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Why aging parents are more expensive than kids

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, those in subsequent generations are caught in the middle trying to care for both their parents and their children at the same time. While the hours per week may be numerous, the financial costs are exorbitant.

According to a recent study, the cost of raising a child is well over $230K over 17 years. But the cost of caring for an older adult is upwards of $140K, spread out over just 4 years on average.

Those numbers are alarming for many reasons. First, they force you to see that there are very few government supports for aging adults. There's Medicaid for those who are poor, and there's Medicare for everyone else.

But no matter how many times we are reminded, Americans still refuse to believe that Medicare only covers a small portion of what is needed to live a long healthy life beyond retirement age.

Another reason these numbers raise eyebrows is that most tend to forget that they're pretty much on their own for long-term care. If you become sick or disabled (which happens to nearly all of us) at some point, you're likely going to be dependent on your kids to help. Even if you hire help, you'll still have to pay for more than half of it, as Medicare won't cover it all. Who pays the rest?

This is the reason why so many financial advisors and estate planning attorneys urge their clients to build long-term care into their future plans. While life insurance is important, you are much more likely to get sick or injured. And what good are all our medical advances if you can't afford to take advantage of them?

One of the greatest mistakes people make is failing to plan for the likelihood that they will need funds for long-term care. Death is inevitable for all of us, yes, but so is illness and injury.

A diagnosis of a serious but treatable illness could put a strain on your family for years to come. Putting money aside now as part of your estate plan can help your family care for future generations.

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