Financial Advisor Magazine spotlights SeniorBridge's expertise in partnering with legal and financial professionals to address complicated family dynamics related to elder care
Financial Advisor Magazine - November 4, 2010
- "America's 78 million baby boomers will begin turning 65 next year at a rate of one every 10 seconds, [or] 3 million to 4 million per year," says Claudia Fine, the chief professional officer at SeniorBridge, a national geriatric-care manager headquartered in New York City. "These are the best-educated, richest and healthiest seniors the country has ever seen, but they're still aging."
Anecdotal evidence suggests an increasing number of family caregivers are getting paid for their efforts-which is natural given the aging population and the high unemployment rate. And as most financial advisors know, when you mix money with family dependency, things can get tangled.
Even if the caregiver is living in the same house, and room and board is considered partial payment, the value should be quantified and documented along with whatever salary is paid. "I would never encourage the bartering of caregiving in exchange for room and board," cautions Fine. Such arrangements, though common, can "blur boundaries and confuse expectations," she says.
For many families, the best option is to pay for professional caretakers. But if the member who needs care doesn't have sufficient liquid assets, the financial burden may fall on the children. The caretaking funds become a kind of debt, at a reasonable interest rate. When the aging parent passes away, the debt is paid first, to the child or children who footed the bill, before the remaining estate gets divided among heirs. This strategy makes particular sense not only when the elder's assets are illiquid-tied up in a family home, say-but also if it's a bad market for dumping assets, as it is today.
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