Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

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alfaspider
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by alfaspider »

For a couple, no kids is almost certainly going to be a huge financial boon. With what I've spent in daycare alone I could have purchased a Porsche GT3. But I'd rather have my kids than a Gt3... I think :mrgreen:

You might face somewhat higher eldercare expenses, but most of the benefit of having kids is in coordinating services (higher quality of care) than actual cost savings. You probably will want to hire professionals to manage care if needed prior to the point it is needed.
MedSaver
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by MedSaver »

I know a lot of people who are absolutely useless to their parents and act more like emotional and financial vampires. So the whole “safety net” thing may be true sometimes but definitely not always.
egrets
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by egrets »

GreenLawn wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:09 pm Retired with no kids. Based on anecdotal evidence from my peers, I saved lots of money and had much more freedom.

For those folks who mention having children as old age insurance, isn't long term care insurance much cheaper than raising kids? I'd be curious what percentage of older parents needing long term care actually receive support from their adult children? I'd hope it would be 90+%, but anecdotal evidence is welcome.

The two instances that I know of personally where old folks needed long term care, they paid for both kids and long term care insurance. Seems they could have cut out one of those. They ended up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars between the two. Now that is a very expensive insurance policy!
The problem is you need someone keeping an eye on things even if you pay every cent for your care yourself. There will be times when you are sick, etc. not able to make decisions even if temporarily, and so on. You want someone checking in on you then.
Kelrex
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Kelrex »

Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.

Regardless, to get back to the OP's question, the impact this might have financially is that you may want to proactively prioritize having more late-in-life resources in order to minimize any burden your care may require.

Where the burden requires a lot of loyalty is when it's repetitive and ongoing: years of needing drives to constant appointments, physical help getting in and out of a chair, meals, bathing, etc. Having resources to offset these needs with professional support goes a long way.

As for if you are already in a nursing home in a severely compromised state, well that's also a lot easier for a loved one to manage if it's a 5 star, top of the line facility that doesn't dump aspects of daily care onto the family/caregivers.

Granted, all of the above would be great for anyone, kids or no. It's just more easily accomplished for a pair of high earning DINKS.

Based on the number of seniors in crappy homes who are horribly neglected by their children, I would personally rather the insurance of wealth than the unreliable insurance of children.
sixtyforty
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by sixtyforty »

Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am
....
Based on the number of seniors in crappy homes who are horribly neglected by their children, I would personally rather the insurance of wealth than the unreliable insurance of children.
Well said.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci
tashnewbie
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by tashnewbie »

Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.
sschullo wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:21 am I have never "reproduced" either and happy for that. There are many "definitions of life" and having children is one. Not having children is another. Having pets was a big enough commitment!
Reading this post and the ensuing discussion has been interesting. OP, thank you for posing the question(s). I'm single and childless, and quotes like the ones above are encouraging to me. I'm more motivated now to really start thinking about estate planning and taking action.
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Chicken lady
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Chicken lady »

As a childless one-half of a formerly double income couple who is closer to the end than not, I can say from my experiences and observations:

1. Expecting children to step up to provide their parents intensive support (caregiving or financial) is something that often does not occur. if my mother and father counted on my siblings to lend a hand in each of these realms, my parents would have ended up homeless and penniless. Observation of many of my like aged friends has borne out the same as my family's path. Sad.

2. Time can be a childless couple's friend if they will develop a plan of action for old age and work to refine it as they move closer to old age themselves. It requires people to do their homework on the options and making some decisions. Of course, these decisions should be revisited and revised as new sentiments/information emerges over time.

This can be hard since facing old-age and potentially losing a long time spouse/partner is something that some seem to be unable to face and plan for. For those, it may end with the chips falling as they may and the individual making the best of the situation. Sometimes, this no planning approach works - often it ends with a lesser quality of life than previously enjoyed. It's chance and a choice.

3. Knowing that someone is not going to rescue you from old age problems can push one to seek out ways they might access the help they think they might need. Hire people/companies to provide those services to the extent possible while still youthful - someone to execute a will, manage a trust, manage investments, to sell your tangible estate for example. If you're a collector of things - art, antique cars, etc. there are special challenges to disposing of these types of items.

Keep an eye on care-giving services and how they evolve and grow or shrink over time in capacity and reputation for quality - in home and in facility options. Sometimes people think of these issues as old-people issues but in reality, these are issues if you get in a car, on a plane, go to group events, etc. We're all at risk of an untimely death due to unexpected circumstances.

4. If a couple has amassed savings, what to do with what's left as the couple sees they no longer require such a sum or after both are deceased can be a challenge. Particularly if there are no family connections to whom the residue of an estate could be left, including your 'worldly goods'. Giving to others/charity is an obvious option though that choice also requires doing some homework. Carefully working through this part of the process has proven challenging to my husband and myself but we've identified the where and how much part of this process thankfully.

5. All the others have said about enjoying opportunities as they arise (or are planned) are true. Making and cultivating a circle of friends who remain over life's course is important, making new friends is important, having fun is important, enjoying the benefits of your wealth while carefully keeping your eye on finances so you have enough at the end is important.

Best wishes - Linda
flyingaway
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by flyingaway »

My children are the last buffer in my financial preparation. If I don't have children, I would save more money.
GreenLawn
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

egrets wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:52 pm
GreenLawn wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:09 pm Retired with no kids. Based on anecdotal evidence from my peers, I saved lots of money and had much more freedom.

For those folks who mention having children as old age insurance, isn't long term care insurance much cheaper than raising kids? I'd be curious what percentage of older parents needing long term care actually receive support from their adult children? I'd hope it would be 90+%, but anecdotal evidence is welcome.

The two instances that I know of personally where old folks needed long term care, they paid for both kids and long term care insurance. Seems they could have cut out one of those. They ended up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars between the two. Now that is a very expensive insurance policy!
The problem is you need someone keeping an eye on things even if you pay every cent for your care yourself. There will be times when you are sick, etc. not able to make decisions even if temporarily, and so on. You want someone checking in on you then.
Agreed. Because the expenses will be paid for, I'm thinking it shouldn't be too hard to find someone (girlfriend, sister, wife, niece, close friends, etc.) who will put forth some effort at the appropriate time. But only a longtime girlfriend, wife or sister, will likely have the preferable emotional investment. So I need to die before they do.

So that's why men tend to marry women younger than themselves! :D
GreenLawn
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.

Regardless, to get back to the OP's question, the impact this might have financially is that you may want to proactively prioritize having more late-in-life resources in order to minimize any burden your care may require.

Where the burden requires a lot of loyalty is when it's repetitive and ongoing: years of needing drives to constant appointments, physical help getting in and out of a chair, meals, bathing, etc. Having resources to offset these needs with professional support goes a long way.

As for if you are already in a nursing home in a severely compromised state, well that's also a lot easier for a loved one to manage if it's a 5 star, top of the line facility that doesn't dump aspects of daily care onto the family/caregivers.

Granted, all of the above would be great for anyone, kids or no. It's just more easily accomplished for a pair of high earning DINKS.

Based on the number of seniors in crappy homes who are horribly neglected by their children, I would personally rather the insurance of wealth than the unreliable insurance of children.
One of my ex-girlfriends loves seniors (relatives or not) and lives a life of service. She is a bulldog when it comes to negotiating for the best care for her friends/family. Not sure how common this is, but I've seen with my own eyes folks like this exist.

Truth be told, I had to really think about leaving her as I'm in my 60's already. But there are more important things in life than having a nurse on standby. Of course that's easy to say now, since I'm healthy :D
oldfort
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by oldfort »

Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.
I think it is rare for anyone other than family to provide extensive support for childless seniors. How many friends will let you move in with them on a permanent basis? How many friends will help you shower or bathe if you can't do it yourself?
Rob1
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Rob1 »

In terms of support as we age, we are thinking in terms of a team. For example: a firm to manage finances, a friend or family member to be an advocate, caregivers/helpers to assist with daily living, etc.

The support we have provided for our aging parents has opened my eyes to a) the amount of support that can be needed b) the variety of skills involved and c) the need for someone to simply be an advocate.
GreenLawn
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

oldfort wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:17 pm
Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.
I think it is rare for anyone other than family to provide extensive support for childless seniors. How many friends will let you move in with them on a permanent basis? How many friends will help you shower or bathe if you can't do it yourself?
My senior loving ex-girlfriend put her ex-boyfriend in her basement while he recovered from cancer surgery. Her current boyfriend was not pleased, but that's the kind of person she is. Later on, I moved into her basement temporarily while I was between housing (I have plenty of money, just in transition) and she needed someone to water her yard while she took off on on a long trip with her boyfriend. Same boyfriend not happy about that either, but when you date someone who leads a life of service, that's part of the package.

I'm guessing he'd draw the line at assistance with showers :|
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by LadyGeek »

An off-topic interchange on the rationale for having children has been removed. The discussion got contentious and was derailed.

Please stay focused on the financial aspects.
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Monster99
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Monster99 »

sailaway wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:07 pm
marcopolo wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:02 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:07 pm
Lynx310650 wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:19 pm Some of the things I'm thinking of are whether if we do decide to buy a house we might be okay with spending a slightly larger percentage of our income on home expenses since we'll never have to take into account things like daycare.
I would go with spending less money on housing if you never plan on kids. What's the point in getting a four bedroom house if two of the bedrooms are going to be empty all the time?
There is more to the pricing of a house than its size.
And there are more things to do with bedrooms than to fill them with kids. Without children to care for, someone may have time for more hobbies that require more space...
+1
Retired, no kids - entire upstairs is a quilt studio for the DW. She has been hinting that we should move, as it is getting difficult to run up and down the stairs....
GreenLawn
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

Monster99 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:19 pm
sailaway wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:07 pm
marcopolo wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:02 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:07 pm
Lynx310650 wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:19 pm Some of the things I'm thinking of are whether if we do decide to buy a house we might be okay with spending a slightly larger percentage of our income on home expenses since we'll never have to take into account things like daycare.
I would go with spending less money on housing if you never plan on kids. What's the point in getting a four bedroom house if two of the bedrooms are going to be empty all the time?
There is more to the pricing of a house than its size.
And there are more things to do with bedrooms than to fill them with kids. Without children to care for, someone may have time for more hobbies that require more space...
+1
Retired, no kids - entire upstairs is a quilt studio for the DW. She has been hinting that we should move, as it is getting difficult to run up and down the stairs....
I have no problem filling bedrooms. The number of bedrooms I'd buy would be limited by finances, not by uses for them.
oldfort
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by oldfort »

