Sandra Adams

Long Term Care Premium Increases — Things to Consider if You Receive a Notice

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

Long Term Care Premium Increases

No one likes to receive a letter stating that their premiums are going up — especially with a Long Term Care insurance policy that already seems relatively expensive. Unfortunately, when you own something other than a “paid up” Long Term Care Insurance Policy, the question is not if but when you might receive such a notice. To review, remember that the law allows insurers to apply to regulators for an increase in premiums.

Increases are allowed only if they apply to all policyholders and the company’s data shows current premiums will not cover current and future claims based on costs, projected interest rates, projected increases in claims or length of claims. (Companies cannot increase premiums for specific individuals based on increases in age, gender, health conditions, or filing of a claim.)

Taking the time to make an educated decision about your options when a premium increase occurs is crucial when it comes to Long Term Care insurance, especially as you get older. The more time passes, the greater the likelihood that you might need this type of insurance.

If you are faced with a premium increase, you typically have a limited number of options: 

  1. Pay the increased premium and keep your current coverage.

  2. Continue to pay your current premium or a reduced premium and accept some combination of reduced benefits (likely in this category, your Long Term Care insurance company will offer you a short list of options from which to choose). *NOTE: We have recently discovered that the list of options provided WITH the premium increase are not the only options. If you wish to consider additional options, you (and/or you advisor) can contact the Long Term Care company to request additional options. For example, a client in their mid-80s may consider an option to discontinue the compound inflation rider going forward and considerably decrease the premium. The added benefit for someone in their mid-80s is negligible at that point.

  3. Take the Contingent Non-Forfeiture Option. If the percentage of premium increase is at a certain level, you may be able to stop paying premiums, and you would be entitled to a long-term care benefit based on the amount of premium dollars you have already paid.

It makes sense to carefully weigh your options when it comes to the Long Term Care insurance decision. Understand that you have full control. The Long Term Care insurance company will provide additional options if you request them — but you have to ask. And work with your financial advisor to review your options and see what makes sense. The only option that likely DOES NOT make sense is NOT writing the check to the Long Term Care insurance company at all!

Sandra Adams, CFP®, CeFT™, is a Partner and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® She specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and serves as a trusted source for national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine, and Journal of Financial Planning.

A Dementia Diagnosis and Your Financial Plan

dementia diagnosis and your financial plan

The inevitable has happened. You or someone you love has received the dreaded diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or one of many related dementias. You feel like your world is in a tail spin; you don’t know which end is up, and you certainly don’t know where to start planning…especially from a financial perspective. What should you do?

First, discuss the diagnosis with your financial advisor. Communicate your fears and concerns, and ask for help to make sure that all of your financial “ducks” are in row.

You can check these things off the list now:

  • Make sure that important documents are in place assigning advocates who will handle health care and financial affairs when you (or your loved one) are unable to handle them. **Coordinate this with your estate planning attorney.

  • Also, make sure that beneficiaries and estate planning documents are updated to reflect current wishes.

  • From an organizational standpoint, this is a perfect time to make sure everything is organized, documented (see our Personal Financial Record Keeping Document for help), simplified as much as possible (think consolidating accounts held by multiple firms), and titled properly.

At some point, your financial advisor may want to help you look at additional retirement/financial independence scenarios that include long-term care expenses faced by those who have dementia/Alzheimer’s. This will give you the opportunity to look at the adjustments you may need to make immediately or in the near term.

As time goes on and costs increase, which may be a few months or years depending on disease progression, additional retirement distribution planning may both stretch available dollars and strategize tax efficiencies based on tax law at the time. For instance, in years with very high medical costs/deductions, it may make sense to take distributions from IRAs, so the medical deductions offset the taxable income from the distributions.

It is also extremely important to review all insurances (Long Term Care, life insurances with terminal illness or LTC riders, annuities with such riders, etc.) to understand how they work and how they may benefit you in the future.

Planning with your family

Aside from the purely financial considerations, it is critical to have a conversation with your family about your care (who, where, etc.), your money, your quality of life, and the overall plan for your last phase of life with your new diagnosis, so that everyone is on the same page, with a coordinated plan.

Everyone should know the available resources, the players, and your desires. Having helped families in these situations, I know those who work together and understand the desires of their loved one, no matter what the financial situation, are able to get through tough times and support their loved one much more successfully than those who don’t.

