Understanding the Toll of Caregiving on Financial Security

Rosalynn Carter, former first lady, once said, “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. Caregiving is universal.”

My husband falls into the first category, as he was my caregiver a year ago when I broke my leg so severely that I was confined to a wheelchair for months.  In addition to taking care of me — which included ferrying me to doctors’ appointments and physical therapy — he continued to work full time, take care of all of the household chores, etc.

As most caregivers find, it wasn’t easy. Indeed, caregivers report tolls including physical strain, emotional stress, and difficulty caring for their own health. But what may be less appreciated is the financial strain of being a caregiver.  Indeed, a report by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving found that more than a quarter of caregivers forgo saving, more than one-fifth have used up their personal short-term savings, and more than one-tenth have used long-term savings — such as retirement accounts — while caregiving.

In October, the 33rd annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) will turn its attention to the retirement challenges faced by workers and retirees who are caregivers of parents, spouses, or children with special needs. In addition to its traditional core findings, the survey will compare workers and retirees with their caregiving counterparts when it comes to financial goals, planning for retirement, retirement confidence, preparing and transitioning to retirement, workplace savings, trusted sources of information, and income and spending in retirement.

Meanwhile, the Workplace Wellness Survey will also tackle the topic of caregiving, comparing workers with their caregiving counterparts when it comes to workplace financial wellness, including debt and emergency savings assistance, voluntary benefits, mental health, worker satisfaction with benefits, work-life balance, and flexible work arrangements.

We have a five-star group of sponsors for both surveys, but more are welcome.  If the impact of caregiving on retirement and overall financial wellness are priorities for your organization, please join us in this important research by reaching out to Romanchak@ebri.org.

About ebriorg
President and CEO, EBRI

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