GreenLawn wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:09 pm
Monster99 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:19 pm
sailaway wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:07 pm
marcopolo wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:02 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:07 pm

I would go with spending less money on housing if you never plan on kids. What's the point in getting a four bedroom house if two of the bedrooms are going to be empty all the time?
There is more to the pricing of a house than its size.
And there are more things to do with bedrooms than to fill them with kids. Without children to care for, someone may have time for more hobbies that require more space...
+1
Retired, no kids - entire upstairs is a quilt studio for the DW. She has been hinting that we should move, as it is getting difficult to run up and down the stairs....
I have no problem filling bedrooms. The number of bedrooms I'd buy would be limited by finances, not by uses for them.
Most of the people I know either have their spare bedrooms, beyond a home office, sit empty most of the time except when they have overnight guests or else turn them into storage rooms for additional junk.
GreenLawn
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

oldfort wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:18 pm
GreenLawn wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:09 pm
Monster99 wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:19 pm
sailaway wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:07 pm
marcopolo wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:02 pm

There is more to the pricing of a house than its size.
And there are more things to do with bedrooms than to fill them with kids. Without children to care for, someone may have time for more hobbies that require more space...
+1
Retired, no kids - entire upstairs is a quilt studio for the DW. She has been hinting that we should move, as it is getting difficult to run up and down the stairs....
I have no problem filling bedrooms. The number of bedrooms I'd buy would be limited by finances, not by uses for them.
Most of the people I know either have their spare bedrooms, beyond a home office, sit empty most of the time except when they have overnight guests or else turn them into storage rooms for additional junk.
Right now we have 2 offices (his/her) we use daily, a bedroom and a TV room/spare bedroom (we watch different programs) and a craft room. 5 rooms, and that's not even counting a 6th room we could use as a potential AirBnb if we decide to go that route. Not saying it's the most efficient use of space, but we're lovin' it :D
Kelrex
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Kelrex »

oldfort wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:17 pm
Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.
I think it is rare for anyone other than family to provide extensive support for childless seniors. How many friends will let you move in with them on a permanent basis? How many friends will help you shower or bathe if you can't do it yourself?
Most Seniors with adequate financial resources don't need extensive support. That was my whole point.

It's far more likely for a senior with resources to get the non-onerous support they need from a friend, than for a senior with no resources to get the onerous support they need from their child.

For example, most nursing homes here don't provide any dental care, the families need to do it, and it's quite costly to pay someone to do it instead. The result? Most residents get no dental care because the families don't do it.

It's far less work to coordinate expensive care that someone can afford than to do that care yourself. Therefore, the rich resident is more likely to get care, regardless of whether or not they have children.

If someone has ample resources, then all they need is someone who cares enough to advocate for them and oversee their care.

This also isn't conjecture. This is based on years of working with this very population and seeing their supports first hand.

I don't have kids, and I'm entirely, 100% unconcerned about this.
egrets
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by egrets »

Kelrex wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:29 am
oldfort wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:17 pm
Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.
I think it is rare for anyone other than family to provide extensive support for childless seniors. How many friends will let you move in with them on a permanent basis? How many friends will help you shower or bathe if you can't do it yourself?
Most Seniors with adequate financial resources don't need extensive support. That was my whole point.

It's far more likely for a senior with resources to get the non-onerous support they need from a friend, than for a senior with no resources to get the onerous support they need from their child.

For example, most nursing homes here don't provide any dental care, the families need to do it, and it's quite costly to pay someone to do it instead. The result? Most residents get no dental care because the families don't do it.

It's far less work to coordinate expensive care that someone can afford than to do that care yourself. Therefore, the rich resident is more likely to get care, regardless of whether or not they have children.

If someone has ample resources, then all they need is someone who cares enough to advocate for them and oversee their care.

This also isn't conjecture. This is based on years of working with this very population and seeing their supports first hand.

I don't have kids, and I'm entirely, 100% unconcerned about this.
My experience has been the opposite. Someone in the last few years of their life needs a trustworthy person looking out for them. There have also been numerous articles in our local newspaper about elderly homebound rich people being ripped off by caregivers who steal their belongings, forge checks, etc. and the person is unable to prevent this.
visualguy
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by visualguy »

egrets wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:53 am
Kelrex wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:29 am
oldfort wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:17 pm
Kelrex wrote: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 am Elder care is not a reason to have kids.

Also, I question the notion that it's rare for anyone other than kids to act as caring decision makers for childless seniors. There are many, many cases of elders having exceptional support from their friends and.extended family, especially since they have more resources to invest in those relationships because they don't have kids and grandkids.
I think it is rare for anyone other than family to provide extensive support for childless seniors. How many friends will let you move in with them on a permanent basis? How many friends will help you shower or bathe if you can't do it yourself?
Most Seniors with adequate financial resources don't need extensive support. That was my whole point.

It's far more likely for a senior with resources to get the non-onerous support they need from a friend, than for a senior with no resources to get the onerous support they need from their child.

For example, most nursing homes here don't provide any dental care, the families need to do it, and it's quite costly to pay someone to do it instead. The result? Most residents get no dental care because the families don't do it.

It's far less work to coordinate expensive care that someone can afford than to do that care yourself. Therefore, the rich resident is more likely to get care, regardless of whether or not they have children.

If someone has ample resources, then all they need is someone who cares enough to advocate for them and oversee their care.

This also isn't conjecture. This is based on years of working with this very population and seeing their supports first hand.

I don't have kids, and I'm entirely, 100% unconcerned about this.
My experience has been the opposite. Someone in the last few years of their life needs a trustworthy person looking out for them. There have also been numerous articles in our local newspaper about elderly homebound rich people being ripped off by caregivers who steal their belongings, forge checks, etc. and the person is unable to prevent this.
Absolutely. I didn't realize the full extent of the need for this until the decline of my parents. I think it's common for people to be oblivious to this until their parents get to that stage, and then suddenly realize what a big issue this is.

My siblings and I have been managing our parents' care and their finances. We are not actually providing the care for the most part. My mother is in a nursing home of a CCRC, and my dad is still able to live independently for now (most likely not for long). There have been many things to take care of in terms of managing finances, nursing care, medical care (including two surgeries), and various other needs and logistics that come up.

The financial resources used are those of my parents. We don't need to fund any of this - it's their funds. However, having the financial resources doesn't address the challenges by itself, not even close.

I can't imagine having friends who would handle something like this. Not saying no one has such friends, but it must be extremely rare. Possibly extended family such as nieces and nephews. This would require having such extended family to begin with. For example, my parents are both only children, and have no nieces and nephews. It would also require being somewhat close to these relatives, so maybe moving closer to them way earlier, and building relationships with them, which is something to plan for financially and otherwise. Also, try to plan for having some meaningful wealth remaining after death because the reality is that the prospect of inheritance is likely to play a part in people's actions, particularly extended family where the emotional bonds may not be strong.
nervouscorps
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by nervouscorps »

Me and the wife use the term "child free".
jingo
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by jingo »

From a purely economics perspectives, children and parents may have conflicting interests when it comes to inheritance.
Walkure
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Walkure »

visualguy wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:37 pm I can't imagine having friends who would handle something like this. Not saying no one has such friends, but it must be extremely rare. Possibly extended family such as nieces and nephews. This would require having such extended family to begin with. For example, my parents are both only children, and have no nieces and nephews.
This is something I plan to keep a very close eye on in China as their population "grays" rapidly. Decades under the one-child policy has left an entire generation essentially cousin-/niece-/nephew-less, and the impact of that on social alienation will be interesting to say the least. It's one thing if you personally don't have a cousin, it's quite another if you don't know a single living soul who can even relate to the concept of having a cousin.
Kelrex
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Kelrex »

visualguy wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:37 pm]

Absolutely. I didn't realize the full extent of the need for this until the decline of my parents. I think it's common for people to be oblivious to this until their parents get to that stage, and then suddenly realize what a big issue this is.

My siblings and I have been managing our parents' care and their finances. We are not actually providing the care for the most part. My mother is in a nursing home of a CCRC, and my dad is still able to live independently for now (most likely not for long). There have been many things to take care of in terms of managing finances, nursing care, medical care (including two surgeries), and various other needs and logistics that come up.

The financial resources used are those of my parents. We don't need to fund any of this - it's their funds. However, having the financial resources doesn't address the challenges by itself, not even close.

I can't imagine having friends who would handle something like this. Not saying no one has such friends, but it must be extremely rare. Possibly extended family such as nieces and nephews. This would require having such extended family to begin with. For example, my parents are both only children, and have no nieces and nephews. It would also require being somewhat close to these relatives, so maybe moving closer to them way earlier, and building relationships with them, which is something to plan for financially and otherwise. Also, try to plan for having some meaningful wealth remaining after death because the reality is that the prospect of inheritance is likely to play a part in people's actions, particularly extended family where the emotional bonds may not be strong.

Well, I can only speak from my years of personal experience working as a healthcare professional with seniors, and I've seen some child free people with excellent systems in place to handle their finances, and very dear younger, but usually still senior friends more than willing to help *if* the resources were in place to do so.

Granted, I also think that these wealthier folks who don't have children are far more proactive about advanced planning and have excellent directives drawn up because they know they don't have children to manage these things.

Overall, I still stand by my statement that I've seen more people neglected due to lack of resources than due to lack of children.
ETA: that said I can only speak for the patient population in my region, my experience can't necessarily be generalized I suppose
visualguy
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by visualguy »

Kelrex wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:13 pm Well, I can only speak from my years of personal experience working as a healthcare professional with seniors, and I've seen some child free people with excellent systems in place to handle their finances, and very dear younger, but usually still senior friends more than willing to help *if* the resources were in place to do so.

Granted, I also think that these wealthier folks who don't have children are far more proactive about advanced planning and have excellent directives drawn up because they know they don't have children to manage these things.