Above all, ask for help, from your advisors, from your family, from your friends and community supports (church, community groups, etc.). You can’t, and shouldn’t, go it alone. If you or someone you know is facing a dementia challenge and needs to plan, please let us know. We are here to help.

Sandra Adams, CFP®, CeFT™ is a Partner and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® She specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and serves as a trusted source for national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine, and Journal of Financial Planning.


Raymond James does not provide tax or legal services. Please discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.

The One Mistake You DON’T Want to Make with Your Long Term Care Insurance

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

If you’re reading this, you are likely among the few people who have planned ahead and purchased Long Term Care insurance. By doing this, you intend to protect yourself and your family, and hedge your assets against the possible threat of a long-term care event (need for care in your home, assisted living or nursing home).

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Given that only about 15% of Americans own Long Term Care insurance (Fidelity 2016) and 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care services for cognitive or physical impairment (HealthView Insights 2014), you will likely need the insurance you’ve purchased. The question is, will you use your Long Term Care insurance when the time comes?

I have had several client experiences that looked like this:

  • The client was at or near a point of qualifying for benefits under their Long Term Care insurance for either physical or cognitive reasons;

  • The client and/or the family made the decision to not begin the claim process. Why? They wanted to wait a while longer, continue to try to care for the client on their own, save the Long Term Care insurance benefits for later, when they really needed them.

  • The results in nearly all of these cases? The clients either never filed a claim or filed far too late, ended up in a long-term care facility, and ultimately passed away without ever receiving the policy benefits for which they had made years – even decades – of payments.

In my experience as a financial advisor, I have never had a client run out of a Long Term Care benefit pool. I am not here to tell you that it does not happen – it certainly can. But I am here to tell you that I do not believe it happens often. I have searched far and wide for statistics that would show how often it happens and cannot find a number!

Although your Long Term Care insurance company would prefer that you wait to put in your claim, I recommend that you do so as soon as you are eligible. You can always stop the benefits if you no longer need them, then restart later. And if you max out your benefits, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you received 100% of your benefits and protected your assets to the greatest possible degree. Don’t lose out (or let your parents lose out) on the Long Term Care insurance benefits they have purchased!

If you have questions or need additional guidance on this or related issues, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to help! Sandy.Adams@centerfinplan.com

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


Any opinions are those of Sandra D. Adams, CFP® and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Long Term Care Insurance or Asset Based Long Term Care Insurance Products may not be suitable for all investors. Surrender charges may apply for early withdrawals and, if made prior to age 59 1⁄2, may be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty in addition to any gains being taxed as ordinary income. Please consult with a licensed financial professional when considering your insurance options. These policies have exclusions and/or limitations. The cost and availability of Long Term Care insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. As with most financial decisions, there are expenses associated with the purchase of Long Term Care insurance. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the insurance company.

Are You Retirement Ready?

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

In our work with clients, one of the most common questions we get is, “How will we know when we are ready (and able) to retire?”  That can be a tricky question, because there are two sides to being ready for the next phase of your life – the technical side and the personal side.  While certainly you need to be financially secure for the next decades of your life, you also need to be comfortable with the transition from your life as a career individual to what you now wish to become in your next phase – and that is not as easy as it sounds.

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From a financial-readiness perspective, many clients target age, monetary or benefit milestones to help them determine when they will be ready to retire:

  • “When I have $1 million in assets saved, I will be ready to retire.”

  • “When I am eligible to collect Social Security, I will be ready to retire.”

  • “When I am eligible to collect my company pension OR I have reached my XX anniversary with my company, I will be ready to retire.”

  • “When I am eligible to receive Medicare, I will be ready to retire.”

The real answer is, some or all of these may be true for you, and some or all of these may be false.Every client situation is different and no general guideline can determine whether or not you are financially ready to retire. Unfortunately, it is far more complicated than that. There are numerous financial factors that go into determining financial readiness.Let’s take a deeper look into the issues.

Financial Readiness Issues:

Retirement Savings:

Do you have enough saved?

  • What might your other retirement income sources be (Social Security, Pensions, etc.)

  • How much income will you need (what are your fixed costs versus lifestyle wants in retirement), and

  • What are your longevity expectations (how long might you expect to live based on health, family history, etc.—expect it will be longer than you think!).

Where are your savings?

  • Do you have retirement savings outside of retirement plans?

