Being An Informal Care Giver – Can A Career in Financial Planning Be An Option?
The above is an actual conversation I had with a client who had to re-enter the work force after taking time off to be an informal (i.e. unpaid) caregiver. Her situation is not unique and the needs are real.
According to a recent survey conducted on informal caregiving, 69.2% of caregivers are less than 60 years old and 14.2% are less than 45 years old. Many informal caregivers are still not yet at retirement age and being unpaid, they are not only giving up their time but also a significant part of their most productive income earning years. In fact, my client was in her mid-thirties when I had that conversation with her.
Importance of Financial Planning For Care Givers
Recently, one of GEN Financial Advisory’s Executive Financial Consultant was invited to contribute to a story on the challenges faced by caregivers. I was there during the filming and managed to have a chat with the care giver who was featured in the story. What impressed me most is her spirit and zest to play the role of a care giver well – that what is seen as “sacrifice” to others is thought of as a “gift” by her to the care recipient.
Yet, the reality is that all informal care givers need more help – physically, emotionally and financially. Not many care givers are able to give up 5 or 10 of their prime income earning years and still have enough for a well-funded retirement. Financial planning can help but better planning by itself will not be able to solve the problem of an insufficient financial future.
Most Than Just About Earning An Income
The client that I had the conversation with did eventually became a financial planner and I had the opportunity to personally mentor her in the career. I’ve learnt that beyond the obvious reason to earn an income, there are other benefits to working while being a care giver that perhaps have not been so obvious but are just as important.
From my personal observation, they include:
1. A Form Of Mental Break
The work of a financial planner is not a piece of cake and it can be tiring. However, as the nature of the work is so different from caregiving, it allows for a switch in focus and that provides for a much-needed mental break.
2. Sense Of Achievement
Some care givers may have had a successful career before giving it up to be a full time care giver. Having the opportunity to build a career for themselves gives them back the sense of achievement and growth.
3. Confidence For The Future
Instead of drawing down on existing savings or relying on allowance from others, being able to earn an income provides confidence about their financial future.
Above all, because a career in financial planning allows for control over your own time, there is less of a sense of guilt as there is no compromise to the commitment of being a care giver.
Career In Financial Planning – Ticking Many Of The Right Boxes
Trying to juggle the twin commitments of working and care giving is a challenge and there are no two ways around it. There needs to be commitment from the care giver to take on the challenge of taking on the additional commitment of building a career and a willingness from the employer to take on the challenge of being flexible to support the care giver without compromising the needs of the business.
A career in financial planning is a good potential career option as it ticks many of the right boxes to begin with. The career allows for control over your time and the opportunity to progress at your own pace, it’s a career that you can work for long and most importantly, given the current context, client meetings can be conducted virtually which allows for significant time savings and flexibility to arrange your work schedule.
Care Giving – A Path More Common Than You Thought
The demographics story of Singapore suggests that the population of care givers is expected to continue to rise. For some, the role is thrust unto them without warning while for others, it may be an expected or planned event.
Personally, providing help to caregivers is something that I’m passionate about because being a card-carrying member of the sandwich population, I had been a care giver in the past and I expect to be a care giver again in the future. It’s not something unique to me, it’s something that is normal for people like me.
If you would like to explore if a career in financial planning is suitable for you at this moment in time, you can reach out to me by arranging for an exploratory discussion here: