Resources for the New Generation of Caregivers

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Resources for the New Generation of Caregivers | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking

As a growing number of long-term care is given at home and in the community, services that help older adults and family caregivers of all ages are becoming increasingly important. The following resources can help younger caregivers protect their physical, mental, social, and financial health and find ways to help their grandparents without putting their futures at risk. Resources for the New Generation of Caregivers:

  1. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs)
    AAAs provide information, assistance, and referrals to community services for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and family caregivers.
  2. Caregiver Support Groups
    Whether in person or online, participating in a caregiver support group is an excellent way to connect with others who understand your unique challenges, get advice, and discover new elder care resources, products, and solutions. Also, The Caregiver Forum has a dedicated section for questions and discussions about caring for grandparents.
  3. Government Resources
    In addition, countless federal, state, and local programs are available to seniors and family caregivers. Even benefits or services that aren’t directly related to elder care can reduce financial strain. Furthermore, this helps a caregiver carve out time for respite.
  4. Disease-Specific Nonprofit Organizations
    An older adult’s unique health conditions significantly impact the type of care and assistance they require. Organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society and the Parkinson’s Foundation are valuable sources of information. They provide great support pertaining to these specific medical issues.
  5. Books on Caregiving
    Pick up one of these acclaimed books for caregivers for a new perspective on aging. These books have tips for communicating with elders, advice on setting boundaries or valuable insights into dementia care.
  6. Explore Respite Care Options
    From in-home care to nursing homes, learn about the different types of elder care available. To help you enjoy a break from caregiving and support your grandparent.

A New Generation of Caregivers

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A New Generation of Caregivers | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking

Millennials and Generation Z are entering into caregiving roles. A new generation of caregivers is assisting their older and sick family members. According to a 2020 report, the average age of family carers (49.2 years old) has remained steady since 2015. The data also shows that 24 percent of informal caregivers are between 18 and 34. Most caregivers aged 18 to 49 care for a parent or in-law, and 17% care for grandparents or grandparents-in-law.

Why are grandchildren filling the primary caregiving role?

In the last few decades, there have been many changes to the makeup of families and households. A 2021 report from Generation United found that more than one in four Americans (26%) live in a home with three or more generations. 

Many of these young caregivers grew up with their grandparents or were raised by them. Sometimes it’s because the grandchild is close to the grandparent and has a “caregiver personality.” in other cases, a grandchild is a primary caregiver because they live closer to the older adult than the rest of the family.

There are many reasons why a grandchild might become the primary caregiver for one or both grandparents. However, the main reason is usually that the grandparents’ adult children are not willing, able, or no longer alive to take on this role.

Significant Challenges facing younger caregivers

Caring for an older adult can be challenging. The average family caregiver has lived as an adult for a few decades and has a lot of knowledge and real-world experience. 

However, most people who care for loved ones are 50 or older. They had a good time as teenagers and young adults. Eventually, they went to work, learned to care for themselves, married, and had kids. 

Undoubtedly, most younger caregivers are wise for their age, but they still do not have life experiences. These experiences help guide others to understand the different ordeals of getting older. For example, how important it is to plan for the future legally and financially for the older adult. Or how to utilize our complicated health care or the ins and outs of government and private programs for seniors.

Caregivers in their 20s haven’t had a chance to create a network of colleagues or professional advisors like their older caregivers. These networks help guide in matters regarding caregiving and referrals to helpful resources.

A grandchild who takes care of Grandma or Grandpa may also be working, going to school, or both. At this young age, being a caregiver may not have even been a thought. However, unlike their peers, their “extra” time is taken up by tasks. These tasks include managing medications, helping with activities of daily living (ADLs), driving to doctor’s appointments, preparing meals, doing laundry, and spending quality time with their grandparent(s). 

These young caregivers go through the same constant emotional ups and downs that older caregivers find exhausting. Unfortunately, younger caregivers do not have as many peers who understand them and can help support them.

Isolation and Burnout

Isolation is often the result of, “Sorry, Grandma needs me.”  Others stop coming around, and caregiving affects attendance and concentration, leading many to drop school or struggle to work. Younger caregivers are particularly vulnerable to caregiver burnout

The process of obtaining and finding respite care can be even more draining. Most of the time, grandchildren find themselves in this role because their grandparents have few or no family and friends to depend on and won’t look for other ways to get help. 58% of Generation X caregivers feel they had no choice in assuming the role.

Carrying such a heavy load can be very discouraging for caregivers of any age. And yet having little or no real say in care decisions that affect their lives and their ability to help their loved ones is exhausting. Younger caregivers may also have to deal with more opposition and less cooperation when caring for a grandparent. 

