Women helping women: How to take care of family business when you are the caregiver

Women helping women: How to take care of family business when you are the caregiver

 

Chances are good that, at some point in your life, you may end up being a caregiver for someone you love. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 of all adults provide care to an adult loved one or to children.* And, unsurprisingly, 60% of those who do are women.* But there are things you should consider before you take on this rewarding, but potentially stressful role.

 

Help caring for an aging loved one

You don’t have to go it alone

Whether you are considering paying for the care or providing it yourself, it’s important to note that you may not need to do it all alone. In fact, there are many resources for information and even financial help. A few include:

 

  1. The Family Caregiver Alliance at www.caregiver.org—which has many resources for caregivers, including support groups, lists of services in your area, and much more
  2. Your loved one’s life insurance policy (or yours)—which may have a cash balance or a chronic illness rider that can be accessed to help pay for care
  3. Other programs that may pay for an outside caregiver to help alleviate some of the responsibilities (look at BenefitsCheckUp.org and eldercare.gov to name a few)

 

 

Providing the care yourself

More than half of women caregivers still need to work and may even be sandwiched between providing care for older loved ones and children at the same time. It’s important to still be able to take care of yourself financially and emotionally. So, before making the decision to provide care yourself, here are some things you should think about:

  • Can you afford to stay home and for how long?
    • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables you to take 12 weeks unpaid (for your own medical needs or those of others) and return to your same position and salary
    • If you desire to be home longer than 12 weeks, it may not only be your salary you need to replace, but also health insurance and other benefits
    • You should still be saving for retirement—and if you have children—saving for college as well
  • Can you get paid to provide the care?
    • Family may be willing to help you provide the care or meet the costs, so ask them early on  
    • Certain State Medicaid and aging services programs may actually pay you to care for your relative through “participant directed” or “consumer directed” programs (check your state’s aging services and Medicaid sites)
  • Can you earn income on the side?
    • Today there is a thriving “Gig economy” where women can create great income streams on a freelance basis being tutors, tour guides, babysitters, shoppers and more. These jobs enable you to earn an income, while providing flexible schedules. Some great sites for finding gigs include fiverr.com, behance.net, Guru.com, freelancer.com.

 

Regardless of the type of care you hope to provide, Gasber Financial can help you determine not only what the long-term costs involved may be, but also the best ways to afford it.

 

In our next installment, we’ll discuss considerations for providing care for special needs loved ones.

 

 

*http://www.nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/workplace/female-face-family-caregiving.pdf

 

 

 

Why you need to get organized today!

According to a recent study, more than half of all women are now the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) for their households. And given that a growing number of women are also the primary breadwinners, it’s no wonder.* But how are you supposed to manage it all, while balancing your career and family? The first step is to get organized.

 Why?

In the case of an emergency, effective recordkeeping allows you or your loved ones to access the policies, accounts and other documents needed quickly and easily. Plus, it can also help avoid any surprises that can come with bills left unpaid.

 An orderly system also enables you to manage your wealth more effectively. Having all of your financial information in one place allows you to see your true wealth (assets and liabilities) from a holistic perspective. And this can help you to make more effective and more efficient financial decisions.

 How?

Step 1—Get organized

Start by gathering vital information about your family and making an inventory of your critical documents. You want to know what you own, what you owe and how you are protected against certain risks. Regular updating of this list will help you stay current on your financial situation. You should include:

  • Wills, Trusts, and insurance policies
  • All financial account information and passwords
  • Information on monthly bills and debt
  • Passwords, combinations and key locations for security systems, safes or safe deposit boxes
  • Healthcare directives, power of attorney, family information—and more

 One option to consider is using an online organizing system such as Everplans. Everplans is an easy-to-access, secure digital archive where you can store everything described above throughout your life. And, at Gasber Financial we believe so strongly in organizing that we provide all clients with access to their own Everplan account. Find out more at www.everplans.com.

 Step 2—Stay up to date

Having everything in one place makes it easy for you to routinely review your will and other documents.

  1. Make sure your retirement plan beneficiaries are up to date—this is critical because beneficiary designations generally take precedence over almost everything else, including the terms of a will. Retirement plans include workplace 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, as well as IRAs, Roth IRAs and annuities
  2. Ensure your home, auto and life insurance policies are up to date, so they include only the appropriate parties, property, and beneficiaries
  3. Revise your will to represent any changes in your wishes

 Step 3—Ask for help

If this seems overwhelming to you, don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t feel bad if you need it. Very few people cut their own hair or handle their own legal needs—and this is no different. Sometimes you just need an objective professional to help you and that’s what we’re here for.

 

 

* Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, October 2016

https://solutions.naifa.org/majority-of-women-now-responsible-for-household-finances

 

 

 


 

 

 

What do I do next?

New relationships require new strategies

 When you’re just starting a relationship, it’s easy to think that money will never come between you. But, money is one of the top three things couples fight about. So, it’s critical to start out on the right foot. But how do you do that? It might be easier than you think.

 

Things to do right away

 Identify your financial personalities

The first thing you should do is discuss your attitudes toward money. It’s worth identifying your financial personality—saver or spender—and knowing if you’re on the same page or not. Discuss what you each think is important to spend money on and what isn’t, what you’re willing to do without and what you must have now.

