Lately, I have had an influx of calls that are resembling a pattern. Boomer children are coming to grips with the financial hardship of long-term care for our elderly parents — and it comes at a high price. We are living longer, but not necessarily healthier.
It used to be these boomers, of which I am one of them, called me to come out and appraise a few items or advise them on the best way to dissolve their estate. Today, the phone calls have shifted to something a little more alarming. “We need you to come out and advise us what these items will bring in today’s market. Mom is in assisted living/nursing home and we have to sell everything to keep up with her care. We even have to sell the family silver and heirlooms.”
These distress calls for help are a sign of the times. It’s part poor economy, part living longer, and part not planning or saving as well as we could have or should have during our lives. But even that last statement has multiple causes … I know many people who worked hard their entire lives, or were quite affluent, only to lose it in the stock market, ending up in possible foreclosure or financial ruin.
Sometimes it’s as simple as going through all the money the parent had, and now the children are doing their best to keep the parents’ care going; that includes selling what the children thought were valuable heirlooms. Sometimes they do have value and sometimes they don’t, but the wrong time to sell is when the market is soft.
We need to learn from these hardships which are taking so much out on the children. All of them thought it wouldn’t happen to them, but it did and it can.
I see a common denominator: We are buying too much stuff we don’t need. Shopping compulsions abound for men and for women. At the end of the day, we are surrounded by piles of stuff and little money for our future.
MORAL TO THE STORY: The frugal survive and thrive. A little less HSN and QVC and a little more money saved for a rainy day. This won’t solve all our problems, but it will build our confidence that we are doing all we can for an uncertain future, especially in healthcare costs.
© 2012 Julie Hall