Survey: Women Often Carry the Burden of Caring for Aging Parents

Women primarily carry the burden for serving as primary caregivers for their aging parents, which has notable implications on their own future financial and retirement goals. This is according to a study conducted by the Nationwide Retirement Institute, and highlighted recently by Yahoo Finance.

According to the results of the study, nearly two-thirds of caregivers for aging parents are women who spend an estimated average of 46 hours a week as caregivers, compared with 35 hours a week for men.

A third of caregivers surveyed by Nationwide said that caregiving has, “brought purpose and meaning to their lives,” according to Yahoo. However, the dynamic simultaneously creates stress for women that is financial and emotional in nature, according to Kristi Rodriguez, vice president of thought leadership at Nationwide Financial.

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“When we think about the disproportionate amount of women who are caregivers, that has a systemic effect, that’s women even taking off in those high earning years to care for those loved ones,” Rodriguez told Yahoo.

Additionally, approximately 3-in-4 caregivers that are future retirees are more likely than current retiree caregivers to be willing to take a loan from their retirement account to be a caregiver for someone in the family. That same amount also agrees that being a caregiver will likely use up finances that they had planned to leave as inheritance for their children, or agree that being a caregiver will likely use up the money they had planned to apply to their children’s education.

“As individuals, it’s also important to have a comprehensive plan,” Rodriguez added. “Really understand how long [people], particularly women are going to live and have a plan surrounded around health care costs as well as your long term care costs. […] Most individuals don’t start saving for retirement until they’re 31. That’s some crucial, critical years that they could have been saving.”

Other findings from the survey indicate that a quarter of adults currently own long-term care (LTC) insurance, and that 46% of respondents would better save for retirement if given the opportunity to plan for retirement over again.

The survey by Nationwide was conducted online with 1,462 respondents who are American adults aged 50 or older, and who have investable assets of $50,000 or more.

That respondent pool included 516 U.S. adults age 50 or older who are caregivers, identified for the purposes of the survey as “those who have ever or are now providing paid or unpaid long-term care to a friend or family member, not through an agency, business, or non-governmental organization,” the results read. Caregiver respondents were not required to meet the investable assets threshold.

Watch the story segment at Yahoo Finance, and read the full survey results at Nationwide Retirement Institute.

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