Even for a teenager, I was unusually clueless; sometimes, my wife accuses me of retrograding. But I was an early John Prine adopter, which covers a multitude of sins. Lone among my compadres I had his first album except 8-track was the medium de jour. My crew was hard-core rock and rollers, so no one “borrowed” it. Their loss. The idea someone in their 20s, Prine’s age, writing “Hello in There,” a ballad about old age and loneliness shows how brilliant he was and still is. When I attended the Harvard of the South, aka the University of Georgia, I shared a duplex with my landlord’s elderly uncle, and occasionally he just wanted to talk.
Proper financial planning includes aging successfully; a corollary is paying for chronic illness, which people face as they age. Ten thousand baby boomers turn 65 every day. Currently, 3.5 people are working for every person over age 65. In 40 years, the number drops to 2.5. As the population ages, little thought has been given to who will provide the necessary care.
Eldercare work is physically demanding and emotionally stressful. Oh yeah, not only is the job taxing it is also low-paying. Workers leave home-care agencies when they get a job with better pay or increased benefits. It becomes a challenge to find and keep care providers for elderly relatives; it will get worse.
Family members or friends who provide care face a financial headwind. Less time at work means reduced income, decreased contributions to retirement plans, fewer vacation days, and could affect promotions. Household demographics have changed remarkably over the last 60 years. In 1960, less than 50% of households had both spouses working outside the home, now over 65% of households have dual incomes. The loss of income from providing care could be a financial trainwreck.
Aaron Schindler, a certified financial planner in New York, came up with an innovative solution. Schindler co-founded Care Concengie New York, which has a pool of over 900 home care aides in the metropolitan New York area. Care Concierge New York matches aides with clients by hobbies, pets, health, diet, and language. Families hire aides directly; Shindler’s company is not a home healthcare agency. As mentioned earlier, home care is low-paying; Schindler’s solution removes a layer of management, so aides earn more and have additional commitment to their job.
For too long financial professionals have focused on how to pay for eldercare but finding caregivers may be as challenging as how to pay for it. States around the country offer multiple tax incentives for seniors, but the other side of the coin is states are ill-equipped to fund services for senior citizens. Some American should drop their reflexive xenophobia; immigrants have often filled the jobs gap for Americans.
You can’t always get what you want but Buz Livingston, CFP can help you get what you need. For specific recommendations visit us online at livingstonfinancial.net or come by our office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.