Typical primary family caregivers for adults in the United States may think somewhat harder about their finances, on average, than non-primary family caregivers, but they’re less likely to say they have personal financial advisors.
That’s one of the findings analysts at the Transamerica Institute have included in an in-depth new report on the well-being of family caregivers in the United States.
A team at the Los Angeles-based research center based the report on a survey of 3,183 non-professional family caregivers conducted earlier this year. The caregiver sample included people who were providing care for relatives who had difficulty caring for themselves, and parents or other non-professional family caregivers for children who had special needs.
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The analysts’ report covers many topics of interest to long-term care planners, special needs planners and other financial professionals, including the employment situation of the caregivers, the impact of caregiving on the caregivers’ help, and the kinds of information, respite services and other support they would like.
For a section on the caregivers’ own finances, the analysts created a natural experiment by asking the caregivers to classify themselves as primary caregivers or non-primary caregivers.
For many variables, the analysts have provided three sets of numbers: the numbers for the primary caregivers, the numbers for the non-primary caregivers, and the numbers for all caregivers.
The analysts have not presented comparable figures for the general population. Of course, the primary caregivers are more likely to be the spouse of the individual needing care.
About 27% of the caregivers in the sample were the spouse or partner of the care recipient.
Just 2% of the non-primary caregivers were the spouse or partner of the care recipient.
But the primary caregivers appear to be similar, in terms of many demographic variables, to the non-primary caregivers.
Perhaps because of the inclusion of caregivers for children with special needs, the median age of the primary caregivers was 47, compared with 49 for the non-primary caregivers.
A side-by-side comparisons may show how being a primary caregiver, in and of itself, affects a family caregiver’s finances.
For a look at five insights about primary care givers’ finances, drawn from the Transamerica Center survey data, read on.
1. Primary caregivers may start out with better finances.
The common stereotype about family caregiving is that the primary caregiver is probably a stay-at-home spouse or a stay-at-home eldest daughter.
When Transamerica Center analysts looked at their survey data, they found that 41% of the primary caregivers were working full-time, compared with just 33% of the non-primary caregivers, even though the typical non-primary caregiver was just two years older than the typical primary caregiver.
Only 39% of the primary caregivers were not employed at all outside the home, compared with 43% of the non-primary caregivers.
The primary caregivers also had a higher median than the non-primary caregivers: The median was about $58,000 for the primary caregivers, versus $56,000 for the non-primary caregivers.
About 29% of the primary caregivers, and just 25% of the non-primary caregivers, reported having total household income of $100,000 or more.