The value of unpaid family caregivers is staggering — an estimated $470 billion, according to a new AARP report — but as far as I’m concerned, no dollar figure can ever come close to our true value. I know that my contributions as my family’s caregiver go far beyond the amount it would cost to pay someone else for the hours I provide care, and I’m sure others like me would agree.
Recent research shows that most African Americans/blacks age 50-plus use financial products, such as checking accounts and savings accounts. But only 1 in 10 use retirement planning products, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA). Millions of Americans haven’t saved any money for their golden years, and millions of others haven’t saved nearly enough. According to the Federal Reserve, the median balance of retirement accounts totals less than $60,000, and many African Americans/blacks have saved even less.
As Maureen McCarty and I meet with Maria (not her real name), I realize the compounded struggles of the poor. Maria’s English speaking and comprehension are limited. She and her husband are separated. Her son’s health issues complicate her search for work. And at this moment, with area rents topping $1,000 a month, even for a small apartment, Maria needs rent assistance.
This is a guest post by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, host of the AARP Pay Down Your Debt Challenge, which is taking place on AARP.org through Jan. 29. Learn how to get started paying down your debt, join the Pay Down Your Debt group, and you could have a chance to win a prize.
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