  • Do you have some after-tax and reserve cash/emergency reserve savings?

  • Do you have different types of accounts to provide tax diversification going into retirement (i.e. IRAs/401(k)s, ROTH IRAs, after tax investment accounts)?

Debt:

Have you paid down your debt or do you have a plan to be as debt free as possible by the time you retire?  This will allow you to control your retirement income for other fixed expenses and wants; it is desirable to have as little debt/fixed expenses as possible going into retirement as possible.

Retirement Income:

A large part to being retirement ready is understanding your retirement income sources, options and strategies and using them to your best advantage.  Take the time to consult with your planner to choose the option that works best for you and your family circumstance.

  • Pensions: Do you understand all your options, including the income options available to your spouse as a survivor upon your death.  We find that in many cases it makes sense to choose an option that includes a lifetime income option for you with at least a 65% survivor income benefit for your spouse if you were to die first.

  • Social Security: While many are under the false impression that because you are allowed to take Social Security benefits as early as age 62, they should, we might recommend otherwise.  For most individuals now approaching Social Security claiming age, Full Retirement Age for claiming Social Security is now age 66 and delaying benefits until age 70 results in an 8% per year increase in benefits.  Knowing and understanding the Social Security benefits, rules and strategies that can be employed, especially for married couples, to ensure the largest lifetime benefit can be an added supplement to long-term retirement income. We find that our most successful married couples in retirement employ a strategy where the lower Social Security earner draws at Full Retirement age while the higher Social Security earner waits to draw at age 70, insuring the highest possible Social Security benefit for the spouse that lives the longest.

Investments:

Preparing for retirement involves making appropriate adjustments to your investment strategy.  You should work with your financial planner to adjust your asset allocation to one that is appropriate for your new goals and time horizon. We find that our most successful retirees tend to have asset allocations ranging from 40% Bond/60% Stock to 50% Bond/50% Stock.

Insurance:

  • For those retiring before age 65 (Medicare eligibility) and without retiree healthcare, finding health insurance to bridge them to Medicare is a must. 

  • Retirement readiness does require addressing the issue of Long Term Care funding Having a plan, no matter what your choice, is something that must be done before retirement.

Estate Planning:

While not exactly monetary, having your estate planning documents (Durable Powers of Attorney, Wills and possibly Trust or Trusts in place) updated prior to retirement is a good idea.Part of this is making sure accounts are titled properly, beneficiaries are updated, and account holdings/locations and management are as simplified as possible going into your last phase of life.

Once you have determined your financial retirement readiness, you need to determine your personal retirement readiness, which may be even more difficult for many folks.  Why?  Many have spent the majority of their lifetimes to this point building careers that established them with titles, credentials and stature. They built reputations, networks, social and business circles and were well respected because of the work that they have done.  And now they are moving from that phase of their lives to another and that means starting over.  What will they be now?  What will their lives mean?  And to whom?

Until you are ready to start the next phase of your life knowing your purpose – what you want to wake up for every day – you are likely not ready for retirement.  Those that have not given the thought to their mission, values, and their “why” for their next phase will be left feeling lost and will likely fail at retirement and find themselves wanting to go back to their former lives.

How can you find your purpose?

  • Ask yourself what is most important to you? (family, friends, spirituality, charity,etc)

  • Ask yourself what are your life priorities? (family, health, knowledge, etc.)

  • Ask yourself what you want to let go of and what you want to give yourself to.

  • Realize that the rest of your life can be the best of your life if you embrace it with an open mind and enthusiasm.

  • Consider reading the book “Purposeful Retirement” by Hyrum Smith if you need more help!

“Am I ready to retire?”  It is not a simple question and there is no simple answer.  It may take months or years to answer all of the questions and make all of the preparations.  If you think that retirement is in your not too distant future, the time is NOW to start planning.  Don’t let retirement sneak up on you…work with your financial planner and be Retirement Ready!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

When the Rubber Hits the Road: Steps to Take When you Find that you are Behind on your Retirement Savings

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

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So here you are.  You find yourself happily on cruise control — you seem to be making more money every year, you have the house and cars you always wanted, the kids are now in college and you take the family vacations you want when you want to take them.  And then — bam — traffic comes to a stop.  What?  How can this be?  How can we already be in our mid-50’s?  How can retirement be so close? How is it possible that we haven’t saved more towards our own retirement by now?  What do we do to make it to our goal on time?