Grandparents may appreciate the help and company a grandchild gives them every day. They might not take their grandchild seriously regarding important things like legal and financial planning or health care decisions. Older adults don’t often listen to their grown children when they advise them to consider estate planning, think about giving up driving or consult a doctor. So taking orders from someone two generations younger doesn’t seem like a great idea. 

A grandchild can find a better balance in life. This balance may be found by hiring in-home care or taking a grandparent to adult daycare facilities. Even trying to get their grandparents to move into a senior living facility or nursing home. However, all of these options come with their challenges. Their older loved one might not have enough money to cover these costs, or they might refuse to pay for their care. Resulting in a tough choice: either get by on their own or find a way to pay for these costs. 

Young adults who have just started working usually don’t have any savings to fall back on, and taking money from their income to pay for respite care can hurt their financial situation. Ask any middle-aged person who takes care of a loved one: it can take years to get back on track after paying for these things. Many people never recover enough to save for their retirement and long-term care.

Youth should be spent pursuing aspirations, gaining experience, establishing friendships, and planning for the future. Whether they opted for this role or feel obligated to care for their grandparent(s), it’s critical to remember that young caregivers’ needs and aspirations are essential as well. Their older loved ones have already had the opportunity to enjoy this important time in their lives and should want their grandchildren to do the same. Young caregivers shouldn’t let shame, embarrassment, or fear keep them from seeking assistance. It is doable to learn to manage caregiving and their own life with the appropriate support and guidance. Next week we will explore resources for younger caregivers.

How to Help Save Lives: Financial Stress and Suicide

How to Help Save Lives: Financial Stress and Suicide | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking Mortgage Black and white image of a close up of man's and woman's hand helping.
How to Help Save Lives: Financial Stress and Suicide | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking Mortgage

According to research, financial stress can increase the risk of suicide by up to 20 times. Doctors talk about how financial stress and suicide affect an individual’s mental health and offer ways to move forward and how to help save lives.

Many individuals often have trouble with money. Federal Reserve Bank of New York report from 2022 says that the average American has $52,940 in debt. The study defines debt as mortgages, leases, school, car, personal loans, and credit card debt. 

Many of us are very aware of how financial stress affects our lives. This stress can lead to headaches or stomach pain—but most individuals are unaware that financial problems are a significant risk factor for suicide. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, and professor at Yeshiva University, says that money is one of the main reasons why individuals complete suicide or have suicidal ideation.

Money problems affect mental health.

Dr. Romanoff states, “financial stress is a major risk factor for suicide,” especially for those in the role of “provider” or who are responsible for maintaining the standard of living of those who rely on them. She also claims that being out of work or underemployed can cause feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and loss. Furthermore, a high debt-to-income ratio is a risk factor for mental health problems.

According to Aniko Dunn, MD, a psychiatrist, individuals who have difficulty paying their bills are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. She also states that depression and anxiety can cause individuals to consider or attempt suicide.

Research has shown that homelessness, unemployment, debt, financial stress, and suicide are all connected. After the housing market crash of 2008, suicide rates increased due to the financial crisis and “adverse economic sentiment, according to a 2017 study.  The Aspen Institute found that as debt levels become more difficult to handle, the risk of suicide rises among financially distressed persons.

Stressors can lead to suicide.

Eric Elbogen, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, found, after studying homelessness, unemployment, debt, and low income, “that financial stressors play a major role in suicides.”

According to his study, the risk of suicide grew with each added stressor. An individual experiencing all four financial stressors was 20 times more likely to make an attempt.

It will be vital for doctors, policymakers, and the general public to remember that financial stress can lead to suicide. It is critical to explore the link between the two. Researchers anticipate a significate rise in suicide rates following the COVID-19 epidemic.

What can you do?

Individuals struggling with debt, homelessness, not having a job, or feeling like they have no hope should know they are not alone. 

Some organizations provide free counseling to help solve financial problems, like how to deal with debt, make a budget, and stick to it, as well as how to find work, talk to lenders, or get benefits or financial assistance.

Even if an individual has a friend or loved one they can speak openly to for emotional support, it is always wise to seek practical advice from an expert. Reaching out doesn’t mean they’re weak or have failed as a provider, parent, or spouse. Instead, it means that they are aware that their finances are stressing them out and that they need to do something about it.

Talking to a trusted advisor about their debt can also help them feel better because it will give them insights on handling it and help them make an actionable plan they can carry out.

It’s essential to collaborate with trusted advisors to find the right approach. Some ways to handle financial stress:

  • Take part in a support group
  • Talk to a counselor (for mental and financial health)
  • Take classes on how to manage money
  • Write in a journal to organize your thoughts.
  • Make a budget that you can stick with.

Programs are in place to help individuals deal with money problems and burdens.

Breaking the cycle of financial conduct is critical. Financial assistance may be beneficial; nevertheless, individuals who lack financial literacy may misuse the money they receive. Still risking going back into debt, risk homelessness, and staying in the cycle.  Seeking counseling from trusted advisors like mental health professionals and financial counseling is a great step in a better direction. Also, consider job retraining, housing assistance, and debt management.

