Finances. They determine everything:
- where you live,
- what kind of help you get, and
- what quality of life you’ll have.
Money is a very uncomfortable topic for most people, but it is one of the most important aspects of life to have figured out if you think caregiving is in your future.
Here are some questions and conversations to have around the moolah.
What is their income situation? Will your LOs continue to work full or part time through retirement? Will they be able to draw from retirement or collect monthly pensions?
You’ll need to have a picture of their monthly income and expenses, so you will understand what they’ll be able to afford.
Social Security isn’t going to cover it. Your LO may be able to receive Social Security (SS), but SS is only one type of pension that older people may be eligible for. Depending on their past employment (public servants, teachers, for example), they might not get a monthly SS benefit at all.
Payments can vary from $40 to $2,788 for one person, with the average falling around $1,100. Some seniors have their Medicare premiums automatically deducted from their SS payments, so it becomes even less. No matter what end of that range your LO falls, it’s definitely not going to be enough to live off of. You can guesstimate how much your LO will receive at https://www.ssa.gov/oact/quickcalc/
And we are always hearing about how we can’t count on SS as we move into the future with constant threats of it being gutted in the federal budget.
What assets do they have?
Do they own their house or other properties outright?
Do they have investments and stocks? Do they have money in savings or offshore accounts (haha, yah right…)
These are things you may have to leverage in the future to cover the cost of any support they may need, move into a new home, or buy medical equipment, or just go on a vacation. To be able to use them when they’re needed, you have to know about them!
What does their health coverage look like?
Medicare covers a lot, but it doesn’t cover everything. It’s important to figure out what your LO’s health needs are and what kind of health coverage they will need in the future. If they don’t have supplemental insurance, they may be responsible for some of their health costs out of pocket, which factors in to how much they may/should be putting away now.
And remember, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. (Teaser: We’ll talk more about long term care and how it works in the next post in the series.)
Who does my LO want to make their decisions about their finances if they’re no longer able to do so?
It is important to talk with your LO about who they trust to handle their affairs in the event they become unable to do so. A Durable Power of Attorney that encompasses finances should do the trick if someone else needs to take the reins. It’s a good idea to have this in place before a crisis hits.
These questions are literally skimming the surface of all things related to money. They are a good start to get you talking about what your family’s outlook will be in the event they need support. Don’t live under a rock. Have the talk.
In the next post in the series, we’re going to get to the bottom of long term services and supports (lovingly referred to as LTSS). A lot of people think that LTSS only come in the form of paid or government services. I will help you see that there is so much more to long term care than what typically comes to mind. We’ll look at some of the questions to ask and points of research to investigate as you prepare to care.