Caregivers Tap Retirement, Other Sources, to Cover Expenses

Many Americans who are caregivers for ailing family or friends frequently have to pay for it by tapping their retirement savings, according to a new John Hancock Life Insurance Company survey.

According to a John Hancock news release, 15% of those polled admitted to using money they had set aside for retirement to help cover caregiving expenses. Other responses to a question about funding the caregiving activities included:

  • 27% used money set aside for immediate goals such as a new car or vacation.
  • 13% used current income/money out of pocket.
  • 12% gave up a job to care for them.
  • 7% used savings.

Not surprisingly, almost half (45%) said that caregiving significantly affected their work while nearly seven in 10 (69%) said it had a notable impact on heir personal lives and 62% said that it had a significant impact on their family. Nearly four in 10 (37%) said it “significantly changed ” their financial situation.

“Providing care for our parents or other loved ones is a growing phenomenon and will become even more commonplace as our population ages,” said Laura Moore, senior vice president, John Hancock Long Term Care Insurance, in the news release. “Our survey finds that providing this care can take a real toll on the caregiver, both financially and emotionally.”

Of those who provide financial assistance, over one third (36%) pay more than $1,000 per month and, of those, 1% pay $3,000 or more per month.

As a testament to how widespread the trend is, nearly two-thirds of respondents (or their spouses) are providing long-term care. Almost one-third provide or have provided financial assistance to help pay for it.

The survey of 1,000 people ages 21 to 75 was conducted by Greenwald & Associates in 2006 for John Hancock. More information is at