Certified Financial Planner Danielle Miura talks about preparing for caregiving.
Danielle Miura: thank you again for having me on Katie. I'm excited to talk about family caregiving from a financial perspective. I became a caregiver about two years ago. My grandmother fell on tile floor and broke her hip. And she's unfortunately been bound since her heart cannot handle surgery. And my mom and I have together have been helping her as part of her care team, to make sure that she In the most comfort. Care and she has 24 hour caregivers. So we kind of are the nurses on call whenever she needs something.
Danielle Miura: And…
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, thank you.
Danielle Miura: how did I get into financial planning? So I started researching in beginning of Gosh, I guess I need to put my phone, do not disturb. Gosh, I'm terrible at this. Evidently today.
Danielle Miura: Hopefully, that's not good recording. so, I became a family caregiver and I initially thought I was a family member, just doing what was, the duty asked of me. And I really just wanted to be there for her and help her through this. Traumatic moment that was for her. And I started really researching about what it means to be a family caregiver since I was experiencing caregiver burnout.
Danielle Miura: And I was like, this doesn't just seem like a family member, This seems much more than just being a family member. So as a financial professional myself, I started, digging information about financial education. I realized that there's a lot of very surface level financial education where it's two paragraphs of education and then it's tied to a link of advertisement or it's A article leading to a government link and no one wants to read government links. So it never seems like really educational content, specifically for financial education, or it was like a research article that just happened to dive a little bit into financial stuff. that caregivers don't save they dig into debt, to care for their loved ones.
Danielle Miura: But I really wanted to explore more topics on financial education. And a specifically, family care givers. And that's when I transitioned my niche, over for my firm to family, caregivers and using my experiences as a family caregiver to help other family. Caregivers
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love how you've taken your professional expertise in this personal experience and sort of merge the two because you obviously noticed a need for education and support and I both know that financial Stress is one of the biggest pain points for people who are taking care of a family member. I'd love to know before we dive into talking about Your professional expertise. what are some of the challenges that you faced because you're caring for your grandma. I know your mom is also experiencing you take care of her to some degree, what are some of the challenges that you experienced personally as a caregiver financial challenges? And how did you navigate that? I guess using your professional expertise but just how did you navigate that personally?
Danielle Miura: Yeah, it's really difficult. I'm lucky, my husband, and I plan to head being in the financial industry. you plan probably more headed than other people. We were lucky to have savings available that we could utilize. But other than my firm's income, I'm not making really any other income. And so
Danielle Miura: I'm kind of thinking about my future just like many other caregivers and thinking what does life look like? After caregiving this life look after caregiving, going back full-time and working to save more like other caregivers does life. After caregiving continue to run this firm and educate family care, givers about financial education. I hope that's what leads to that's the ideal. but it's hard because I feel like my life is on hold in a way because I am a family caregiver and I don't say that as a negative thing. It's just a realistic thing to the fact of my life is On hold, I can't just go to another state because I want to take care of my loved one.
Danielle Miura: I feel in a way, and in some of the way trapped, my husband calls me the sucker because I'm the one who, loves my family so much. I want to take care of them, and I want to be so close to them, and Being so close. Sometimes has its disadvantages. That's just realistically, how it is? Yeah. But as far as my parents go and their finances is, they're kind of on the brink of retirement. So for them, it's like, Should I not retire? Because if I do retire, then probably my retirement is going to be taking care of someone. And if I don't retire, That my dad's gonna be continuing to work full-time.
Danielle Miura: And where is that kind of ridge to to retire when does it feel comfortable to retire? And that's kind of like the struggles that they're working with that. They already have that time before, caregiving to say for the retirement and now it's like, will my life change after my grandmother passes away? will their life shift? Will they want to downsize what will that life look like after caregiving? That's a predicament for a lot of people.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah. Totally. I mean, the sentiment of Feeling on hold or you said your husband jokes about being trapped, but I don't think that's, an uncommon feeling for family caregivers. And you talked a little bit about you and your husband's maybe, having, a little bit of insight because of your financial background. Obviously, you planned ahead to some degree by way of saving and such. There are, some groups of people that are more likely to become caregivers in the future like only children, lgbtq plus people minorities and only daughters the sort of thing can you?
Katie Wilkinson: Something that I remain interested in is just like, one thinks it's gonna happen to them until it happens and then they're not prepared for it and that can be really overwhelming experience. I guess I'm curious to learn from you about how can these groups of people and all groups of people, but these groups of people that are more likely to become caregivers in the future. what kind of consideration should they be thinking about now in preparation for that experience?