Overall, I still stand by my statement that I've seen more people neglected due to lack of resources than due to lack of children.
Lack of financial resources is also a problematic situation, no one is saying that it isn't. The point is that having strong financial resources by itself doesn't come anywhere near addressing the needs of those who lose the ability to take care of themselves.

You need people who care and are able/willing to help with numerous things even just for the practical aspects, not to mention psychological and emotional. They can be children, or other relatives, or, theoretically, friends. I'm surprised you saw many cases of "very dear younger" friends who take such things upon themselves. I can't imagine this to be anything but extremely rare, and I haven't observed such amazing friendships among any people that I know. Even family members have a hard-enough time with this.

I believe that being close to at least some (possibly extended) family on whom you can rely is a critical part of the solution. There are both financial and other life repercussions to this - life needs to be navigated in a way that leads to having some family that's close to you, as well as inclined to help when the time comes.

Having "excellent systems" in place for handling finances and directives is helpful, but still only a partial solution. By the way, can you describe what those excellent systems for finances, payments, etc. are that you've seen? Are you talking about some combination of trust companies, fiduciaries, and trust protectors? Previous threads on this topic never really converged on a good solution when there is no trusted family in the picture.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Kelrex »

visualguy wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:38 pm
Kelrex wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:13 pm Well, I can only speak from my years of personal experience working as a healthcare professional with seniors, and I've seen some child free people with excellent systems in place to handle their finances, and very dear younger, but usually still senior friends more than willing to help *if* the resources were in place to do so.

Granted, I also think that these wealthier folks who don't have children are far more proactive about advanced planning and have excellent directives drawn up because they know they don't have children to manage these things.

Overall, I still stand by my statement that I've seen more people neglected due to lack of resources than due to lack of children.
Lack of financial resources is also a problematic situation, no one is saying that it isn't. The point is that having strong financial resources by itself doesn't come anywhere near addressing the needs of those who lose the ability to take care of themselves.

You need people who care and are able/willing to help with numerous things even just for the practical aspects, not to mention psychological and emotional. They can be children, or other relatives, or, theoretically, friends. I'm surprised you saw many cases of "very dear younger" friends who take such things upon themselves. I can't imagine this to be anything but extremely rare, and I haven't observed such amazing friendships among any people that I know. Even family members have a hard-enough time with this.

I believe that being close to at least some (possibly extended) family on whom you can rely is a critical part of the solution. There are both financial and other life repercussions to this - life needs to be navigated in a way that leads to having some family that's close to you, as well as inclined to help when the time comes.

Having "excellent systems" in place for handling finances and directives is helpful, but still only a partial solution. By the way, can you describe what those excellent systems for finances, payments, etc. are that you've seen? Are you talking about some combination of trust companies, fiduciaries, and trust protectors? Previous threads on this topic never really converged on a good solution when there is no trusted family in the picture.
Yes, I have seen many, many cases of very elderly seniors being very well taken care of by younger but also senior friends who accompanied them to appointments, generally oversaw their care, etc. This was especially common for older women with resources who clearly built very strong support networks through their lives, and probably did the same thing for others.

As I added previously, perhaps this is rare elsewhere, but where I work, it's not unusual. The ones I see neglected are situations where helping them would be onerous because there aren't the financial resources to pay for additional supports. People are much less likely to step up when the burden is onerous.

As for excellent systems, I'm on the medical side, so I can't tell you the particulars of their set-ups, but yeah, combos of trusts and directives. Of course this often has to involve someone they trust for oversight, but the amount of work involved can be minimized, so then it just becomes a matter of trust.

I just personally don't see those types of trusting relationships as rare as many people here do. Again, maybe it's regional.

Still, I want to clarify that my main point has always been that on average, I see more security from resources than from children.

Am I going to argue that having extremely devoted and loving children as well as financial security isn't probably the best scenario? Yeah, sure! Why don't we throw in that that kid is a doctor, and highly capable of advocating for the person's care, that would be even better.

Except that's not the point I was making. I'm not saying that having resources and directives and caregiving friends is the gold standard. I'm simply saying that just having kids doesn't endure that gold standard either.

I'm simply arguing against some early-thread sentiments that with kids you have security while infirm and without them you don't. My professional experience suggests otherwise.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Luckywon »

visualguy wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:38 pm
You need people who care and are able/willing to help with numerous things even just for the practical aspects, not to mention psychological and emotional. They can be children, or other relatives, or, theoretically, friends. I'm surprised you saw many cases of "very dear younger" friends who take such things upon themselves. I can't imagine this to be anything but extremely rare, and I haven't observed such amazing friendships among any people that I know. Even family members have a hard-enough time with this.

Agree with this strongly. From personal experience taking care of three family members who were incapacitated to varying degrees it is very hard for me to fathom anyone but a devoted family member doing this. A friend may very well be helpful with occasional visits to the doctor, meals, wellness checks etc but to assume legal responsibility for the care of someone who needs 24-7 assistance is an overwhelming task. Even as a physician myself, with other supportive family members and significant financial and insurance resources of the ill family members it was exhausting and overwhelming. It's difficult to describe how all consuming such an undertaking is, but anyone who has gone through it knows what I am referring to. All this is being said with the point that before expecting or relying on a friend to undertake this role, one must be aware of the stark life-changing responsibility you are asking them to accept.

I'll add that from my observations as a physician, the most important determinant of the quality of medical care a person receives when they are incapacitated is the willingness and ability of their POA to advocate for them. Money is less important, as most patients are covered by medi-cal or medicare at that point.

visualguy wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:38 pm
Having "excellent systems" in place for handling finances and directives is helpful, but still only a partial solution. By the way, can you describe what those excellent systems for finances, payments, etc. are that you've seen? Are you talking about some combination of trust companies, fiduciaries, and trust protectors? Previous threads on this topic never really converged on a good solution when there is no trusted family in the picture.
This does not really answer your question as our answer still relies on family but what my spouse and I have done (we have no children) is appoint a group of relatives (out of state) to serve as "trust protectors" for our trusts. In the event one of us is incapacitated and the other deceased or incapacitated, the trust protectors will have power to appoint any successor trustee (including a corporate trustee or one of themselves) and hire professionals as needed to provide/monitor care for us. In our healthcare and general POA's, the same group of relatives who are the trust protectors are able to designate among themselves who will act as our POA. We hope this will give them maximum flexibility and powers to do the best that they can to co-ordinate our care but it is still a very scary scenario. It would also be very expensive. When I inquired a couple of years ago, professional fiduciaries in my area quoted $150-$250/hour and they would pretty much have carte blanche to bill for whatever time they said they spent. From my experience, it would be very easy to justify 20 hours/week or more doing this. Of course, that is separate from any facility/home costs and payments to caregivers and medical expenses. So we are talking about many hundreds of thousands/year.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by BogleFan510 »

000 wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:09 pm No safety net in old age.
Not necessarily true. No kids does not mean no family, no friends, no community or government assistance. The friends I have with kids dont all have kids willing to help them. The statement above has a lot of assumptions behind it, many which may not play out. One friend had a child with serious mental issues that pretty much ruined her finances. Another example are elderly gay couples we know, living in the Castro area of SF. They have a big social safety net comprised of a large community who really help each other (e.g. maintain very low rent for aged, supportive active politicians, rent controls and even voluntarily cheap rents from caring landlords, social programs, younger gay people who enjoy helping elderly, knowing they dont have kids, etc.

As a childless couple I am always a bit saddened by how biased and insensitive 'traditional families' are to people who chose no kids. The questions and assumptions are endless, but I wont go there.

To the OP, earlier retirement age very possible, risk of over saving (we did, even with early 50s retirement), little need for life insurance, perhaps earlier need to consider DAFs, wills and trusts because the money has to go somewhere if a sudden accident while traveling or something are thoughts to ponder.

Edit, I see reading the full thread this has already been addressed. As noted above, trusted person can be, but is not necessarily enhanced by family ties. Some may think this is true, but trustworthiness is inherent to the person, not a DNA trait.
joetro29
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by joetro29 »

This is a really interesting read as a single childless only-child.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by visualguy »

Luckywon wrote: Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:24 am This does not really answer your question as our answer still relies on family but what my spouse and I have done (we have no children) is appoint a group of relatives (out of state) to serve as "trust protectors" for our trusts. In the event one of us is incapacitated and the other deceased or incapacitated, the trust protectors will have power to appoint any successor trustee (including a corporate trustee or one of themselves) and hire professionals as needed to provide/monitor care for us. In our healthcare and general POA's, the same group of relatives who are the trust protectors are able to designate among themselves who will act as our POA. We hope this will give them maximum flexibility and powers to do the best that they can to co-ordinate our care but it is still a very scary scenario. It would also be very expensive. When I inquired a couple of years ago, professional fiduciaries in my area quoted $150-$250/hour and they would pretty much have carte blanche to bill for whatever time they said they spent. From my experience, it would be very easy to justify 20 hours/week or more doing this. Of course, that is separate from any facility/home costs and payments to caregivers and medical expenses. So we are talking about many hundreds of thousands/year.
Thanks for describing your approach. This is probably the best you can do, and it's also pretty much the conclusion reached in previous threads that discussed this. Like you said, this solution does still rely on trusted family members to act as trust protectors as well as manage and monitor the various professionals/providers involved. It sounds like a professional fiduciary isn't part of the solution in this case, or is there still a role for them?

A couple of things to remember about trust companies is that they charge fees, of course, and, more importantly, they have minimum asset level requirements which can be high.
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changingtimes
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by changingtimes »

I mentioned earlier in the thread that two of my friends are holders of my health care POA--as is my sibling, who will also become the trustee of my estate (not only when I'm gone, but if I become incapacitated). I figured that perhaps it was a good idea to not have the decision to pull the plug solely in the hands of the person who stands to most benefit from the plug-pulling. :twisted:

My estate attorney had me put both my house in my trust, and my brokerage account is also owned by my trust--this way if I do become incapacitated there is easier access to funds to pay for care.

I also have decided to dream that by the time I need assistance, the system will have evolved and there will be better options than there are now. Because if there's one thing I've learned in life, especially over the past four years, it's that we all truly don't have a clue of what is coming.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Luckywon »

visualguy wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:16 am
Thanks for describing your approach. This is probably the best you can do, and it's also pretty much the conclusion reached in previous threads that discussed this. Like you said, this solution does still rely on trusted family members to act as trust protectors as well as manage and monitor the various professionals/providers involved. It sounds like a professional fiduciary isn't part of the solution in this case, or is there still a role for them?
The trustee(s) could hire a professional fiduciary. The trust protectors live in a different state than I do, so it's quite possible a professional fiduciary may be helpful to do wellness checks, co-ordinate medical care, or, if we were being maintained in our homes, manage our caregivers and the upkeep of our residences. I live in California, which licenses professional fiduciaries. Different fiduciaries have different capabilities, but these functions are within the menu of what they provide as a group.
changingtimes wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:05 am Because if there's one thing I've learned in life, especially over the past four years, it's that we all truly don't have a clue of what is coming.
So true! This is why we opted, rather than nominating successor trustees ourselves, to give our trust protectors powers to appoint/replace a successor trustee. Our hope is that one of our trust protectors will step up to serve as trustee of both our trusts but we don't know which (or if any) of them would be most able and willing at the time. They also have the option to appoint a corporate trustee. In speaking with several of the large corporate trustees, my impression was that they varied in their requirements, services offered, asset investment approach, fees, level of interest and accessibility. There is also no guarantee they would actually serve or continue to serve as successor trustee when needed.
MJS
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by MJS »

visualguy wrote: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:38 pm Having "excellent systems" in place for handling finances and directives is helpful, but still only a partial solution. By the way, can you describe what those excellent systems for finances, payments, etc. are that you've seen? Are you talking about some combination of trust companies, fiduciaries, and trust protectors? Previous threads on this topic never really converged on a good solution when there is no trusted family in the picture.
I'm not the original poster, but some resources for people with money but no nearby family or dedicated friends are:
Board Certified Patient Advocate
https://www.pacboard.org/

National Patient Advocate Foundation
https://www.npaf.org/

Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals (ACAP)
[Medical bill reviewers]
https://www.claims.org/

Long-Term Care Ombudsman program
https://ltcombudsman.org/
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Darwin »

oldfort wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:07 pm
Lynx310650 wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:19 pm Some of the things I'm thinking of are whether if we do decide to buy a house we might be okay with spending a slightly larger percentage of our income on home expenses since we'll never have to take into account things like daycare.
I would go with spending less money on housing if you never plan on kids. What's the point in getting a four bedroom house if two of the bedrooms are going to be empty all the time?
Square footage-wise, you're right. On the other hand, we (no children) bought a home close to my sibling and DW (and their three children) whom we love. And selfishly, we wanted hiking and gardening space. So yeah, it's different but also personal.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by BogleFanGal »

Usually, there's always one or more posters with kids who will chime in on threads like these to state how glad they are that they aren't in this situation and to paint a fairly gloomy picture that people without kids or close extended family will face dire circumstances - there are no good solutions. Other threads often end on that depressing note.

But one merely has to do a 5 minute google search to discover just how common elder abuse is in the U.S.- and how most cases involve immediate or extended family as trustees/caregivers - people the victim trusted and never imagined wouldn't have their best interests at heart.

There's a thread from just yesterday elsewhere on BH about this.

My point is that for singles and couples without kids, it's not all gloom and doom, despite what some on this thread claim. There ARE viable options - and optimistically, perhaps even better ones to come in the decades ahead.

And for those with kids and/or close extended family, it's great to feel good about that. You will likely be one of the lucky ones well cared for. :beer However, quite a few people felt the same way about their families and it didn't end too well for them...just sayin'
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Luckywon »

BogleFanGal wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:49 pm
My point is that for singles and couples without kids, it's not all gloom and doom, despite what some on this thread claim. There ARE viable options - and optimistically, perhaps even better ones to come in the decades ahead.
Could you share what you have in mind when you make this point? As it stands, your post sounds mostly like: "Don't be so down, it's may be just as bad for those with kids."
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by BogleFanGal »

Luckywon wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:23 pm
BogleFanGal wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:49 pm
My point is that for singles and couples without kids, it's not all gloom and doom, despite what some on this thread claim. There ARE viable options - and optimistically, perhaps even better ones to come in the decades ahead.
Could you share what you have in mind when you make this point? As it stands, your post sounds mostly like: "Don't be so down, it's may be just as bad for those with kids."
The advocate-related links posted earlier hopefully give some options to explore - but I haven't had a chance to fully review them yet. Frankly, I'm an optimist when it comes to innovation and progress: I believe that for those with some financial means, there will be better, more secure solutions offered in the future. Do I have proof of that? Nope. In that sense, my comment isn't actionable - but I just believe that it's too big and lucrative a target market, (and growing ever-bigger) to ignore forever.

