Consider this report from Kim Painter in USA Today:
— About 20 percent of U.S. women now reach their 50s without having children, up from 10 percent in the 1970s.
— One third of middle-aged adults are heading toward retirement years as singles, after never marrying, divorce or widowhood.
— Women are likely to be single or become single as they age, with more than 80 percent unmarried after age 85.
As Painter writes, “While many may treasure their independence, the problem is that, sooner or later, most people need help with health care and household tasks — help that most often is provided by spouses or grown children.”
A report on caregiving by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that “at least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are providing care and support to an older parent, spouse, friend, or neighbor who needs help because of a limitation in their physical, mental, or cognitive functioning.”
Carol Marak, editor of the website SeniorCare.com, has started a Facebook group for “elder orphans,” Painter reported. More than 3,500 people have joined so far.
There are some useful tips in Painter’s report. Check them out.
Because many people think their long-term care plan is just having money or a long-term care insurance policy. But who will manage getting the benefits under the insurance plan if you can’t? Whom do you trust to help with your finances? Who will oversee both your money and care if you’re incapacitated?
Color of Money Question of the Week (There are two)
If you’re a single senior, are you concerned about not having anyone who can help you if you eventually need care? Do you have a long-term-care plan?
Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line please put “Single Seniors.”
Live Chat Today
Join me live today at noon (ET) for my weekly talk about your money. This week I have two guests joining me on the chat, Susan and Allison Beacham, co-authors of the October Color of Money Book Club pick “O.M.G. Official Money Guide for College Students.”
Here’s my review of the book.
As I wrote about the book, “Millennials are being trained to consume information in the amount of time it takes to heat pizza in a microwave. ‘O.M.G. Official Money Guide for College Students’ is an engaging way to communicate important financial information in micro-time that hopefully will lead to a lot of longer conversations.”
To participate in the chat click this link.
Color of Money Columns
Don’t leave these two groups behind: Two financial issues that our next president should make a priority.
As Brooks writes, “Small business owners are just as unprepared for retirement as the rest of us, it turns out. Maybe more so.”
Brooks reports that survey results from BMO Wealth Management found that 75 percent of small-business owners have saved less than $100,000 in retirement funds.
If you’re an entrepreneur, read the column for tips on saving for your retirement.
Efforts to pry back bonus payments from service members stopped
Thousands of soldiers received who were paid $15,000 or more as an incentive to reenlist during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were faced with having to pay the money back. Turns out they were overpaid. And the Pentagon wanted the money back.
The Los Angeles Times’ David. S. Cloud reported that about 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, had been ordered not just to repay money but faced interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens.
In some cases, recruiters, who weren’t authorized to do so, offered the large bonuses. Some soldiers have had to file bankruptcy or saw their credit ruined because of the collection efforts.
For now, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter ordered the Pentagon to stop trying to collect the payments so that soldiers could appeal the claw-back.
For last week’s Color of Money Question of the Week I asked: Do you think innocent soldiers who received bonus overpayments should have to pay the money back?
Danielle Laatsch of Pensacola, Fla., wrote, “I’ve been a military spouse for 15 plus years now, and it’s happened to us before. It’s always a bad situation, and is inconvenient for those of us who can afford it and really pretty tragic for those who can’t, whether they are spendthrifts or because they are young or have other problems. While I support the debts being forgiven, I would like to see a comprehensive overhaul of the system, and research into all the other times this has happened.”
Jennifer Newlin of College Park, Md., wrote, “Surely the Pentagon can find other places to recoup money if that is the goal — leave the soldiers alone! And let’s express our gratitude and appreciation for all their sacrifices (and those of their loved ones, as well) while we’re at it.”
“If a bank or anyone else put money into my account by mistake, they would take all necessary steps to get that money back,” wrote Tom Owens of Birmingham, Ala. “If I was paid something I didn’t qualify for, the payor would take action to get it back. These people were paid for their service already. If they did not qualify for the bonus, they should not get a bonus.”
Overwhelmingly people thought the soldiers should be able to keep the money.
Kimberly Dougherty of Nashville wrote: “The Pentagon should go after the people in the Defense Department who screwed up, not the vets. I certainly hope they haven’t been trying to claw back payments from families of those who lost their lives after reenlisting.”
Leah Williams, Saco, Maine, wrote, “Soldiers risk their lives for us and are forced to live a life that most of us would find miserable and terrifying while doing so. They don’t get paid very much to start and when their enlistment period is up, I’m sure many want to return to the normal life that we take for granted. I don’t see anything wrong with giving them an incentive to reenlist. Sure, we may shell out more in taxes, but what we’re giving up doesn’t even come close to what they are.”
Earl Roethke of Minneapolis wrote, “Not only don’t I think these soldiers should have to pay back the money, but I don’t think ANYBODY should have to pay back money they received in good faith. Essentially, when they received the money it was part of a contract. The repayment, if any, should come from those who gave the money inappropriately.”
“Government should cease and desist collection efforts immediately,” wrote Frank Underhill of East Bridgewater Mass. “Any repayments made to date should be refunded IN FULL to those military persons who were intimidated/forced make those repayments, thereby restoring the original bonus awards. Place the blame where it belongs, not on these military personnel who were duped into enlisting or reenlisting.”
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.