Don’t Wait to Seek Help

Are you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide as a result of financial stress? Call the suicide hotline listed below, 911, or go to your nearest emergency department. Also, call a friend, coworker, or clergyperson as well.

The first step is to seek assistance. Speak with a mental health professional about any troubling thoughts or symptoms of anxiety. What appears to be an overwhelming catastrophe can be worked on one step at a time. Talking about it with a trained therapist or counselor can help you learn how to handle those unwelcome ideas. Consider contacting a financial professional or counselor to plan potential solutions or possibilities for the future once they are safe from the imminent risk of self-harm.

How to Help Save Lives: Financial Stress and Suicide. Call  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR Text Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

10 Ways to Bond with Grandparents

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10 Ways to Bond with Grandparents | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking®

In observation of Grandparents Day, here are 10 ways to bond with grandparents. Aging is an unavoidable reality of life. Growing older is difficult, but we’ll all have to do it sooner or later. We begin and finish our lives the same way: relying on the assistance of others. Everything comes full circle. 

Seeing a parent or grandparent age is painful, not only for you but for them too, particularly if their physical or mental health deteriorates.

 Are we ready for the new phase of our lives: one in which we serve as caregivers to the people who once served us? Knowing how to best help an older loved one might be challenging. Here are ways to bond with grandparents.

Maintain constant contact with them: Visit Often.

Your parents don’t want things; they want you. Visiting your aging loved one is helpful and one of the best things you can do. If they live alone, see them often. 

You will not only be able to make them feel less alone, but you will also be able to monitor their situation. When there’s too much chaos, leaving the kids at home is preferable.

Call regularly if you can’t visit.

Call if you can’t visit—at least weekly, check in, or at least every few days. A phone call out of the blue can brighten someone’s day. Even if your aging loved one is entirely self-sufficient, they’d appreciate a call.

Take them to go on errands with you.

When it is no longer safe for a parent or grandparent to drive, they become upset because they have lost their freedom. You can assist by inviting someone you care about to accompany you. Offer them an electric wheelchair if they have difficulty moving around. Even if they’re just running errands, getting out of the house is nice, and they almost certainly have things to pick up.

Empathize: Put yourself in their shoes.

Aging brings many issues, such as being unable to move around, having health issues, forgetting things, not having as much freedom, and being unable to do something you used to enjoy. All of these things can be extremely inconvenient and annoying. 

Try to understand how they feel, even if you don’t understand what is happening. Listening and then responding with empathy (“That sounds awful. I can see why you’d be upset.”) 

Although this doesn’t solve the problem, it does make it easier to deal with. It also helps them to allow you to help them.

See a need, fill a need: Repair what’s broken.

Fix something that needs fixing to help someone out. If you can’t fix it, go out of your way to find someone who can.

Identify potentially dangerous spots in their home.

While in their home, look for anything that could cause an accident. Things like a loose floorboard or steps of varying heights. Make sure to address these issues as soon as possible. 

This is usually a part of “aging in place.”  There are resources available for “aging in place” with details on what to look for when spotting risk.

Accompany them to their medical appointment.

Going to routine and special doctor’s appointments with a loved one show that you care and is a smart way to keep track of their health. Understand what is going on and be vocal.  Help them advocate for themselves.

Aid them in decluttering.

Longevity means many things have accumulated. It’s challenging for older adults to get rid of clutter. Many could benefit from assistance in getting rid of clutter. Many of the things we deem “trash” or “junk” carry important memories for them. 

Help them declutter without being overbearing, pushy, or intense. Ask if something is a treasure, don’t assume. Perhaps, relive the memory with them to help them let go. Be patient as they work through it.

Suggest a good book.

Reading is pleasurable and boosts brainpower. Help your parent or grandparent maintain reading by recommending books, finding audiobooks, or taking them to the library.

Keep up with their calendar.

Some older adults feel cut off from society or their families. Keep the calendar of someone you care about up to date every month. Include things like birthdays, recitals, or sports games that kids can join. Make them feel like they’re in the know.

Bonus Bonding Brownie Points: More Ways to Bond with Grandparents

Prioritize: help them identify their task.

Everyday tasks and to-do lists can be overwhelming for older adults. Make a list of everything and keep it somewhere easy to see and find. Sit down with your grandparent or parent and assist them in determining what steps they must take first.

Shopping and Meal Prep.

Try grocery shopping with a loved one, or do it for them. Spend an afternoon planning with your loved one and then preparing simple meals. You can store these meals in the fridge or freezer.

Give them something to look forward to.

