The pressures are mounting for middle-aged adults caring for the physical and financial needs of both their underage children and their aging parents. “We all have plans for caring for our parents. Maybe “hopes” is a better word,” comments CPA and forensic accountant David Wood. “If we have a hopeful plan, it is wise to remember the old war adage that all plans fall apart when the first shot is fired. What do generals do? They adapt to the new circumstances.”
Who is the general in your family?
Wood, a GWG Life Appointed Agent, predicts that your family’s general is most likely not mom or dad. “In my home, there are two generals. I am the general for my family; my wife for hers,” he recalls. “We had hoped to be able to keep her parents at home; that the money would last; that their health would last. Then the first shot was fired.”
Wood explains that aging parents’ ability to remain independent depends primarily on their physical and mental health. “When mom’s short-term memory began to fail, we could see just how much we were going to have to adapt our plan,” he says. “It was extremely complicated for us, as it is for others in this situation. Mom and dad don’t want to give up control. They have been the generals for a long time. There may also be siblings involved.
“While there are no easy solutions, families need to sit down and talk about their concerns. Holidays or family reunions are great times to talk.”
Is there enough money?
How do you know if mom and dad have enough money to cover all of their current and future needs? “Families often just hope there is enough. That’s where I come in. I have been a CPA and financial advisor for 25 years. Not every family has a CPA in its midst. But every family, especially those hoping that the money will be sufficient, can benefit from a professional’s help. Look for someone specializing in retirement and long-term family planning.”
Wood’s specialty is intriguing. “The TV show, CSI, made forensic skills famous. But instead of finding the bad guy, forensic accountants find money. We find value in a business … assets in a divorce … I have been on the hunt for 25 years.”
The forensics led Wood to GWG Life
Wood’s search brought him to GWG Life, a company that purchases life insurance policies at prices that are typically five to eight times greater than the surrender values.
“I have been finding hidden value in life insurance for my clients. Life insurance is about taking care of the survivors. It’s a good purpose, but it also means that parents must continue to pay the premiums. That makes the “hopeful” plan more difficult.
Wood counsels some clients that it is time to change the purpose of their life insurance policies. “GWG Life calls this repurposing your policy. It is helping families find money in their policy that can extend the amount of time that mom and dad can stay in their home. Your family’s general needs to work with a financial advisor to adapt your plan.”
If adults over age 65 have a life insurance policy, it can be a source of money to help pay down debts, pay for long-term care or simply to pay for in-home help so that adult children in the sandwich generation can continue with their careers. Visit gwglife.com to learn what your parents’ policy may be worth and explore options available to them.