The sizable cost of elder care often catches many middle-class military families off guard. A fifth of respondents in a recent survey commissioned by First Command Financial Services said they were spending an average of $1,342 a month to care for an elderly family member, and 40% of these said the costs were more than expected.
The costs can add up. A study last year by Fidelity said a couple retiring in 2016 would need some $260,000 to cover health care costs in retirement, up 6% from the year before.
First Command’s financial behaviors index showed that 36% of middle-class military families — including commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000 — were currently or anticipated providing care for an elderly parent or other family member.
Fifty-four percent said the care would take place in their own home, while 42% said it would be provided in the elder’s home.
Eighteen percent of respondents expected to pay for home care services, 8% for nursing home care and 7% for health care services.
The unexpectedly high costs of elder care affected military respondents’ financial attitudes, First Command said.