We all enjoy having something to look forward to, regardless of age. It gives us something to anticipate, whether it’s lunch with a friend or a weekend getaway. Help your elderly parent or grandparent plan a fun activity for each week. It could be bingo at the senior center, brunch with you, or a weekly class they look forward to.

Exercise with them.

The benefits of physical activity are proven, and it is especially beneficial to older adults. Much research has discovered that physical activity in older adults could help prevent illness, keep them independent, and improve their quality of life (source). Prioritize exercise and encourage them to join a gym, join them for walks, and stay active.

Involve them in community events.

Through libraries, community centers, and outreach programs, there are so many great things for older adults to do. You can use the Internet to find events and groups your loved one can join in your area.

Maintain their yard.

Older adults care about their yards. Many older folks can’t maintain their grass and flowers on their own. Doing some labor yourself or hiring someone to mow the grass can benefit an aging parent or grandparent.

Empower them to protect themselves from scams.

Scammers target seniors a lot. Scammers frequently use phone calls, sweepstakes, and phony medical insurance to steal money from older adults. Read up on common scams that take advantage of older adults and discuss how to avoid them.

Get a happy helper.

Hiring a responsible person to be your loved one’s helper is a good idea. A niece, nephew, or grandchild can do it well. Families hire someone they trust to check in on their parents or grandparents, drive them to appointments and errands, read to them, cook for them, or assist them with physical activities. 

While it could be easy to ask family members to help, remember healthy boundaries for all involved. If the family member cannot help, which is understandable, resources are available, like, to find a helper.

Technology with training wheels.

The world is constantly changing, making people over 50 feel a little stuck. Keep it simple; begin with services that are useful, such as email and online bill payment. 

Slowly introduce technology to your parent or grandparent. Create “prompt sheets.” These are easy-to-see ‘how to’ bullet points that can help your loved one remember what to do next.

The vintage inbox: their mailbox.

A good old-fashioned letter is a wonderful thing to receive. In our parents’ and grandparents’ days, letters were the primary source of correspondence. You could get the family together and flood your loved one’s mailbox with hand-written notes or cards.

Discover something new.

You can always learn something new. Learning new things gives you energy and makes you feel good about yourself. Try something new with your older parent or grandparent, like yoga or genealogy. 

Have them think of things they want to do and put them on a list. Then help them do those things. Find opportunities they never had growing up and wanted to do. You’re never too old to reach your goals.

Pet possible…

Some older adults enjoy having a pet to keep them company. Perhaps your loved one requires an emotional support animal.  Remember that you may need to take care of the pet upkeep or hire a pet helper.

Tangible: no passwords needed; make them a memory book.

One truly unique thing you can do is create a memory book for an older loved one. The book could include pictures, stories, or other items from their life that they find comforting. StoryWorth is a great place to start because it allows you to create a book about your parent or grandparent’s life that your family can keep for the rest of their lives.

In the end

The most valuable gift you can give an older loved one is your time. Reminisce with them and try to understand the feelings they are conveying. Make it a point to communicate with them regularly, whether by phone, in person, or on FaceTime if they’re tech-savvy.

When to Hire a Financial Planner

When to Hire a Financial Planner | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage with Mathius Marc Gertz Husband and wife are sitting at table home. Considered on calculator spending family budget with a financial planner.
When to Hire a Financial Planner | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage

When to hire a financial planner? According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute’s 2022 retirement poll, one in every three working persons and retirees now works with a professional financial planner. Almost half of those without a planner intends to hire one in the future.

A life event, such as marriage or divorce, is frequently a clue that it is time to hire a planner. There are, however, other events. Including the fact that finances are becoming more challenging, people do not have enough time or knowledge about investing, and even members of the same home do not agree on a shared money strategy.

Major Life Events

Here are some things that impact your financial situation or perspective include:

  • Marriage: The blending of two sets of financing can be challenging. Setting agreed-upon financial goals can still be tricky.
  • Divorce: You may need assistance determining how to live on one income rather than two.
  • Becoming a parent: This alters your spending habits and provides you with new financial goals, such as paying for college.
  • Inheriting money: You may need assistance determining how to invest your windfall during this emotionally difficult period.
  • Become a Caregiver: When you take on the role of caregiver for an older parent, your income and expenses may shift. You may need to rethink your retirement strategy.
  • Starting a business: This involves risks, and you may need to compensate for these risks by being more careful with your money in other ways.
  • Selling a business: When you sell a firm, your assets and income may change. Both outcomes will impact how you manage money and investments in the future.
  • Starting a new job or being promoted: This provides you with more money to help you attain your financial goals. You may require assistance determining how to put that extra cash to good use.

After a major life event, you may require something temporary. Usually, the result would be a financial plan that you could utilize on your own. Remember that financial planners can provide both one-time consultations and continuing assistance.

Assume you’ve recently discovered that you can begin contributing to your 401(k). You might employ a financial planner to assist you in making your first investments based on age, risk tolerance, and goals. It would then be up to you to implement those investing decisions and monitor your progress.

