Financial Self-Care for Caregivers

Self-care isn’t selfish. That’s the popular phrase going around social media promoting caring for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. But what about financially? For many people, financial self-care is somewhat unheard of yet very necessary. Now, imagine an unpaid caregiver. It could be a parent caring for their disabled child or a child caring for their ill parent. Either way, they probably need self-care more than the rest of us. 68% of family caregivers provided financial support.1 Physical and emotional support are already so draining—add financial support into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for distress.

  1. Create a Budget

Creating a spreadsheet of expenses versus income for yourself and your loved one allows a realistic prediction of how much you’ll need to continue providing care while still maintaining your life. You can look for ways to save and cut expenses. Budgeting for your loved one will ensure that they are financially stable or can open the door for assistance programs.

  1. Don’t Take on Extra Debt

We would do anything for our loved ones. Often, we even prioritize their needs over our own when caregiving. Remember to avoid taking on extra debt. The entire caregiving process takes a toll, but it’s done out of love. Many times, the person needing care doesn’t ask for this, but the caregiver feels obligated to do all they can to elevate any stress. What the caregiver often doesn’t realize is that they’re adding to their own stress.

  1. Don’t Forget About Your Emergency Funds

Your emergency funds are important. It may be difficult but continuing to contribute to your emergency fund is crucial to caring for yourself and your family. Try not to dip into it much, if at all. The fund should be saved for true, personal emergencies such as home damage, loss of income, or high-cost medical needs. If you do take a withdrawal, try to replenish as soon as possible to avoid draining your savings.

  1. Prioritize Your Retirement Planning & Savings

Your loved one may or may not have retirement savings. As a caregiver, you’ll see the potential disadvantage of not being fully prepared for retirement. Caregiving takes a physical and mental toll. It also often takes a financial toll because many opt to work less or not at all. Even if you’re in that boat, make minimum contributions to an IRA or 401(k) to provide a stable retirement for yourself.

  1. Prepare for Your Future Now

Whether caring for your loved one was planned or not, start preparing for your future. You may or may not need a caregiver, but rather than have the uncertainty, start making an action plan. You can self-research or meet with a professional about Long Term Care coverage, power of attorney, a will, and a designated person to trust with account information. Planning ahead not only saves a headache down the line but can possibly also prevent any unforeseen mishaps.

  1. Reach Out for Support

Providing solo care is tough. Many times, caregivers don’t ask for help because they don’t want to burden anyone. But by asking another family member or two for assistance, you can potentially elevate a lot of stress and work.

  1. Get Reliable Financial & Legal Advice

There are many financial and legal options to consider, especially while being a caregiver. Preparing for your future should be just as important as caring for your loved ones. Speak with a financial professional or legal professional to discuss options such as creating a will or living will, power of attorney, or retirement savings options.

Next Step

While caring for your finances should be a priority, the most important concern should be your health. Don’t forget to take time off from giving care if possible. Even just an hour or two of complete self-care can promote better physical and mental health, which will not only better the caregiver but potentially better the care that is given. Taking on the caregiver role is honorable but also strenuous. Make sure to continually care for yourself and finances. Working with a financial professional can lift unnecessary worry regarding finances so the main focus can be self-care and caring for loved ones. We know your time is limited, which is why we’re proud to be a one-stop-shop with financial consultants, estate planning attorneys, a CPA, and much more on sight to get all your retirement needs in order. Call us at 1-800-467-8152 or email at info@ronaldgelok.com to schedule a complimentary 30-minute phone or in-person conversation about your finances.