 Communicate honestly

It’s important for each of you to understand your existing financial responsibilities. You may have debt you’re paying off, obligations to family or from previous relationships, or any number of things that you each have to pay. Be open and honest about your commitments and try to make sure your partner is as well.

 Put your accounts in order

You may each have a number of bills that you prefer to keep separate, but it is important to have both names on things like utilities. Without that, only one of you can make changes, if they are needed.

 Chances are you will undoubtedly have some joint expenses. So, it’s important to think about how you want to set up your banking.

  • Some couples choose to completely integrate bank accounts and elect one partner to be in charge of the finances.
  • Others may opt to maintain separate checking or cash management accounts—dividing up the expenses and assigning each partner specific financial responsibilities.
  • Some couples choose to start with three accounts: yours, mine and ours. In this scenario, each of you keeps an account to pay your own obligations and you have a joint account from which you pay the bills you share.

 

 Things that can wait

Regardless of how you choose to handle day to day expenses, you need to create savings goals and budgets together and set aside time to review them regularly.

 Updating beneficiaries

When you get married, you need to review the beneficiary designations on any life insurance or retirement accounts. According to federal law, your spouse is automatically the beneficiary on your 401(k), so if, for any reason, you do not wish for your spouse to become your beneficiary, they will need to sign a waiver and have it notarized.

 Set long-term goals

When you’re a team, you probably have new priorities. Whether those goals include children and college, a new house, travel or support for the causes you care about, you need to develop a plan to help you reach these objectives. The right investment strategies will depend on how you view risk and your time frame. For example, how you might save and invest for a vacation will be quite different from how you save for your child to go to medical school.

 Stay realistic

Couples often have preexisting notions about when they need to buy a home, have children, retire and more. But things may not always happen on schedule. The key is to:

 Set and plan for your goals

  • Be realistic about timing (taking a little longer may be better than stressing yourselves too much)
  • Check your progress at regular intervals

And remember that life happens. Your priorities and financial situation can change quickly, but that’s okay. You can still work toward these or new goals using the same tools.

How do you take the stress out of financial decisions?

Here’s how to create focus and use the 10-10-10 rule.

 Have you ever spent hours, days, or even weeks thinking about a decision, researching the options and maybe weighing the potential outcomes? Have you spent so much time doing research and then end up not making a decision? Whether due to perfectionism (which is really anxiety under cover), fear of missing out (FOMO is real) or any number of other concerns, you are definitely not alone.

 Consider that it is easy to get overwhelmed when making decisions about money, jobs, relationships—or really anything that you deem a “big” decision. And it can be just as easy to get overwhelmed even when making a small decision. In fact, the general tendency for many of us is to overthink any decision—especially when it’s a decision that involves your finances or investments or one that costs money.

 

Focus

Here are a few tips that might help:

1.    Think about what your time is worth. How much time (money) is this decision really worth? Saving $50 on a flight, for example, isn’t worth 10 hours of research because your time is worth more than $5 per hour.

2.    Consider that there truly is no perfect decision—how much better will one flight truly be than another? Probably not much.

3.    Focus on your goals—is the flight truly your goal, or is it the trip?

4.    Just make the decision—the truth is that simply having made the decision will often allay more stress than continuing to search for the “perfect flight.”

5.    Remember that almost any decision can be undone.

The 10, 10, 10 rule

Another idea is to make decisions from the perspective of the future using the 10, 10, 10 rule—which simply has you consider how you might feel about a decision in 10 weeks, 10 months and 10 years. Consider that in 10 days you may still be wondering if you made the right decision, or may still be pinched by the financial repercussions, but what about further down the line? Looking at each time frame, ask yourself:

·         What difference will this decision have made in your life?

·         Will the money matter anymore (if that’s part of the issue)?

·         Would you even remember this decision?

·         If you don’t do it, would you wish you had?

·         If you do it, will you be wondering why you were ever stressed about it?

 Using these tips can help put any decision into context and may be the key to helping you live without regret.

Tuning Out the Noise

For investors, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the relentless stream of news about markets. Being
bombarded with data and headlines presented as impactful to your financial well-being can evoke strong
emotional responses from even the most experienced investors. Headlines from the "lost decade"1 can help
illustrate several periods that may have led market participants to question their approach.
  • May 1999: Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes Above 11,000 for the First Time
  • March 2000: Nasdaq Stock Exchange Index Reaches an All-Time High of 5,048
  • April 2000: In Less Than a Month, Nearly a Trillion Dollars of Stock Value Evaporates
  • October 2002: Nasdaq Hits a Bear-Market Low of 1,114
  • September 2005: Home Prices Post Record Gains
  • September 2008: Lehman Files for Bankruptcy, Merrill Is Sold

While these events are now a decade or more behind us, they can still serve as an important reminder for investors today. For many, feelings of elation or despair can accompany headlines like these. We should remember that markets can be volatile and recognize that, in the moment, doing nothing may feel paralyzing. Throughout these ups and downs, however, if one had hypothetically invested $10,000 in US stocks in May 1999 and stayed invested, that investment would be worth approximately $28,000 today.2

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