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Merrill: Caregivers Need Specialist Financial Advice

November 14, 2017

Financial advisors may have an underserved niche to tap into. Caregivers as a group spend around $190 billion annually on out-of-pocket, care-related costs, and 66% of them feel they could use some financial advice, according to a new study cited by ThinkAdvisor.

Ninety-two percent of caregivers say they also act as financial caregivers, according to a Merrill Lynch study of 2,200 respondents, including 2,010 caregivers, cited by the publication. And no wonder: 88% of care recipients don’t manage their finances independently after two years of getting care, the study found. Caregivers handle a multitude of financial tasks for those they care for: 65% help with paying bills, 53% monitor bank accounts, 47% deal with insurance claims, 41% file taxes and 21% oversee investments, Merrill Lynch found, according to ThinkAdvisor. And paying for medical, household and personal needs costs caregivers an average of $7,000 per year, according to the study.

Caregivers helping people with dementia spend 54% more than the average, while those caring for a spouse spend 68% more than the average, Merrill Lynch found, according to ThinkAdvisor. Caring from a distance costs 71% more than the average, according to the study.

Yet despite the high costs, 75% of financial caregivers have not discussed the financial implications of caregiving, Merrill Lynch found, according to ThinkAdvisor.

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“While some caregivers may feel compelled to contribute financially, not knowing how much they’ve spent makes it difficult to plan and can have ripple effects throughout their lives,” the report says, according to the publication.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.