If this sounds anything like you, you are not alone.  We find that many clients come to us looking for assistance with their retirement late in the game. They may not have balanced their multiple financial goals as evenly as they should or could have and they find themselves behind in their retirement goals as they approach their retirement years. 

The good news is that it is possible to get yourself back on track by taking few action steps:

  1. Make sure you have a strong savings/emergency reserve fund. At a minimum, this is 3 - 6 months’ worth of living expenses.

  2. Make sure all unnecessary and high interest rate debt is paid off; if this has accumulated, it is likely a result of no emergency reserve fund.

  3. Attempt to maximize your contributions to your employer retirement plans (start by making sure you are meeting any company match, and increase your contributions over time to meet the maximum contribution as cash flow allows; ramping up contributions is more crucial if your time frame towards retirement is shorter). *See here for our blog on 2018 retirement plan contribution limits.

  4. If you are able to save beyond your maximum employer retirement plan contributions, consider savings in either a ROTH IRA (if you are eligible under the current income limitations) or in an after-tax investment account to create diversification in your retirement investment portfolio. What we mean here is that we want to have different tax buckets to draw from in retirement — we don’t want every dollar you access for income in retirement to be taxable in the same way.

  5. And lastly, partner with a financial planner to keep yourself and your retirement savings plan on track until retirement. Having an accountability and decision making partner to help you determine where best to save, when and how to save more, when you might realistically be able to retire and how much you might be able to spend is crucial to a successful retirement.

It is easy to cruise through life and forget how quickly time is passing us by.  Before we know it, important life milestones are creeping up on us before we are prepared for them.  With the help of a financial planner, you can get yourself back on track and ready to meet the goals you’ve always dreamed of.  If we can be of help to you or anyone you know who might be in this situation, give us a call.  We are always happy to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


Any opinions are those of Sandra Adams and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Roth IRA owners must be 591⁄2 or older and have held the IRA for five years before tax-free withdrawals are permitted. Like Traditional IRAs, contribution limits apply to Roth IRAs. In addition, with a Roth IRA, your allowable contribution may be reduced or eliminated if your annual income exceeds certain limits. Contributions to a Roth IRA are never tax deductible, but if certain conditions are met, distributions will be completely income tax free. Diversification and asset allocation do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Raymond James is not affiliated with any of the companies listed above. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

When It Might Make Sense to Distribute an IRA Account

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

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As you might imagine, most financial planners (and most clients) have a preference for stretching the distribution of their IRA (or other qualified retirement) accounts over long periods of time so as to lessen the income tax burden on those accounts over many years.  And, if possible, most clients would prefer the ability to leave dollars in those accounts to their children and grandchildren as a form of legacy/inheritance. However, as life circumstances change, it sometimes makes sense to keep an open mind about how we view the distribution of those accounts. 

In our experience, we have found that it sometimes makes sense to consider accelerating the distribution of IRAs/qualified retirement accounts when the following circumstances are present:

  • Owner of the IRA is an older adult (in this context, meaning beyond RMD status)

  • IRA/Qualified Retirement Accounts are smaller accounts within the clients overall investment portfolio (i.e. have a $30k IRA and have other investment accounts/bank accounts to draw from)

  • Are likely in a lower tax bracket than the heirs they might be leaving the assets to

  • May have medical/health care costs to write off to offset the income from the potential income from IRA/qualified account distributions

While these circumstances certainly will not apply to MOST clients, they might apply to a select few. When they do, this strategy can not only save significant tax dollars but can simplify the distribution of an estate long term by avoiding the division of a small IRA amongst multiple beneficiaries.

If you or your family have questions about whether this strategy might apply to you or someone you know, please reach out to our Center Team.  We are always happy to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary of all available data necessary for making a financial decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person's situation. Raymond James does not provide tax advice. You should consult a tax professional for any tax matters related to your individual situation.

Can You Have a Purposeful Retirement?

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

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It is quite often we find ourselves as financial planners delivering the good news to clients that their financial plans are on solid footing and their retirement goals are on track, only to hear from the client that they still don’t feel that they are “ready” to retire.  These clients, while financially prepared, express that they don’t feel they have put enough planning into the practical side of retirement – what will we do every day that will give our lives meaning, purpose and joy?

