Workers Lose $300k in Wages and Benefits When Caregiving

A recent study found that caregiving costs American workers $3 trillion in lost wages, pension, and social securities. 

For women, average losses equal $324,000, compared to $284,000 for men, according to the MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers, which  found that men and women can face major losses when they take time off of work to care for their aging parents.  

The study found average individual losses due to caregiving responsibilities: 

  • Lost wages due to leaving the labor force early: $142,693 for women, $89,107 for men; 
  • Lost Social Security benefits: $131,351 for women, $144,609 for men; and 
  • Lost pensions: $50,000 for women and men.  

The percentage of adult children (ages 50+) providing personal and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years and currently represents a quarter of adult children, mainly Baby Boomers. The study also found that working and non-working adult children are almost equally likely to provide care to parents in need, however, those who work and provide care for a parent are more likely than those who do not provide care to report that their health is fair or poor.  

Though caregiving sons and daughters provide comparable care in many respects, daughters are more likely to provide basic care (i.e., help with dressing, feeding, and bathing), while sons are more likely to provide financial assistance – defined as providing $500 or more within the past two years. Twenty-eight percent of women provide basic care, compared with 17% of men.  

Researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Retirement Study. The study was produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy at New York Medical College. The full report is available here.