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Retirement Planning > Social Security

Caregivers lose $3 trillion due to lost work time

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Americans caregiving for their parents stand to miss out on an estimated total of $3 trillion in wages, pension income and Social Security benefits when they take time off or leave the workforce due to their caregiving responsibilities, according to a study.

The Metlife study, “Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents,” reports that individually, average losses are $324,044 for women and $283,716 for men.

The number of adults providing care to a parent has tripled since 1994. “Nearly 10 million adult children over the age of 50 care for their aging parents,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “Assessing the long-term financial impact of caregiving for aging parents on caregivers themselves, especially those who must curtail their working careers to do so, is especially important, since it can jeopardize their future financial security.”

The study also found that:

  • Americans 50 years or older who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to report that their health is fair or poor than those who do not provide care.
  • Due to leaving the workforce early, women lose $142,693 in wages, $131,351 in Social Security benefits and approximately $50,000 in pension income.
  • Men lose $89,107 in wages when they leave the workforce early, $144,609 in Social Security benefits and $50,000 in pension income.

“These family caregivers, the celebrated members of the sandwich generation, are juggling their responsibilities to their own families and to their parents,” said Gail Hunt, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving.

“There is also evidence that caregivers experience considerable health issues as a result of their focus on caring for others. The need for flexibility in the workplace and in policies that would benefit working caregivers is likely to increase in importance as more working caregivers approach their own retirement, while still caring for their loved ones.”

For more on caregiving, see:

Caregiving realities yet to be realized

Emphasize caregiving in the LTCI equation

Caregivers are worse off than patients

Source: Metlife Mature Institute

The MetLife Mature Market Institute is MetLife’s center of expertise in aging, longevity and the generations and is a recognized thought leader by business, the media, opinion leaders and the public. The Institute’s groundbreaking research, insights, strategic partnerships and consumer education expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching or working with the mature market.


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