Increasingly Complex Finances

Even if nothing else in your life changes, your money will become more complicated with time. You earn more money, contribute more to your 401(k), contribute more to your HSA, purchase life insurance, and so on. You might start to doubt if you can handle everything on your own.

Financial planners can be highly beneficial in this case. The best ones will examine your assets and devise strategies for getting the most out of your investments, lowering your risk, or doing both.

Lack of Time or Expertise

Managing your money and investments might feel like a second job you may not desire. If you don’t have time to do your research and keep an eye on your portfolio, you can engage a planner to handle it for you. Your planner handles the tedious work, and you weigh in when the time comes to make a decision.

Similarly, you may struggle with confidence when making investment decisions. After all, investments might be difficult to understand. A skilled planner can assist you in making educated decisions and teaching you how to manage your money effectively.

Family Conflict Over Strategy

In a recent study by the American Institute of CPAs, nearly three-quarters of persons who are married or living together believe money is a source of stress in their relationship.

If you and your partner disagree about money and regular spending, you may be unable to move forward with a wealth plan. You could hire a financial planner to assist you in resolving these issues by providing experienced, unbiased guidance.

It may also be beneficial to consult with a trustworthy 3rd party, such as an accredited financial counselor or a family therapist. Even if you aren’t aware of it, an accredited financial counselor can help you figure out how your feelings about money influence you.

What Do Financial Planners Charge?

People frequently inquire, “Does working with a planner require a specific net worth?” No, in most circumstances. Some planners have a minimum net worth requirement, although the vast majority do not.

Still, hiring a financial planner isn’t a good idea if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. However, you might benefit from planner assistance if you have $100 or $10,000 per month to help you attain your financial goals. This counsel could be a one-time meeting to build an investment plan or a long-term partnership.

Big Financial Goals but No Plan

If you have money to invest and financial goals to achieve but no clear plan, it might be when to hire a financial planner. The correct planner can help you feel less stressed about money. Planners also help to make decisions more straightforward, and ultimately lead to a brighter financial future.

Financial Advisor vs. Financial Planner

Financial Advisor Vs. Financial Planner | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage with Mathius Marc Gertz Benjamin Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill framed by other banknotes.
Financial Advisor Vs. Financial Planner | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage

Do you require financial advice? Do you need a financial advisor, financial planner, or an accredited financial counselor? The answer depends on various factors, including how complex your finances are, how comfortable are you managing investments, where you are on your path to wealth, and where you want to be.

The advisor’s role is to assist you in getting from where you are to where you want to be financially. However, there are expenses involved, and not everyone requires assistance. To make an informed decision about whether or not to hire an advisor, you must research and take into account yourself.

Most of the time, folks use the phrases financial advisor and financial planner interchangeably. However, they are not the same from a technical standpoint.

Financial planners are a subset of financial advisors. Stockbrokers, financial planners, insurance agents, bankers, accountants, accredited financial counselors, and estate planners are all examples of financial advisors.

What Exactly Does a Financial Planner Do?

A financial planner may be able to assist you in getting closer to your financial goals.

Practical financial planners provide recommendations to help you achieve your financial goals. One of the most fundamental aspects of this guidance is handling and planning for investments. A financial planner can assist you with a comprehensive investment program as well as services such as:

  • Examining and Preparing for Household Spending
  • Retirement strategies
  • College funding strategies
  • A look at insurance coverage and some considerations
  • Working with tax advisors, estate planners, and other specialists

Financial planners assist people in determining how to manage their money. They learn about your circumstances, offer advice, and aid you in making sound financial decisions.

Working With a Financial Planner

You have three primary responsibilities when working with a financial planner:

  1. You talk about money and your objectives.
  2. Accept or reject your advisor’s recommendations, and explain why.
  3. You fund the recommendations that you accept.

Consider how effectively you can meet these tasks before selecting a financial advisor. Are you comfortable discussing money, expressing your viewpoint when you do not see eye to eye, and investing according to your financial plan? In an ideal world, the answer would be clearly yes.

An advisor may be unable to assist you if you are unwilling to be open and straightforward about your money and the reasons behind your decisions.

Pros and Cons of Working With a Financial Planner

While money is a renewable resource, time is not. Your time is more valuable than money. Your planner helps you save time. They can look into various investment possibilities and keep track of your money, so you don’t have to.

They are the expert. Depending on how much you know about investing, hiring an planner may be better than managing your own money.

Emotions can be an investor’s worst adversary. Your planner can help you avoid making costly judgments based on emotions. When the market is volatile, putting a financial planner between you and your money can offer you the breathing room you need to remain patient.


Planners are paid for their services, as they should be. When you invest, some planners charge commissions, while others charge an annual fee. In any instance, paying planner fees reduces your net investment returns.

Furthermore, not all planners are competent. Choosing the right financial planner might take time. Check the references of more than one planner for the job. The best financial planner is not just knowledgeable about money but also friendly, dependable, and trustworthy.

We’ll talk about when it makes sense to bring in a financial planner next week.

Inflation, Stock Market, Retirement – OH MY!

Inflation, Stock Market, Retirement - OH MY! | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® mortgage with Mathius Marc Gertz | Hand holding a sticky note showing the word Recession and tips to survive recession
Inflation, Stock Market, Retirement – OH MY! | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage

Inflation, Stock Market, Retirement – OH MY! Many cash-strapped, equity-wealthy – older Americans rely on a fixed income and their retirement assets, which may have suffered from stock and bond market losses. 

Inflation is rapidly reaching 10%, and their retirement investments may have declined by 10% to 20% due to recent stock and bond market drops. At the same time, home equity is likely to have increased dramatically. Making it a tempting target to tap to help make ends meet. A reverse mortgage could be one way to get access to it.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” accessing home equity. Research the best plan for you. Let’s look into how to use home equity to fund retirement.


You may be able to sell your property. Use that money to buy a house that will cost less and be easier to maintain. You may find a home that better suits your retirement needs than a larger house in the suburbs that takes more maintenance. The problem is that any potential retirement real estate you are thinking about may have suddenly become valued as much as your current residence.

Do your homework to see if you can minimize living expenses or realize capital gains to reinvest for retirement cash flow.

Get a reverse mortgage.

Retirees can use a reverse mortgage to assist in financing your retirement in a variety of ways. This type of mortgage can be used to purchase a new home without requiring a monthly mortgage payment. It can help age in place by funding improvements to your current home. It can offer a line of credit for living expenses or monthly cash flow. 

You don’t have to repay the reverse mortgage loan until you sell the house. However, most reverse mortgages allow you to pay down the amount if that’s what you want. HECMLOCs are similar to HELOCs but have more protections for the borrower.

Reverse mortgage terms and costs should be considered. Clarify any misunderstandings about this option. The equity in the retiree’s home is a source of legacy wealth that many hope to pass on to their adult children. However, their children and grandchildren may prefer their parents use it to maintain their quality of life in retirement.

You might want to look into recent advances in reverse mortgages as part of your research. We offer a program that begins as a traditional mortgage and ends as a reverse mortgage. The hybrid program assists homeowners in building home equity. Then automatically switching to a reverse mortgage after ten years to eliminate the mortgage payment. This type of reverse mortgage may benefit pre-retirees a few years from retirement.

Home equity credit line (HELOC). A HELOC is a loan you can use whenever you would like during the “draw period,” typically ten years. During that time, your loan accrues interest, and you are not required to make payments. Although you can pay down the loan if you prefer. 

You must repay principal and interest at the end of the draw term. HELOCs can help you bridge the gap between now and when you start receiving retirement income, such as Social Security or an annuity. HELOCs are especially beneficial if you plan to sell your house before the draw period expires.

Equity sharing agreement. 

A home equity sharing agreement allows you to receive cash in exchange for a percentage of ownership of your property. You pay the investment company the cash payment you received plus a portion of the appreciation in your property at the end of the set term, which can range from 10 to 30 years. You are not required to make a monthly payment or pay interest under this agreement.

These solutions can assist homeowners who are short on cash yet have significant home equity. Before deciding on this choice, you should explore and thoroughly understand the terms and conditions, which can be intricate and expensive. More importantly, you should prepare for the potential of having to sell your property after the set term.

Add an ADU 

You might be able to add an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that you can rent out for extra income. ADUs might be a separate structure, a converted garage or basement, or an addition to your existing home. 

Some retirees build an ADU that provides current rental income. Then intend to move into the ADU and rent out the main house when they become less active in their late retirement years and fund their long-term care. Financing is possible for qualified ADU with a reverse mortgage or a home equity line of credit.

House share. 

If you enjoy your three- or four-bedroom home but have one or two extra bedrooms, consider renting one or two rooms to supplement your retirement income.

Of course, there are logistical aspects to consider while sharing your living space with others. You might prefer to use services like Silvernest. They help you identify and evaluate housemates and sort out the appropriate agreements.

Multi-generational housing. 

A variation on house-sharing is for grandparents to live with their adult children and/or grandchildren. Not only will you be able to split living expenses, but this choice will also help grandparents feel useful. It may also prevent loneliness by acting as built-in babysitters, thereby assisting the parents. However, open communication and healthy boundaries are necessary to consider.

Rent swap or Air BnB. 

A couple rents their three-bedroom home to fund a road trip. Or renting a smaller, cheaper property could be an option while renting out their larger home. The difference in rent payments may give retired homeowners extra cash flow while retaining home ownership.

