August 8th, 2011 at 9:50 am
Bookmark and Share

Saving for our own caregiving

by Judy Kirkwood

Saving for retirement was fairly painless when I was married. My husband worked for the state and money was automatically put aside for retirement as one of his benefits as a physician. The only pinch was putting money into my own SEP IRA according to my freelance writer income at the end of the year. Furthermore, my husband had been investing separate retirement funds accumulated from outside the state retirement system and those investments had done well.

Then came our divorce after 33 years of marriage.

By law, I got half of all our retirement funds and my ex’s social security (when we are eligible; if it is still there).

I’m still young at age 60, and I intend to keep working. The emotional impact of the divorce arriving at the same time as the economic downturn impacted my job in publishing, coupled with the loss of money on the sale of our home set me back.

I need to be conservative in my spending choices.

Long-term care insurance & savings: a delicate balance

After two years, things are more stable for me. I was able to purchase long-term care insurance recently, which will give me coverage, or at least contribute, to long-term care for three years–hopefully not to be used until the end of my life.

I’m not excited about the prospect of paying for this insurance, any more than I’m excited about saving for retirement rather than retiring and spending the money I’ve saved.

But with two parents with dementia at the end of their lives, it seems a necessary expense.

I witnessed the drain on my parents’ life savings due to the care needed for their wonderful longevity. I observed the difference in quality of care and comfort for the elderly in private versus public facilities and would hope to be cared for in a private setting, like my mother was until her last year, if possible.

My adult kids, however, are too young to appreciate the wisdom of my conserving funds for the future. My older son works hard, but with expenses for four children and a heavy mortgage, his family is living month to month. My younger son needs to be subsidized due to his health issues. Neither of my children has any money for extras, or even for all of their necessities.

I need to take care of myself, but it’s a tough choice. I want to spend more time with my grandchildren and two sons, which means funding trips to see each other. If I give to them now, will they give to me later?

I wish us all luck in finding the balance.

Posted in Caregiving, Financial, Health Insurance | 5 Comments »
Tags: , ,

5 Comments to “Saving for our own caregiving”

  1. Beatrix Lewis

    Most people are content having only their retirement savings. You’ve made the right choice by purchasing long term care insurance because your savings will never be enough to cover your long term care needs in the future. If you’re really short, I think you shouldn’t give more than what you’ll receiving. If you can’t fund the trips, then don’t push yourself to do it.

  2. Judy Kirkwood

    That’s true. Funding trips to see me, for instance, is for me!

  3. Judy Kirkwood

    My older sister just emailed me worrying about what she would do since she didn’t have kids. I said the same thing we’re all going to do — try to live together and go through this together.

  4. Helen

    I also have long term care insurance. I watched my parents go through $100,000 over the last years of their lives for 24-hour care in their own condo. That’s where they wanted to be — and I would prefer to remain in my own home, wherever that might be. Nor do I want to rely on my children who need money to support their own families. I grumble when the annual bill arrives, but the great feeling of not being a burden far outweighs the pain of writing the check!

  5. Lila

    My thought: You should never give away money that you may need, even to your kids. Funding their trips isn’t really giving money to them from my point of view, BTW.

    You sound like one savvy lady.

    Best, Lila

Leave a Reply