Caregivers willing to make significant sacrifices

Carleton McHenry, CFP®
McHenry Capital, LLC

Today, people are living longer than ever before, and it is increasingly common to have parents or other relatives living into their 80s, 90s, or older. More and more people are stepping up to provide care and support for older relatives in need. 34 million Americans are now caregivers for aging parents or relatives. The average duration of a caregiver’s role is four years, but one in six caregivers provide care for ten or more years.1

A recent survey of middle-income baby boomers2 reveals the significant sacrifices family members are willing to make due to caregiving responsibilities:

  • 66% will reduce spending

  • 41% will travel less

  • 27% will move to a new home

  • 27% will cut back on hours at work

  • 19% will stop working altogether


Moreover, in addition to time and lifestyle sacrifices, caregivers often contribute financially. Family caregivers spend an average of almost $7,000 annually out of their own pockets on caregiving costs, including household expenses and medical costs.3 One-third (30%) of middle-income Boomers who are caregivers have had to tap into their retirement savings to pay for healthcare expenses, according to the survey.


Providing caregiving can also be a wake-up call for our own potential care needs. Nearly half (45%) now believe they will need long-term care at some point vs. one-third in 2013, the survey revealed. Over half (55%) of middle-income boomers have had detailed conversations about how to pay for long-term care, while two-thirds (66%) have had detailed conversations on how they wish to receive care. Caregivers are more likely to have had detailed conversations with family members about managing their financial affairs than non-caregivers, and are more likely to maintain an up-to-date will (45% vs. 38%).


Boomers also have strong preferences regarding how they want to receive their own care, if needed. A majority of middle-income Boomers (65%) would prefer to receive care in their current home, but more than one-third (37%) of those recognize their home would need significant modifications in order to age in place.


These findings highlight the importance of preparing for potential care needs in later life. Open discussions with family, and taking financial steps to cover the risks of care needs, can help older adults receive the kind of care they prefer and avoid becoming a burden to family members.

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1.  National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.

2. Bankers Life, Caregiving: Expectations and Lifestyle Sacrifices Revealed, August 2019


This publication is designed to provide general information and is for discussion purposes only. The effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon each individual’s facts and circumstances. This article does not provide legal, tax or account advice. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error, the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information is not guaranteed.