If any of these ideas resonate with you, thoroughly research each and consider all the possibilities. Hopefully, this list has piqued your interest. We can help you with ways to mitigate the effects of inflation and stock market volatility during retirement. Give us a call!

Back to School Budgeting Guide

Back to School Budgeting guide for caregivers | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage with Mathius Marc Gertz "Back To School" writing with color pencil background
Back to School Budgeting Guide | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage

It’s Back-to-school season!  The shopping season is in full swing from early July through late September. Back-to-school shopping can be hard on a budget. Use this back-to-school budgeting guide to plan out your spending.

School Supplies
  • Before you go out and buy school supplies, take stock of what you already have in drawers or on bookshelves at home. There’s no need to start again every year! Backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, and binders can be reused as long as they are still in good condition. 
  • Many schools establish accounts with major online retailers, and a portion of your purchase benefits the school. You might also ask your child’s teachers what classroom supplies they still need, as many teachers purchase goods with their own money.
  • Smart shopping – Plan your shopping. – Make a budget for your child and motivate them to stick to it when shopping for supplies.
  • Buy and Share bulk items. – If you have more than one child or neighbors who need folders, loose-leaf paper, facial tissue, and pencils or have a similar shopping list. You can save money by buying certain things in large quantities and sharing them and the cost with other students.
  • Online coupons – Social media, blogs, and websites provide school supply coupons. Always do your homework to find out when stores offer their most significant seasonal discounts.
School Clothes
  • Children usually outgrow their clothes quickly. Your child may need to have their feet measured, or they may have worn through their summer shoes. Sit down with your child and help them go through their closets to make things go smoothly. Giving you a chance to talk about charity, they might find something they can give to their younger brothers, sisters, cousins, or neighbors.
  • Clothing Swap – Consider having a clothing swap with family, friends, or neighbors before taking the old clothes to the donation center. You can trade gently used clothes, toys, and even school supplies, like that character backpack your child no longer wants. Your children will get new-to-them clothes, and you’ll have a clutter-free closet!  Clothing swap also works well if your children have school uniforms.
  • Shop Thrift – Your child can develop their style without big-box stores. Let children shop at a thrift store. Consignment stores and garage sales may have treasures. Most thrift store apparel can be high-quality and cheap; shop early to get the best deals.
  • Seasonal sales – As the new school year gets closer, there will be a lot of back-to-school and end-of-summer sales in stores and online. These sales usually last until the end of August or the beginning of September and can save you a lot of money on clothes. 
  • You can also buy next summer’s clothes now online during these sales. You might not always know what your child’s size will be, but you could make a guess. For example, if they wear a youth small this summer, you could buy summer clothes for youth medium on sale and save them for next summer.
Technology and Gadgets
  • Tech alternatives –  Choose devices with the best value for your money. Instead of a laptop, consider a tablet and keyboard for your child. It does the same things but costs less overall.
  • Pre-owned and refurbished gadgets – Buying pre-owned tablets, laptops, and iPhones saves money. Choose trusted products. Apple, Dell, Samsung, and HP have officially refurbished online shops. Other Reputable retailers like offer “certified” reconditioned tech with warranties and money-back guarantees.
  • Set up price alerts. Price-tracking apps help you save money. These apps deliver price alerts and compare prices across thousands of retailers.
  • Price check, Price Match – Some big-box stores will match lower prices on items you find elsewhere.
  • Student discounts – Select retailers offer discounts specifically for students. Examples include Adobe, Apple, Best Buy, Dell, HP, and Microsoft. You’ll probably need to enter your child’s student ID at checkout.
Don’t Forget the Activities.
  • Don’t forget these often-forgotten costs when making a budget for your child’s school supplies. Planning ahead of time for sports fees, field trips, teacher holiday gifts, and book fairs might help prevent sticker shock later in the year. 
  • If your child is starting kindergarten this year, you could inquire about last year’s expenses with the PTA or another parent. The past year’s costs can help older children estimate this year’s expenses. If you live in a two-parent household, it may be good to discuss what costs you are willing to cover with your partner or spouse. 
  • If your child wants to play travel soccer, but you don’t have the money for it, finding other children who play soccer for fun and organizing get-togethers for your child might be helpful. Buying lightly used helmets and sticks could save you money if your child plays an expensive sport like hockey, which can cost thousands of dollars every season.
Dorm Furniture
  • Focus on the essentials, need-to-haves instead of the nice-to-haves. It’s easy to get carried away, be realistic. Your child does not need an expensive coffee maker or high-end throw pillows. They might think these items are necessary, the reality is the really do not.
  • This thought process highlights a financial planning issue that many people struggle with – not acting impulsively.  If the line between need and want is blurred, this should prompt a conversation about healthy boundaries and long-term financial responsibility.  
  • Usually, most dorm rooms include basic furnishings such as a bed, desk, and dresser. Ask other college students in your life about their experiences—what things they used frequently and which ones were unnecessary.
  • Before buying new stuff, look around the house. Just because your child is relocating does not require buying all new items. Use what you already have, whether an extra bedspread in the linen closet or an old set of dishes in the basement. Relatives may be willing to give hand-me-downs as well. Yard sales are a great source of pre-loved home goods.
  • Consider versatile, multifunctional furniture. If you want to add something special, multifunctional pieces can save you money, and you can use them for years! Some suggestions: a couch with storage beneath the cushions and a nightstand that also functions as a computer desk.
  • Divide the cost with your roommate. A dorm room does not require two microwaves, two refrigerators, or two garbage cans. 
  • Before school starts, have your child contact their roommate to discuss packing lists. Perhaps one person brings a printer, and another buys a coffee machine. You’ll also save dorm space and reduce duplicates!

