Monday Morning Quarter-Buck - 2-25-2019: Caregiving by Kim Anderson

As financial planners, this week is one of our favorites!  It’s America Saves Week! We are proud to be partnering with Cornell Cooperative Extension - Steuben County to offer THREE webinars this week!  The links for each of the events are listed below, the events are about one hour and free, but you do need to register:

Also, as we round out the 2nd month of 2019 already, we want remind you of two upcoming events we mentioned last week:

  • TD Ameritrade has notified us that on March 15, 2019, they will begin mailing annual Standing Letter of Authorization (SLOA) confirmation notices to our clients.  The confirmation will list all active SLOAs that we have on record for your accounts as of December 31, 2018. You might be wondering, “what is a SLOA?”  This is what allows us to transfer money between your accounts when you request it. If you notice a bank account you no longer want listed, notify me and I’ll ask to have it removed.

  • In other news, we were very excited to learn that Fund For Women of the Southern Tier, Inc. is currently offering two education grants!  The deadline is March 1st, so if you know a young lady (including those young at heart too) that is going off to college this fall, make sure to forward this message to them.  “These grants are to be used to remove any barrier to the pursuit of their educational endeavors. Examples may include paying for college textbooks, technical supplies, assistance with past due tuition bills, fees for professional licensing exams, etc. Award criteria includes a demonstrated financial need.”

    • Ten - $500 Grants

    • Four - $2,500 Grants


When I read Kim’s article this week, it really hit close to home.  Brent and I have seen first hand the development and effects of Dementia on a loved one.

Caregiving

By Financial Planner Kim Anderson, CPA

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Rooted Planning Group chose love, giving, and caring as our theme for February which is more than appropriate given that Valentine’s Day falls on the 14th.  To round out the month, my topic is caregiving and it’s very close to my heart because I have several relatives who have taken on this vital role and I appreciate them more than words can say.

According the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, (a) 2 out of 5 adults are caregivers, (b) 60% of caregivers are women; (c) 70% of caregivers make adjustments to work schedules to accommodate caregiving responsibilities, (d) on average caregiving women lose $324,044 in lost wages, social security benefits, and retirement plans over a lifetime, (d) women caregivers are 2 times more likely than non-caregivers to end up in poverty, (f) a caregiver’s estimated out-of-pocket costs = $5,531 annually, and (g) each year caregivers provide $470 billion worth of unpaid care.  Those are some staggering statistics and I see them playing out in my family as I write this.

My cousin Debbie (61) is caring for her husband (58) with brain cancer; my aunt Kathy (57) is caring for her husband (55) with Stage 4 liver failure; my cousin Joe (71) is caring for my uncle (93); my cousin Toni (66) cared for my aunt until her death in 2015 and since dementia / Alzheimer's can be found on both sides of my family, I expect caregiving needs to increase as the family ages.  As you can see, caregiving needs are not just for the elderly and caregiving providers are not just the young. We never know when we might need caregiving services or be asked (or expected) to provide them to a loved one.

My family caregivers say they wouldn’t have it any other way, and I believe they are sincere when they say it – but just because they wouldn’t have it any other way doesn’t make it easier.  When my uncle passed in 2011, my aunt was well into needing assistance with every aspect of her day-to-day activities due to her advanced dementia. It would be another four years before my aunt would pass.  Money was not plentiful, they heated their house with wood and electric, and had a long drive that needed (snow) plowing and a large yard that needed mowing. Life is hard enough caring for dementia patients, but my cousin had the added burden of splitting and hauling wood to the stove, weekly yard mowing for five months of the year, and still being the financial trustee for her son who suffers from cognitive disabilities due to a car accident when he was 18 years old.  My cousin Toni is an amazing women for “doing it all” with a smile on her face during that period of time – including caring for my aunt in her home until the day she died.

During the years Toni was unable work outside of the home because she was the primary caregiver, she did get some much needed respite when one of her brothers/sister would take on the duties – which wasn’t often enough.  In the end, there was not much of an estate left, and what was left was split pretty evenly between the four kids. What a thanks for providing $500,000+ worth of caregiving services while giving up five years of earning ability and contributions to Social Security and her own retirement account.  And while she didn’t do it for financial gain, a little more appreciation along the way and a thank you every now and then would have gone a long way.

So for all the past and present caregivers I have known and currently know, THANK YOU for everything you have done and currently do.  The world is a better place because of you.

For everyone who is likely to become a caregiver in the future or knows someone who will, please watch  our Caregiver presentation at Social-Security-and-Medicare and download the accompanying “Best of Caregiving Resources Guide”.  I believe you will find the information invaluable as you embark on the priceless journey of caregiving for your loved one.