For the 34 million Americans who provide care for someone age 50 or older1, the 7 day a week, 24 hour a day responsibility can be exhausting. They may be taking care of a spouse and/or one or more parents, sometimes while raising their own children. It’s a full-time job that they may be doing on top of their regular 9-to-5.
Being a caregiver is a physically, financially, and mentally challenging role. It can include being a chauffeur, a chef, a nurse, a housekeeper, and so much more.
November 13 is National Caregiver Appreciation Day, which is a good time for financial advisors to think about how to make their caregiver-clients’ lives easier. There are a few ways that financial advisors can help their clients who are already caregivers, or are primed to take the role in the future.
Talk to your clients about their role as a caregiver. Find out who they support, what the role consists of, and what their financial concerns are. For those who are not caregivers but plan to be in the future, determine what their expectations are. Pay attention to what they are saying, and even what they aren’t saying. This is not only an opportunity to gather the information you need to create a better financial plan, but also to show you are someone they can trust with their concerns.
Based on what they have said, work on a financial plan that takes the cost of caregiving into consideration. Do you need to make any changes to their investments to keep them on track? Or do they need help budgeting to make sure they aren’t spreading their income too thin? It’s important to stay on top of the finances early, since caregiving gets more complex, and therefore more expensive, over time.
Lastly, your clients may simply need help as a caregiver. Many may feel as though they don’t have an instruction manual, and are just acting off the cuff most of the time. Provide them with resources that can make their lives easier and bring peace of mind. For example, there are local Area Agencies on Aging which can provide a number of services based on what your client may need, such as respite care, caregiver education classes, support groups, or even emergency assistance.
This Caregiver Appreciation Day, show your clients that you have more than their financial best interest at heart by going above and beyond and help your clients with what really matters to them.
1AARP & National Alliance for Caregiving. (2015). Caregivers of older adults: A focused look at those caring for someone age 50+. Most recent data available.