Money Moments: 3 smart financial strategies when caring for aging parents

March 06, 2019

If you need to provide financial assistance for your parents or in-laws, it’s important to do so without risking your own financial well-being. Use these tips to better maintain financial security.

More Americans than ever are helping to care for their aging parents. In 2015, more than 34 million Americans gave unpaid care to an adult over 50. Here are some smart strategies to keep your own financial future sound while caring for a loved one.


Smart Strategy #1: Prep for large expenses

The golden years can be expensive. For instance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about half of Americans who live to age 65 will require long term services and support (LTSS), with an average projected duration of two years and an average of cost of $138,000. Depending on a person’s eligibility, Medicaid or private insurance may help cover a portion of that cost, but many families end up paying for LTSS out of pocket.

Additionally, if you need to become a family caregiver for an aging parent, the cost to your own bottom line could be substantial. A study sponsored by MetLife found family caregivers who cut work hours or take time off could lose more than $300,000 in lifetime wages and retirement benefits.

Outsourcing that care isn’t any better. The cost can range from $1,500 per month for adult day health care to more than $8,000 per month for a private nursing home room. 

Yes, these potential expenditures seem daunting. But knowledge is power. Understanding the costs your family may encounter down the road will help you work together now to be as prepared as possible.


Smart Strategy #2: Have a candid conversation with your loved ones about their complete financial picture

Having a conversation about finances with your parents or in-laws may be intimidating. However, understanding your parents’ financial situation is vital to properly plan for possible expenses down the road.

Try teeing up the conversation like this: “I’m hearing more and more about retirees who are facing unexpected financial hardships as they age, and I want to make sure you’re never in a similar tough spot. The more I know about your money situation, the more I can help you plan for the future.”

When you sit down to talk, try to cover the following:

  • Assets
  • Insurance coverage
  • Monthly expenditures
  • Monthly income sources (from retirement savings, etc.)
  • Projected future expenses
  • Power of attorney
  • Changes in housing needs (if any)

While you’re at it, compile a list of your parents’ financial institutions and account numbers.


Smart Strategy #3: Secure your own financial future before lending a financial hand to Mom and Dad

All families are different and all circumstances will vary, but it’s really important you don’t jeopardize your own long-term financial security in order to help a parent. Take steps to safeguard retirement savings and maintain healthy financial boundaries.

If providing monetary care to your parents someday is important to you, establish a specific, interest-bearing savings account for that purpose now. Analyze your budget and come up with a comfortable amount to automatically deposit into the account every month. Then enjoy the peace of mind that comes with planning ahead. 


Read more about how you can help protect your loved ones from elder financial exploitation.

Related content

Retirement advice: How to retire happy

10 ways to increase your home’s curb appeal

6 tips for trust fund distribution to beneficiaries

4 reasons why estate planning is important

How to talk about money with your family

Estate planning documents: Living trusts vs. will vs. living will

Reviewing your beneficiaries: A 5-step guide

How to protect your digital assets in your estate plan

Financial steps to take after the death of a spouse

LGBTQ+ retirement planning: What you need to know

Retirement income planning: 4 steps to take

Is a Health Savings Account missing from your retirement plan?

Multiple accounts can make it easier to follow a monthly budget

Your 4-step guide to financial planning

How grandparents can contribute to college funds instead of buying gifts

A beginner's guide to investing

4 ways to free up your budget (and your life) with a smaller home

LGBTQ+ financial planning tips

Do your investments match your financial goals?

The secret to successful service provider integration

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

Retirement savings by age

5 things to avoid that can devalue your home

Key milestone ages as you near and start retirement

Should I itemize my taxes?

How to improve your business network security

Preparing for retirement: 8 steps to take

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Lost job finance tips: What to do when you lose your job

6 pandemic money habits to keep for the long term

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

How I did it: Bought a home without a 20 percent down payment

Checklist: 10 questions to ask your home inspector

Closing on a house checklist for buyers

How to track expenses

How to build wealth at any age

Investment strategies by age

5 financial goals for the new year

How to get started creating your business plan

How to financially prepare for pet costs

What documents do you need after a loved one dies?