Teachable Moment: Back to School Budgeting

Teachable Moment: Back to School Budgeting | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage with Mathius Marc GertzToday's Lesson sign
Teachable Moment: Back to School Budgeting | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Mortgage

It’s the back-to-school season which means back-to-school budgeting!   The shopping season is in full swing from early July through late September.  This season can be a teachable moment for back-to-school budgeting.

Back-to-school shopping can be hard on a budget. Especially with 54 million returning children, most families intend to complete their shopping in one month. Many caregivers worry about how they’ll be able to pay for everything on their child’s shopping list. These lists include school supplies, clothing, technology, and more.

On average, families will plan to spend between $510 to $849 on Back-to-school supplies, apparel, and technology. This average includes children in elementary school through high school—college students’ caregivers expect to pay a staggering $1,200. 

It’s no surprise that this season is so expensive, stressful, and complicated for many families. Furthermore, worsening inflation has led to price surges in everything from gas to groceries. This means back-to-school costs will likely soar even higher this year. 

Our inability to live within a specific budget has long-term ramifications. Many families will attempt to budget for these costs. However, some will miss out on this teaching moment for our children to learn about money and financial skills. As a result of missing these opportunities can have a lifelong ripple effect leading to a lack of economic foundation.

Breaking this cycle, teaching our children how to budget should start early – and a back-to-school budget is a good start. Studies have shown that many children react emotionally to spending money by age five. So next time, including them in back-to-school shopping is a great idea, even if it seems too soon.

A vital step toward leading a healthy and secure life comes from developing a sense of financial needs versus wants. Some studies say it takes approximately two months before a behavior becomes a habit. If your child learns the appropriate boundaries for spending, it could help them deal with money better in the future.

When creating a back-to-school budget with your child, it’s important to stress the importance of not making hasty decisions or acting impulsively. This is a common financial planning pitfall. Patience is often rewarding when it comes to personal finance.  

Buy low and sell high, as the old saying goes. Patience can teach the child to wait for the right moment to spend versus save. Sometimes those who waited until later in the season to shop spent $100 less than early shoppers.  

Back-to-school shopping allows caretakers to instill a lesson that can lead to excellent, long-term habits. Beginning to save young, distinguishing between wants and needs, and building solid budgeting abilities.

Before shopping, use this opportunity to help your child realize the importance of having a strategic approach to mastering their back-to-school budget. Back-to-school budgets give a fresh start to stay focused on an ultimate goal, even if the child does not prevail immediately. This season can be a teachable moment for back-to-school budgeting.

Drug Pricing Hurts Older Adults

Drug Pricing Hurts Older Adults | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking® Capitalism and healthcare policy concept. Colorful medical pills cover Benjamin Franklin's face on one hundred american dollar bill. Macro top down view.
Drug Pricing Hurts Older Adults | Staying Financially Healthy | Reverse Your Thinking®

The Organization for Economic Development reports that Americans pay more for prescription drugs than people in other wealthy countries. The average American in 2022 spends $1,807, compared to $1,032 in Germany, $921 in Britain, and $904 in Sweden. These are exclusively insured payments. Drug pricing hurts older adults and others. Overpriced drugs can be disastrous for the millions of older Americans without health insurance.

Younger generations don’t need as many medicines as older adults. Over 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 daily, increasing the number of Americans on fixed incomes facing exorbitant prescription prices and insurance deductibles. Forcing many to choose between quality food or medication. Both shorten an individual’s lifespan.

The pharma industry claims subsidized programs exist for such folks, but it merely highlights the lunacy of the system. The mere fact that a discount program is even needed for individuals to receive the medication they NEED.

Reverse mortgages have the potential to save lives. Do you know a retiree struggling to make ends meet and still living in their own home? A program provides enough income to cover basic needs and medication, which can be a lifesaver and ensure that they can comfortably age in place.

Originally posted March 2019 Figures updated.