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Saving for Yourself and Others

10 Tips for Financial Caregivers

More than 65 million people in the United States serve as unpaid caregivers for family members or loved ones.1 Caring for someone close to you with a disability or illness, or as they age, can be challenging – in addition to providing physical and emotional support, there's often a financial aspect of care.

Here are some tips to help you manage the process of becoming a financial caregiver as you save for your own retirement:

  1. Get organized.
    Make a checklist of everything that needs to be taken care of, both with their finances and yours.
  2. Get access.
    Know the location the care recipient's personal and financial documents and make sure that you can get access to them in case of an emergency.
  3. Check coverage.
    Review their financial assets and other sources of income and then figure out what kind of coverage is offered through their life insurance and medical insurance.
  4. Do the paperwork.
    Talk with your care recipient about wills, estate planning and power of attorney options, then talk with a lawyer to find out what works for your family.
  5. Go online.
    Set up your care recipient's automatic online bill pay and have any benefits directly deposited, including tax returns.
  6. Do the math.
    Review your retirement plan, benefits and financial situation to see how much you can afford to take on in addition to your own expenses.
  7. Go pro.
    Get advice from professionals – bankers, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and financial planners can help you with money management.
  8. Pay attention.
    Be vigilant about protecting yourself and your loved one from fraud and scams that target people in vulnerable situations.
  9. Ask about your own retirement.
    Ask what impact reducing your hours will have on your 401(k) contributions and pension benefits, in case you need to work less.
  10. Take care of yourself.
    Use assistance programs and support groups, and if possible, share duties and expenses with other family and friends.

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Perez, Maria. "Saving for Retirement: 10 Tips for Financial Caregivers." N.p. unknown, n.d. February 2013.

1. N.p. unknown, n.d. December 13, 2012.

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This article is based on information available in February 2013. It is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting, or other advice and should not be acted or relied upon without the advice of a professional advisor. A professional advisor will recommend action based on your personal circumstances and the most recent information available.