How to plan and save for adoption and in vitro fertility treatment costs

11 essential things to do before baby comes

How to manage money tips

For today's homebuyers, time and money are everything

Uncover the cost: International trip

Uncover the cost: Wedding

What is Medicare? Understanding your coverage options

Using 529 plans for K-12 tuition

Retirement plan options for the self-employed

How to open and invest in a 529 plan

How to manage your finances when you're self-employed

How much life insurance do I need?

Safeguarding the payment experience through contactless

COVID-19 safety recommendations: Are you ready to reopen?

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

The costs of hiring a new employee

5 steps to take before transitioning your business

Make your business legit

How to establish your business credit score

Talent acquisition 101: Building a small business dream team

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

How to sell your business without emotions getting in the way

How to save money while helping the environment

Planning self-care moments that matter (and how to finance them)

How to expand your business: Does a new location make sense?

7 steps to prepare for the high cost of child care

How to save for a wedding

How I did it: Turned my side hustle into a full-time job

How to test new business ideas

How can I help my student manage money?

7 steps to keep your personal and business finances separate

3 types of insurance you shouldn’t ignore

Is your employer long term disability insurance enough?

8 steps to choosing a health insurance plan

7 things to know about long-term care insurance

5 unexpected retirement expenses

Year-end financial checklist

Comparing term vs. permanent life insurance

4 steps to finding a charity to support

How to winterize your vehicle

Don’t underestimate the importance of balancing your checking account

What you need to know as the executor of an estate

How to build a content team

Can fantasy football make you a better investor?

Year end tax planning tips

10 questions to ask when hiring a contractor

Beyond the mortgage: Other costs for homeowners

Home buying myths: Realities of owning a home

House Hacks: How buying an investment property worked as my first home

Should you buy a house that’s still under construction?

Your guide to breaking the rental cycle

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

Tips for working in the gig economy

Which is better: Combining bank accounts before marriage — or after?

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Money Moments: 8 dos and don’ts for saving money in your 30s

Money Moments: 3 smart financial strategies when caring for aging parents

Is it time to get a shared bank account with your partner?

Friction: How it can help achieve money goals

It's possible: 7 tips for breaking the spending cycle

What to consider before taking out a student loan

Here’s how to create a budget for yourself

Common unexpected expenses and three ways to pay for them

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

9 simple ways to save

Do you and your fiancé have compatible financial goals?

What military service taught me about money management

From LLC to S-corp: Choosing a small business entity

Recognize. React. Report. Caregivers can help protect against financial exploitation

Webinar: U.S. Bank asks: Are you safe from fraud?

How I did it: Paid off student loans

Costs to consider when starting a business

Questions to ask before buying a car

Adulting 101: How to make a budget plan

How I did it: Learned to budget as a single mom

Multigenerational household financial planning strategies

Working after retirement: Factors to consider

Personal loans first-timer's guide: 7 questions to ask

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

Understanding guardianship and power of attorney in banking

What financial advice would you give your younger self?

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

What you need to know about renting

What’s in your emergency fund?

Car shopping: Buying versus leasing your next vehicle

What you should know about buying a car

Take the stress out of buying your teen a car

Tips for navigating a medical hardship when you’re unable to work

Money management guide to financial independence

Money Moments: How to manage your finances after a divorce

Personal finance for teens can empower your child

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

U.S. Bank asks: Transitioning out of college life? What’s next?

How to use debt to build wealth

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

Money Moments: Tips for selling your home

Resources for managing financial matters after an unexpected death

Webinar: Uncover the cost: College diploma

Crypto + Homebuying: Impacts on the real estate market

Military homeownership: Your guide to resources, financing and more

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know your finances?

Webinar: Bank Notes: College cost comparison

How you can prevent identity theft

Do I need a financial advisor?

Good debt vs. bad debt: Know the difference

Parent checklist: Preparing for college

Annual insurance review checklist

7 financial questions to consider when changing jobs

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy


Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.