A book I found recently gives guidance for clients struggling to design the next phase of their lives. Hyrum Smith, the author of Purposeful Retirement: How to Bring Happiness and Meaning to Your Retirement, provides tips, tools, and stories based on his journey through this very process.  In his words, “The rest of your life can be the best of your life” if you have the right attitude, embrace this stage, and bring enthusiasm to the process.  He finds that folks entering this phase are in one of two camps – those who can’t wait and those who will need to be dragged into it kicking and screaming.  It is important to identify which camp you are in and check your attitude at the door.

Takeaways from “Purposeful Retirement”:

  • Being proactive is the key to transitioning well into retirement. If you simply let yourself drift into retirement, you can become lost without the purpose or structure that your work life provided.

  • Take charge of planning your next phase by defining your mission, your purpose and core values which will help direct how you spend your time in retirement.

  • The book offers options for how to take your purpose and translate it into action on a weekly and daily basis.

  • Fear or losing your identity or role is a key fear for many entering retirements. For those folks, asking, “How will I make a difference?” will help fill that gap.

  • For many, retirement is not a solo endeavor (we do it with our spouse). The book offers lessons on how to retire well as a couple and make adjustments that may need to be discussed and made to make retirement successful for both of you.

  • Just because you are entering into the last phase of your life doesn’t mean you are dead yet! This can be your most successful, joyful, fulfilling phase of your life – if you are intentional and embrace it with enthusiasm.

Financially planning for your retirement is just the first step in the process.  Emotionally and psychologically planning for the last phase of your life may be the more challenging part for some – especially if you don’t want to coast to the end.  “Purposeful Retirement” may be a good place to start, and/or or have a conversation with your financial planner about other ways to help you plan your NEXT best phase of life.  We are always here to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

5 Estate Planning Action Steps to Stay in Control of Your Future

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

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I recently attended a 2-day training in Elder Mediation.  Coming from a world in which we work with our clients on a regular basis to make sure estate planning documents are in place and up-to-date, I was alarmed to learn that less than 45% of the U.S. adult population has an active will or durable powers of attorney in place (2017 Caring.com Study). Unfortunately, when these documents are not in place, and the adult (at any age) becomes unable to make decisions for themselves, the court must appoint someone...and families aren’t always in agreement.

According to a 2013 AARP report, there was an estimated 1.5 million older adults with court-appointed guardians; record keeping in many constituencies is not accurate nor complete.  A guardian is appointed to make medical and care decisions for someone who is unable to make decisions for themselves; a conservator is appointed to make financial decisions and handle financial affairs for someone who is unable to handle those duties on their own behalf.  And if the family disagrees about who should be appointed to any/either of these roles, they can voluntarily seek mediation to resolve their differences or the court may order mediation.  In many cases, a family member is ultimately appointed to these roles, but in some cases a third party is appointed to serve in these roles as ordered by the court, leaving the fate of the older adult in the hands of someone who doesn’t know them or their wishes well.

Doing the work now to get documents and plans in place can save you and your family unnecessary stress and anxiety in the future, and can help to make sure that the wishes you have for yourself and your future are carried out even if you are no longer the director of those decisions. 

What action steps can you take now to make sure you maintain ultimate control over what happens to you if/when you can no longer make decisions for yourself?

To ensure that you have the ability to name who you wish to make decisions for you when it is time, I recommend taking the following steps:

1. Make sure you have up-to-date estate planning documents and review them often.  The most important documents to have in place during your lifetime are Durable Powers of Attorney — General/Financial AND Health Care (also known as a Patient Advocate Designation).  Additionally, you may want/need to have a Revocable Living Trust and a Will.

2. Consider drafting your Durable Power of Attorney documents as “Immediate” rather than “Springing”.  Immediate Powers of Attorney allow your advocate to act on your behalf immediately or at any time that you need them to, while a Springing Power of Attorney generally requires two doctors to declare you incompetent to make your own decisions before your advocate can act on your behalf.

3. Be clear and specific about your wishes for your future medical care, personal care and handling of your financial affairs.  Put things in writing and communicate your wishes to your family members and/or key people in your life.  Consider a family meeting to discuss your future wishes and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

4. Plan ahead.  It is never possible to plan for every contingency, but if you are able to plan for things that might happen (chronic health issues, incapacity, etc.), you and your finances can have a better chance of surviving.  Document your plans and communicate them to those that may be in charge of handling your affairs in the future if/when you cannot.

