Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Jones family has not seen the cumulative effect that aging is having on Grandma Carolyn. The Zoom call shook everyone up. Everyone now realizes that a conversation is needed, except maybe Jodi, who is the caregiver. Caregivers often don’t seek help until they become overwhelmed.
Jackson and Jodi sit down at the kitchen table to discuss if they should involve their entire family in the long-term care planning process.
“I know the kids want to help,” Jodi explains, “but I can handle it.”
“Jodi, I understand you want to shelter them, but they are family. They want to help. I’m not sure excluding them is the best course of action. I was reading about this in the news the other day. We’re typical of the sandwich generation, supporting three generations at the same time—your parents, ourselves, and our children. You know how financially savvy our daughter, Nicole, is. Well, she sent me an article about the impact all of this could have on our retirement. It wasn’t pretty, and she hesitated sending it to you.”
“Why?” Jodi looks inquisitively at her husband.
“She doesn’t want to upset you. She doesn’t want you to think she’s meddling,” Jackson responds, placing his hand on his wife’s arm. “Jodi, this is impacting everyone. Not saying anything to our children just makes them worry even more.”
“OK,” Jodi stiffens while trying not to sound defensive. “Please show me what she sent.”
Jackson nudges the article toward his wife.
“I know Nicole shared it with her brother, Erik. According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, an average retired couple age sixty-five in 2020 may need approximately $295,000 saved after taxes to cover health-care expenses in retirement.14 For affluent investors, that number can rise to $320,000 or more depending on state taxes.15 The article warns that many people assume Medicare will cover all health-care costs in retirement, but apparently it doesn’t. The article says that about 15 percent of the average retiree’s annual expenses will be used for health care-related expenses. It’s a pretty eye-opening article, Jodi.”16
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