Caring For Elder Parents Could Impact Your Own Retirement

Looking after an elderly parent could cost you more than you expect: Your retirement security.

Those were the findings from a study of caregivers by the Transamerica Institute, a foundation that specializes in retirement and healthcare issues. Last March and April, the institute polled 3,074 individuals who provided nonprofessional or unpaid care for friends or family.

The adverse impact of caring for Mom and Dad go beyond the stress of day-to-day responsibilities.

About 3 in 10 caregivers who are also working have experienced adverse reactions from their employers because of their caregiving duties. Meanwhile, their savings have suffered.

"Caregiving responsibilities can impact a caregiver's finances, ranging from lost income due to time off the job to incurring out-of-pocket expenses on behalf of the care recipient," said Catherine Collinson, president of Transamerica Institute. "Over time, it can negatively impact the caregiver's own future retirement," she said.

Here are the other ways caregiving can affect your finances, and how you can deal.

Of caregivers who are employed, 76 percent have sought accommodations at work to help them balance their duties. Steps they've taken include using vacation and sick days, reducing hours or responsibilities, and quitting or retiring altogether.

Caregivers who take the drastic step of leaving their job experience a volley of financial shocks: They lose their primary source of income and they lose access to their employer's health insurance plan. Further, these individuals are also incurring out-of-pocket costs.

The study found that caregivers spend a median $150 (USD) per month to cover expenses for their loved one.

The work these people do goes largely unreimbursed: 75 percent of caregivers don't receive any payment or financial assistance for their duties.

Source: Darla Mercado,

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