More Than 4 in 10 Black Caregivers Not Financially Prepared for Responsibilities

More Than 4 in 10 Black Caregivers Not Financially Prepared for Responsibilities

At least 3 in 10 fear their children, retirement accounts will suffer as a result
A family greets each other

The health of Black Americans has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting hospitalization rates that are 3.7 times higher and death rates that 2.8 times higher than that of white Americans.

Now, a survey of Black Americans tasked with caring for their loved ones shows they’re also feeling significant financial stress as a result of the pandemic.

More than 4 in 10 (42%) Black caregivers feel they’re not prepared financially for the caregiving responsibilities they have now or anticipate having, according to a Nationwide Retirement Institute survey released Feb. 11. That compares to 33% of all caregivers who feel they aren’t financially ready.

Costs are affecting how Black caregivers can provide for their own children, fund their own retirement

Black caregivers said they’re paying more than $5,000 a year on average to take care of their loved ones. Many of the surveyed Black caregivers said they may not have enough money for their own expenses, including:

  • Providing for their children: 33%
  • Funding their own future retirement: 30%

The conflict between balancing caregiving duties with working is likely part of the problem. More than half of the caregivers (54%) felt they can’t take a day off of their caregiving responsibilities. At the same time, 2 in 3 said they’re not comfortable allowing in-home care providers to assist amid the pandemic.

Just more than half of millennials understand financial literacy around caregiving costs, drops to 35% for baby boomers

As with much of the pandemic, few people affected are clear about the best solutions. Part of the problem may be lack of financial literacy about the challenge of paying for long-term care.

Only a slight majority of millennials (51%) are reliably knowledgeable about the costs of caregiving, compared with:

  • 46% of Gen Xers
  • 35% of baby boomers

One potential solution is long-term care insurance. This coverage can provide protection against nursing home, assisted living, custodial care or even home health care costs. Long-term care insurance could potentially help Black caregivers pay for their loved one’s care without having to shortchange their own children or own retirement.

The pandemic has highlighted the potential benefits of long-term care insurance to Black caregivers. More than 9 in 10 (92%) of Black caregivers felt the arrival of COVID-19 showed that it was more important than ever to have long-term care coverage, compared with 81% of all Americans ages 24 or older.

Despite the widespread appreciation of the potential value of long-term care insurance, just 8% of Americans have the coverage in place. And just 4% of Black Americans have talked to a financial professional about getting long-term care coverage.

Methodology: The Harris Poll surveyed 313 Black adults ages 24 and older who are or have been caregivers. The survey was conducted Aug. 25 to Sept. 16, 2020, for the Nationwide Retirement Institute. The Harris Poll conducted a separate long-term care survey during the same period of 959 adults ages 24 and older — 308 of who are or have been caregivers.

The age breakdown of the different generations is as follows:

  • Baby boomers: 56+
  • Gen Xers: 40-55
  • Millennials: 24-39

Mark Henricks is a freelance journalist who reports on personal finance, small business, real estate and other topics from Austin, Texas.