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Retirement Planning

While it may be too late for the elder in your care to plan his or her retirement, caregivers—particularly baby boomers—can get help now with the complex issues involved and make decisions for their own future needs. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers information for families who are balancing the financial needs of elders, children, and their own retirement. Visit its Web site and click on "Life Stages."

Reverse Mortgages

The costs of eldercare services can make it difficult for elders to continue living in their own homes. If the elder in your care wants to continue living at home but is having financial difficulties making ends meet, consider a reverse mortgage. This is a special type of home loan that lets a homeowner convert a portion of the equity in the home into cash. The equity built up over years of home mortgage payments can be paid out to the homeowner. But unlike a traditional home equity loan or second mortgage, no repayment is required until the borrower(s) no longer use the home as their principal residence, at which the point the home is usually sold to repay the mortgage.

  • AARP offers information and resources about reverse mortgages. Visit the Web site or call 800-209-8085 toll free.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a safe, federally insured, private reverse mortgage that can give older Americans greater financial security. For information, call 800-569-4287 toll free or go to the Web site and enter "reverse mortgage" in the search box. Click on "Top 10 Things to Know If You Are Interested in a Reverse Mortgage." In addition, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are available for free, or at minimal cost, to provide information, counseling, and free referrals to a list of HUD-approved lenders.

Pensions

If the elder in your care has not yet retired, she or he should discuss the payout options from her or his pension plan—lump sum versus lifetime payout—with a financial planner. In planning for long-term care, pension payout can be of vital importance, particularly if there is a family history of illness, or if the worker/retiree has been diagnosed with a health problem that may require long-term care. In retirement plans, once the decision has been made for an annuity payout that decision is irrevocable.

The National Pension Lawyers' Network 617-287-7324, is a no-cost referral service that connects workers and retirees with attorneys who can help them understand and enforce their pension rights. Lawyers from around the country represent workers, retirees, and their families in pension matters on a regular fee, reduced fee, and/or pro bono basis.

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