visit www.ameripriseadvisors.com/bronwyn.x.martin
What is the financial impact if you need to take time off from work? If you are employed, you may be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). With this federally mandated program, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for an immediate family member while health benefits continue. Some companies allow employees to stockpile sick days and vacation days; if you can use this kind of accrued time off, you’ll still get paid. Liquid savings of your own can help to cover your expenses if you need to take unpaid leave from work. What is your strategy to pay caregiving expenses? First, think about what bills and expenses your loved one is currently paying that you may need to make on his or her behalf. Encourage your loved one to set up automatic bill pay or to add you as a second signer on a bank account to make handling expenses easier. Next, consider what expenses you may incur as a result of your caregiving role, such as out-of-pocket medical care or home improvements needed to accommodate your loved one.
Are your loved one’s assets legally protected? Being proactive from a legal standpoint can help ensure your loved one’s wishes are known and assets are protected during a prolonged illness. Power of attorney, or a durable power of attorney, gives a trusted party the ability to make important decisions about finances and health care. Another legal document that can help is an advanced directive, which outlines specifics for medical and end-of-life care. When these documents are in place, you have clear guidance on how to manage your family member’s affairs. What do you know about your loved one’s financial situation? Knowing the particulars of your loved one’s disability, life and health insurance policies, savings and financial obligations can make it easier to step in on a moment’s notice. Obtain contact information for the financial professionals your loved one works with so you know who to go to if you have questions.
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