Business

Some things in our financial future can be predicted

A new survey shows that a third of us believe our parents will need paid-for care in later life.

We can all, unfortunately, predict and know that our life insurance policy will be cashed in some day, to help our family or other beneficiaries.

But then there are the costs that fall into the category: “Oops! Didn’t think of that.”

It’s one of those costs in particular that I’d like to look at this week.

I’m talking about the sudden need to pay, or assist in paying, care costs for our parents.

A new survey shows that a third of us (34 per cent) believe our parents will need paid-for care in later life.

Of those, 45 per cent said their parents would have enough in their own savings to pay for it.

However, what about the rest of us, whose parents would struggle to cope?

Nearly a third said their parents would probably have to sell their house, to cover their care bills, and one in ten said that the cost of stumping up the full cost of their parents’ care would fall to them.

Most people do, then, believe that they will have to either pay or contribute to care costs, if that is what their parents need.

So what kind of money are we talking about? If you haven’t enquired before, the answer is: probably a lot more than you think.

Residential care now costs an average of £600 a week, while a nursing home costs £800 a week.

If our parents need live-in care, you can easily be talking £1,000 or even more per week.

How many people’s savings could stretch to £50,000 a year, every year, to be in care?

On the other hand, if less care is required each week, then a few hours of care in the home is a less expensive option, but of course your parents must have retained a good amount of independence for that to work.

Bear in mind their independence can also reduce, as they grow older. Even when someone is fit, feisty, and healthy today, that may not always be the case.

One warning: many of our parents (and we ourselves!) believe that the family home will be the key to covering any healthcare costs, either by selling or by renting out.

However, this is a complex and, at times, unreliable notion.

In terms of selling, you can never know what a property will be worth in 10 or 20 years’ time, when the time may come.

As far as renting goes, it’s also a risky option. Rental income is not guaranteed, and they would have to cover the costs of maintenance and repairs, which also cannot be predicted.

Would you like to consider the options for planning ahead to help your parents cover the possible costs, if they should ever need part-time care, full-time care, or nursing home care?

I’ve noticed that one of the TV channels is re-running that great mystery series from the 1970s, ‘Tales of the Unexpected.’

Let’s not allow your parents’ care costs to be one of yours.

Michael Kennedy is an independent financial adviser and pensions specialist and can be contacted on 028 71886005. Further information on Facebook at Kennedy Independent Financial Advice Ltd or at www.mkennedyfinancial.com

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