Many Americans misjudge the impact a family member’s long term care needs could have on their own lives, marriages and jobs, a new study by Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW) finds.
An estimated 66 million Americans–about 20% of the U.S. population–are serving as unpaid family caregivers, notes Genworth, Richmond, Va.
Genworth’s own study found 83% of caregivers contribute financially to the care of a family member, well above the 40% who said they had thought they would have to contribute funds if such a need arose.
In addition, 63% of caregivers said they saw their income fall with a caregiving event, compared to 38% who expected to experience such a reduction.
Moreover, 61% of caregivers said they had tapped into their personal savings to care for a loved on, in contrast to 37% who had expected to use their own savings as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. Moreover, 57% actually withdrew some of their retirement funds to care for a loved one, compared to 34% who had expected to do so.
Genworth’s study also found a significant career impact from caregiving, with 48% reporting they had lost a job, changed work shifts or missed out on career opportunities because of caregiving responsibilities, compared to 29% percent who had expected such an impact.