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Hard Conversations

Hard Conversations

Originally aired 9/8/2021

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Sometimes being 🎶stuck in the middle with you🎶 means having to have some hard conversations. In this episode of the Get Ready For The Future Show, talking all about the most difficult decisions to make with your parents (and why together you need to make them).

You’ll learn:
– A major misconception about the cost of healthcare
– Important questions you should discuss with your parents
– A surprising drain on your money and time (and how to avoid it)

Downloadable Content:

What’s the Plan? A Manifesto for Your Life, Your Worth, and What Happens Next

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SHOW NOTES

Stuck in the Middle with You

  • Being in the sandwiched generation can come with a lot of pressure.
    • You’re caring for your own financial needs. You’re likely looking after children (or guiding newly-adult children through entering the real world). And you may be dealing with the caretaking needs of your parents.
  • You’re not the only one trying to balance all this:
    • Today, more than 1 in 5 Americans (21.3 percent) are caregivers, having provided care to an adult or child with special needs at some time in the past 12 months.
    • This totals an estimated 53.0 million adults in the United States, up from the estimated 43.5 million caregivers in 2015.
  • While caretaking has long been a factor to consider in retirement planning, longer lives add a layer of complexity – increased longevity means more years of healthcare to afford.
    • The average couple is expected to need $285,000 in today’s dollars for medical expenses in retirement, excluding long-term care. (SOURCE: Jackson National Life)
    • While costs for healthcare continue to rise, Americans’ understanding of how much healthcare will cost them is not keeping up.
      • The average pre-retiree aged 50 and over underestimates their healthcare costs in retirement by approximately 30%. (SOURCE: Jackson National Life)
  • Costs that weren’t planned for can eventually fall to other family members, and while Americans tend to underestimate their own retirement and healthcare costs, they also underestimate their relatives’ healthcare and caretaking expenses.
    • The average non-professional caretaker spends $7,000 a year in the U.S. on their loved one who needs care.
    • This money often comes out of the caretakers’ retirement funds to cover these unplanned costs.
    • AARP estimates that caregivers are spending approximately 20% of their income on caring for loved ones.
  • These are just the obvious direct costs of caretaking. The indirect costs can have an even more drastic impact on financial well-being:
    • Caretaking can require time away from work, which usually means missed opportunities for promotions and pay increases.
    • These missed pay increases turn into missed investment earnings, as this income could have been growing wealth in a 401(k) or another retirement plan.
  • While it can be a challenge to navigate, you can balance your own financial needs (both for now and your future) and the caretaking needs of your parents.
  • #1 – Start the conversation early
    • Many people wait for a crisis before they talk to their parents about their preferences for healthcare or their financial situation.
    • While having these conversations isn’t fun, waiting until this moment can lead to more reactionary decision making, potentially not accounting for other important life details.
  • We’ve got 10 ways to shift your perspective of financial planning with our free download What’s the Plan? A Manifesto for Your Life, Your Worth, and What Happens Next.

So Scared of Getting Older, I’m Only Good at Being Young

  • #2 – Where, Who, and How?
    • Where would they like to receive care?
      • Most people respond to the ‘where’ question by saying “at home.”
      • Exploring alternatives, such as adult family homes and assisted living facilities in your area, can be worth their consideration, however.
      • Your loved ones may be surprised to find vibrant communities with shared gardens, engaging activities, and wonderful people.
    • Who would they like to provide care?
      • There should be more than one care provider to fill the role of caretaker.
        • Families commonly make the mistake of only designating one individual, typically a spouse or daughter, to do the bulk of caregiving.
      • The burden of caring for an aging parent can fall just as heavily on time and health as it does on financial resources.
      • There should be a team of caregivers who can step in for one another consistently.
        • All healthcare providers, informal and formal, function better, and provide better care, as part of a team.
    • How will care be paid for?
      • When it comes to paying for care, there are three common options: out of pocket, long-term care insurance (LTC), and Medicaid.
      • AARP currently estimates that 52% of retirees will need LTC, so it is important to know if your parents already have this in place.
      • Only 41% of older adults are confident in their plan to pay for long-term care expenses.
        • Despite their concerns, more than a third (36%) have not discussed long-term care costs with anyone including a spouse, partner, children, or financial advisor.
        • Less than a third (32%) of older adults plan on discussing long-term care costs with a financial advisor.

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

  • Estate planning is an important part of financial planning.
    • Without the proper planning, the Probate process can easily take 12-18 months, even with an uncontested Estate.
    • A will isn’t enough to keep your assets out of Probate.
      • Attorney’s fees and court costs can easily eat up 5% or more of the entire Probate Estate.
      • At a fraction of the cost, even complex Estates can be set up and administered at a significant discount for both the clients during their lifetimes and their eventual heirs.
    • If you want to choose who will inherit what among your possessions and valuables, you need to do some estate planning.
    • Estate planning allows you the ability to name your children’s guardian in the event of your premature death.
    • Reducing taxes on what you leave behind is a common estate planning goal.
    • Estate planning minimizes the chances of family strife and ugly legal battles.
  • Make sure your beneficiaries are in order on your accounts.
    • While many of us ensure that other important documents such as wills are updated on a regular basis, we tend to forget the designations on our individual retirement (IRA) and 401(k) accounts.
    • They’re easy to overlook. After all, you filled in a name when you established the account ages ago and have had no need to look at the registration paperwork since.
      • But to ensure your wishes are followed after you go, check those designations periodically and keep the beneficiaries current.
    • Retirement account beneficiary designations trump will and trust directives, so they need to be periodically checked and updated.
    • Beneficiary designations should be reviewed immediately after major life events like a remarriage or divorce, the death of a spouse, or the adoption or birth of a child.

It Just Takes Some Time, Little Girl, You’re in the Middle of the Ride

  • Having these conversations with your parents can be hard.
    • The way we see it, if you can withstand the brief discomfort of these conversations now, both you and your parents can have a better understanding of what the future looks like.
    • This discomfort is far less than the discomfort of not having a plan and scrambling to make things work in a crisis.
      • You deserve more than this. Your parents deserve more than this.
  • Hope isn’t a plan.
    • You need a real financial plan, on paper, on purpose.
  • A financial advisor can help you navigate these difficult conversations and plan for a future you and your parents deserve.
  • The GenWealth Ready to Retire Process:
    • 7 key areas:
      • Investment strategy
      • Social Security Maximization
      • Creating guaranteed income to meet your basic needs
      • Protect against inflation and providing for lifestyle income
      • Address long-term care needs
      • Reducing taxes during retirement
      • All documented in a written plan (on paper, on purpose)

FINAL THOUGHTS

    • Hard conversations aren’t fun, but they’re necessary.
      • A relationship with a financial advisor can help you navigate these discussions and work toward the outcome you and your parents want.
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    • Having these conversations early keeps you from having to operate in emergency mode with unanswered questions.
      • Hoping it works out isn’t a plan
  •  
    • We’ve got 10 ways to shift your perspective of financial planning with our free download What’s the Plan? A Manifesto for Your Life, Your Worth, and What Happens Next.