5. Put a team in place before it becomes necessary.  Make sure your financial planner, CPA, Attorney, any healthcare professionals and your family know your plan and your wishes and know one another so that they can carry out your plan when you might not be able to give clear directions.

If you or your family have questions or would like guidance on how to get these plans in place, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We are always here to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


The information contained in this blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Sandra Adams and not necessarily those of Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

Caregiver Work/Life Balance

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

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According to the AARP, of the over 40 million Americans acting as a caregiver for a loved one over the age of 50, 6 in 10 of them are doing so while still trying to earn a living. As we have written about previously, caregiving can take a tremendous financial toll on family members and can cause real issues with caregivers’ own retirement planning. In talking to caregiver clients, it’s not just the financial implications of being a working caregiver that become the biggest issue...it’s the overall impact on one’s life.

How can a working caregiver have a balanced life with so many roles and responsibilities? 

  1. Take advantage of any paid caregiver time off or flexibility that you may have with your job. Make sure you have open and honest conversations with your employer about what is going on in your life and your caregiving duties so that they can help you make your job and caregiver duties work for you.

  2. Seek out community resources and information that will help connect you with needed services - you don’t have to do it all alone! Agencies, community and faith-based are available to help you meet your loved one’s needs and allow you to continue to have a career.

  3. Seek the help of professionals that you can delegate responsibilities for financial planning, investments, bill paying, taxes, care management, etc.

  4. Determine your eligibility for various programs that could give you more support and receive all the benefits to which your loved one is entitled at BenefitsCheckUp.org.

  5. Keep yourself organized. Coordinate and organize your time, activities and paperwork. Find a system that works for you (paper, electronic, etc.). i.e., schedule appointments all on the same day, at the end or beginning of days to make things work better with your work and family schedule.

  6. Find time for yourself. As a caregiver, if you don’t have time to enjoy time for yourself and de-stress, things will only become more chaotic, stressful and out-of-balance. Find our Working Caregiver Bill of Rights here. After all, if you aren’t taken care of, you can’t take care of the one you love!

As impossible as it often seems, there is a way to have some balance in your life if you are a working caregiver.  It takes careful planning, organization, communication, and use of resources.  If you are a working caregiver and would like assistance in planning for your balanced life, give us a call.  We are always happy to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


Opinions expressed are those of Sandra Adams and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

New Legislation is Hoping to Help Caregivers

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

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Being a caregiver for a family member presents real-world challenges from an emotional and financial perspective.  The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that there are over 40 million Americans acting as family caregivers providing over 37 billion hours of unpaid assistance to loved ones.  As I wrote in a previous blog “Family Caregiving — The REAL Long Term Costs”, family caregiving can take a toll on caregivers’ health and future retirement goals if the right plans and tools are not utilized.

Recent legislation is attempting to help the millions of Americans serving as caregivers:

RAISE Family Caregivers Act

In early 2018 the president signed into law the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers Act.  The act directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create an advisory council charged with making recommendations on the strategy to support family caregivers.  The strategy, which must be developed within 18 months, will address financial and workplace issues, respite care and other ways to support caregivers.

Employer Tax Credit for Paid Family Medical Leave

A little publicized addition in the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that took effect on January 1st, 2018, was the Employer Tax Cut Credit for Paid Family Medical Leave Time.  Under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers must provide certain employees with the option for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year (and must maintain group health benefits during the leave).  To incentivize employers to further support FMLA, the recent Tax Act provides employers with a business credit equal to 12.5% of wages paid to employees during leave (as long as the employee is paid at least 50% of their normal wages) and the credit phases in as much as 25% of wages if the employer provides 100% of continuing wages (up to the 12 week maximum).

Employers and the government are recognizing the deep impact of family caregiving on the financial futures of caregivers and are beginning to offer some support.  How significant the results of these recent legislative changes will be remains to be seen.  We will continue to keep you updated.  In the meantime, if you are a caregiver and need additional resources, information, or need assistance in designing strategies for yourself or for your loved one, please give us a call.  We are always happy to help!

The information provided does not purport to be a complete description of the developments referred to in this material, it has been obtained from sources deemed to be reliable but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Neither Raymond James Financial Services nor any Raymond James Financial Advisor renders advice on tax issues, these matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.