However, your quoted comment IS mainly the point of my post...because I think many parents and grandparents have a false sense of security that their kids will be fierce advocates for them. Some can't - they don't have the mindset or skills and actually can make the situation worse than if professionals were managing things. Some won't - money or debt stress, the influence of a spouse, stepkids or others can change loyal children in unexpected ways.
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain
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changingtimes
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by changingtimes »

It would be swell if this thread didn't turn into comparisons of potential futures with kids vs without.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by visualguy »

BogleFanGal wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:12 pm Frankly, I'm an optimist when it comes to innovation and progress: I believe that for those with some financial means, there will be better, more secure solutions offered in the future. Do I have proof of that? Nope. In that sense, my comment isn't actionable - but I just believe that it's too big and lucrative a target market, (and growing ever-bigger) to ignore forever.
There can't really be a good solution that doesn't involve someone who actually cares about you, and willing to work on your behalf to pursue your interest. I don't see how innovation and progress can solve that. It's an inherently problematic situation to have no such person.

The alternative would be some sort of an organization (government?) that would appoint and manage professional fiduciaries on your behalf, and they would need to perform regular audits and supervision of the fiduciaries. Somehow this organization would need to be trustworthy-enough not to rip you off or become negligent, and to protect your interest when they know well that you are not able to do that, and there is no one who cares (typically children or other family) monitoring the situation and keeping them honest and on the job. All that is a really tall order - I would say unrealistic. Without a person who cares and puts in the right effort, the solution is unlikely to be something that you can trust and rely on.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by veindoc »

joetro29 wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:22 pm This is a really interesting read as a single childless only-child.
If you ever start to feel sorry for yourself, remember this story. My two cousins have been arguing for the last six months about what to do with their deceased mothers house. One wants to sell it to the first bidder regardless of price and the other wants to keep it for sentimental reasons but is financially unable to do so. They are at a standstill and barely civil. It’s a mess.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Luckywon »

visualguy wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:19 pm There can't really be a good solution that doesn't involve someone who actually cares about you, and willing to work on your behalf to pursue your interest.
This is a good summary of the issue. In the absence of such a person (who also has to be incorruptible) an incapacitated person is in a bad situation.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

Luckywon wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:15 pm
visualguy wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:19 pm There can't really be a good solution that doesn't involve someone who actually cares about you, and willing to work on your behalf to pursue your interest.
This is a good summary of the issue. In the absence of such a person (who also has to be incorruptible) an incapacitated person is in a bad situation.
That doesn't say much for our culture that an incapacitated person is automatically considered prey or discarded like yesterday's newspaper if there is no family to protect them. Let's hope this is not the norm. If it is, I need some suggestions on where to relocate when I get older.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by Luckywon »

GreenLawn wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:25 pm
Luckywon wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:15 pm
visualguy wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:19 pm There can't really be a good solution that doesn't involve someone who actually cares about you, and willing to work on your behalf to pursue your interest.
This is a good summary of the issue. In the absence of such a person (who also has to be incorruptible) an incapacitated person is in a bad situation.
That doesn't say much for our culture that an incapacitated person is automatically considered prey or discarded like yesterday's newspaper if there is no family to protect them. Let's hope this is not the norm. If it is, I need some suggestions on where to relocate when I get older.
Probably somewhere outside the animal kingdom, unfortunately.

More seriously, I don't think it's necessarily a matter of someone being discarded or preyed upon (although that could happen). The broader problem is that for an incapacitated person to receive optimal (or even reasonable) care, active advocacy by a capable and honest person is necessary. This is unlikely to happen anywhere unless there is a strong, usually familial, personal connection.
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by GreenLawn »

I agree if optimal care is the goal. Just as in achieving an optimal education where the family can exert a powerful influence.

My expectation is standard care, though I do have family that will work to upgrade that when possible.

I will be looking for a thread discussing assisted living or nursing home care for retired Americans in other countries though. Curiosity if nothing else.

Discussing end of life care is a downer. If we want to change the subject back to how life without children can be liberating financially and in other ways, I'd be good with that :D
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Re: Are there any different financial considerations/rules for a childless couple?

Post by visualguy »

GreenLawn wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:30 pm I agree if optimal care is the goal. Just as in achieving an optimal education where the family can exert a powerful influence.

My expectation is standard care, though I do have family that will work to upgrade that when possible.

I will be looking for a thread discussing assisted living or nursing home care for retired Americans in other countries though. Curiosity if nothing else.

Discussing end of life care is a downer. If we want to change the subject back to how life without children can be liberating financially and in other ways, I'd be good with that :D
It's definitely a downer, but it is the elephant in the room... That's where the challenge is, so I guess it makes sense to focus on that.

I don't agree that it's a matter of "optimal" vs "standard" care. For example, in the case of my Mom, no Deus ex Machina would have appeared to arrange and manage care (optimal or not) and finances for her without family, and she wasn't capable of doing it herself with Alzheimer's and a bunch of other medical problems.

Even for family, it's hard to manage these situations. There's a lot of logistics involved, and a lot of advocacy just to get the basics done, and deal with all the legal, financial, insurance, medical, nursing care, and other aspects of this. Also, it's not a one-time effort. It's continuous involvement as things change on the medical and other fronts. Beyond all that practical stuff, there's of course the need for human interaction in visits, etc.

This experience has been a huge eye-opener for me on the importance of having family later on in life. I had never thought about it much before, even when something similar happened with my grandmother. Maybe because I was less involved in my grandmother's case. More likely, it was just because I was much younger then, and in youth these realizations simply don't sink in.
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