South Shore Breaker

Caregivers must look after their finances

- KEVIN DOREY

If you’re a caregiver, possibly for a loved one dealing with an illness, you’re probably already facing some significan­t emotional and physical challenges — so you don’t need any financial ones as well. Yet, they are difficult to avoid. What steps can you take to deal with them?

Whatever your relationsh­ip to the individual­s for whom you’re providing care, you can take some steps to protect your own financial future. Here are a

few suggestion­s:

INVESTIGAT­E BENEFITS

You may have benefits through your employer that provide you with flexibilit­y and/or income in the event you need to take time away to provide for the care of a loved one. The federal Employment Insurance programs provides financial assistance of up to 55 per cent of your earnings, to a maximum of $573 a week. Benefits may be available for you to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care.

EVALUATE JOB OPTIONS

If you have to take time away from work — or even leave employment altogether — to be a caregiver, you will lose not only income but also the opportunit­y to contribute to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan or other employersp­onsored retirement plan. But you may have some options, such as working remotely, or at least working part time. Either

arrangemen­t can give you flexibilit­y in juggling your employment with your caregiving responsibi­lities.

EXPLORE PAYMENTS

Depending on your circumstan­ces, and those of the loved ones for whom you’re providing care, you might be able to work out an arrangemen­t in which you can get paid something for your services. And as long as you are earning income, you can contribute to an RRSP or invest in a Tax-free Savings Account to keep building resources for your own retirement.

PROTECT YOURSELF

You may well want to discuss legal matters with the individual for whom you are a caregiver. It may be beneficial to work with a legal profession­al to establish a financial power of attorney — a document that names someone to make financial decisions and pay bills when the person no longer can. And whether you or someone else has financial power of attorney, the very existence of this document may help you avoid getting your personal finances entangled with those of the individual for whom you’re caring.

FINANCIAL FOCUS

Kevin Dorey is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. Based In Tantallon, Kevin specialize­s in helping individual­s reach their serious, long-term investment goals. Edward Jones is a member of the Canadian Investor rotection Fund.

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 ?? 123RF ?? There’s nothing easy about being a caregiver, which is why it’s important to ensure you don’t add financial problems to what can already be a challengin­g experience.
123RF There’s nothing easy about being a caregiver, which is why it’s important to ensure you don’t add financial problems to what can already be a challengin­g experience.
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