Holy s*** my parents are getting old! They are both well into there mid 60’s, divorced, and single.The more I think about my plans for the future the more I realize the realities of becoming a millennial caregiver pursuing financial independence.
My mother will likely need more support than my father because she hasn’t been well after the divorce, financially or emotionally.
This post is my attempt at developing a plan to be a millennial caregiver pursing financial independence.
**Also if anyone has any advice please feel free to comment below. Thinking this through was more complicated than I expected.**
How much support money will my Mom need?
First let me preface this by saying that by no means am I ‘upset’ by the fact that I feel I have to ‘help’ my mom. She’s spent her life making sure I know that I’m the most important thing to her. Therefore, if I have to delay something, or work extra, so be it. After living in Asia where grandparents are the foundation in every family, and nursing homes are ghost towns, I refuse to use words like “burden” for my family.
Also, I’m fortunate to be the youngest of three children, which means that I could potentially split some of these expenses. I’m going to plan as if I don’t get any support from my siblings because I would rather be safe than sorry. I also don’t want to cause any unnecessary tension.
The 3 Phases of Support
To make estimating how much supporting an aging parent would cost, I divided the support into 3 Phases: Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3
First, My Mom will need gradual support as she ages. She is 65 years old, employed, in good health, and sound mind. However, she has a low income that pays enough to cover basic bills. The best support I can provide today would be on things that exceed her basic needs, i.e. plane tickets to visit family, new phones, a new appliance. You know things that could improve her life, but are not required. They will most likely be masked as birthday and Christmas gifts. I’m currently in Phase 1. I’m going to estimate the cost of phase 1 at $500 per year ($42 /month).
Phase 2 will consist of paying some of my Mom’s basic living expenses. For example, a cell phone or utility bill. I imagine by this time she would be working a job that is a little less demanding and even lower pay. She has plans of moving back to her home town, I think this phase will start whenever that happens. Lets estimate the cost of phase 2 at $1200 a year ($100/month). This stage is still not that that bad. I can provide this type of support without changing much about my life.
Phase 3 is when I will take on more than half of my mothers living expenses. I assume this stage will start after she stops working. She will begin to live on whatever savings she has accumulated over the past 10 years. This is when it will be best for her to move in with me or one of my siblings. I think the cost to support her without having her live with me would be too high. Unfortunately, I think my mom will live out the rest of her life probably living with one of us. Lets estimate the cost of phase 3 from $500 – $1500 per month ($6,000 – $18000).
How will I pay for it?
Given that I’m estimating the cost of caring for an aging parent correctly [Which I’m almost certain I’m not]. I can afford phase 1 and 2 without much assistance from my siblings.
Phase 3 may be a different story, since I know that I may be a little short on cash what are my options?
Here is what I came up with:
- Encourage my Mom to earn and save as much as she can between now and the time that she gets to Phase 3.
- Lean on my siblings to help cover cost.
- Plan to make enough money to cover all of the cost.
Of course the best solution is a combination of all three.
Unfortunately, the only thing that I can control directly without potentially destroying a family relationship is “me making enough money to cover all of the cost.”
Millennial Caregiver: Conclusion
At first glance, It seems like I would need to add an additional $18,000 per year (being conservative). Then again, it all depends on how long my mom spends in each phase and how much she saves between now and then, and if I plan to take on all of my mothers expenses.
Is there an easier way to calculate how much to account for an aging parent? Please comment below if you can help! Does anyone have any experience with being a millennial caregiver? What am I missing?