We’d all like to be able to provide for our parents as they grow older, but today’s younger generation is more uncertain of their finances than ever. According to the Federal Reserve, the average U.S. household carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt, and college graduates are leaving senior year with more than $30,000 in student loans. Simply struggling to pay the bill makes caring for Mom and Dad seem impossible, but there are ways to make comfortable care a reality—it all comes down to planning ahead.
It’s a morbid yet necessary subject matter. No one wants to face the inevitable truth that one day our parents will pass on, but preparing for this day cannot be procrastinated. Life insurance and other arrangements should be made sooner than later.
If your parents don’t already have a life insurance policy, get one today. The younger and healthier the policyholder, the lower the premiums will cost for whole life coverage. Assuming there are no serious health issues, premiums can be fairly affordable even for individuals older than 65. Getting this out of the way will create peace of mind and help you focus on other matters.
Here’s an incredible statistic from Pew Research: 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old today and each day after that for the next 16 years. Economists anticipate the massive retirement bubble to have some intense consequences on the U.S., which sounds intimidating to retiring Baby Boomers and their children—but it’s only a small road block if you’re ready.
The advantage Baby Boomers have over Generations X and Y is lower debt and higher accrued wealth in property. Even if they don’t have a substantial 401k, the value in their home could be the icing on the cake toward a more comfortable retirement.
Assisted living doesn’t have to be a last resort for your parents. Think if it as a transition period between their home and full-time care. Places like a continuing care retirement community at Emeritus give seniors a place to go when they can no longer live alone at home but don’t yet require full-time living assistance. Such a transition could be very comfortable for your parents, both physically and socially.
Inviting your parents to live with you during this transition period is noble and may work for some families, but the opportunity to engage in activities with others carries a large amount of benefits. The Boston Globe reports that seniors who spend more time socially engaged with others have lower blood pressure and other physical health benefits.
Caring for retired or soon-to-be retired loved ones doesn’t have to be frightening and uncertain. With just a few simple steps and proper planning, this is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family.