Danielle Miura: Yeah, it's funny because I never expected to be a family caregiver for my grandma necessarily, but I kind of fit into all the categories. Other that there's maybe two I don't fit into. I'm not a minority and I'm not part of the lgbtq+ community, but my mom's the closest daughter and she's the only daughter she has two brothers. So that's kind of how my caregiving role transitioned for my grandmother because were the closest two women to her. And then as far as my husband, I go. We're both only children raising it, only child. And both our parents are similar in age. so it's funny how it kind of worked out like that, where
Danielle Miura: We acknowledge the fact that we would have to caregive sometime during our life and now is more of an actual realization. It's going to happen. How can we plan for the future for this to happen? And one of the ways we've done that, as I said savings, we have understood. So we have enough savings and we've created scenarios in case. we've had to do caregiving longer than what we expected and also we planned boundaries of what we can do. So I know there's a certain limit to how much we can caregiver because financially and sustainability for our health. We can only do so long. I know that's hard for a lot of people to be after five years, that's all I can do. But it gets to the point where, caregiving can be 8 to 10 years.
Danielle Miura: And then can you realistically last that long, many people can't? and I don't expect anybody to last that long as a family caregiver,
Danielle Miura: the easiest ways are for expecting Givers prepare for caregiving is jump on a support group, you don't have to be a caregiver to get, other people's experience. If you don't like being in a support group, ask a friend who's been similar situation. What I can prepare for get your loved ones wishes on hand. So, start we were having conversations with my grandmother about her funeral way earlier than most people would like we know what dress she wants to wear. We know we started digging just planting little seeds ahead of time Where's your financial information? Where's your trust? Just so that we knew ahead of time. Where all these things were?
Danielle Miura: just kind of planting little seeds. my friend's mother recently went to the hospital. And she experience five days in the hospital and that was a huge medical bill. if that happened to you? What would that look like, which bank account would? I use to pay for the medical bill? what hospital would you like in your hospital and those type of details, just so that you're prepared ahead of time for those types of circumstances and that you're also planting little seeds to make it easier for you in the future. let's say you're worried about a state document so you could be like I recently went to an estate attorney and I haven't had my will and trust process is that something that you already have done?
Danielle Miura: So try to put it a third party, kind of push a little bit starting to get these conversations started.
Danielle Miura: and then,…
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah.
Danielle Miura: And then the other thing, I would suggest is just creating a financial plan. If you haven't met with the financial advisor, just be careful about who you choose as a financial advisor. it's like going and kissing a bunch of frogs and you end up with your prints. Sometimes, you may need to interview a couple of financial advisors in order to find the exact One that's compatible with you and that feels more comfortable.
Danielle Miura: So, that's my suggestion for financial advisor.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, you had mentioned to me offline previously about just different types of financial advisors. I know that's like opening a can of worms, but it might be helpful to share a little bit about, what makes your practice different from someone else's and maybe one's not better, or worse. But, just what should people be? looking for, as they, kiss all these princes defined or frogs to find their financial advisor prints
Danielle Miura: The financial planner Prince, That's funny. I think. first of all, I always say It's compatibility if you don't trust the person, if they're not empathetic towards you, That's number one, That's a ding. It's not gonna work out because if you can't trust them enough to handle your finances, then how are you going to trust them enough to have these intimate conversations like caregiving and elder care planning or special needs planning like that. You really have to find someone who's comfortable and emotionally vulnerable with you to have those home types of conversations.
Danielle Miura: And then the second thing is fee structure. So each financial advisor is going to have a different fee structure. What's special about my firm is that I'm an advice only the only planner so I don't sell investment or insurance products nor do I in managing anybody's investments. What's special about that? Is that I really have an emphasis in education first and really providing financial education. And empowerment through that, I want my clients to be empowered to make the decisions that are best for them. I'm more of a guide or facilitator and Making those hard decisions that you will have as a family caregiver. And then the last thing is read documents.
Danielle Miura: And what I mean by read documents is read your contracts. Many people are just flip through those contracts and just I don't know what that is, I mean but they don't Ask your financial advisor. if they're receiving a commission, ask them how much commission they're receiving, ask them how transparent they are, you want to find someone who's transparent, not only in their fee structure, but who they are. And they're all put authenticity because those can be two different things. You really want to make sure that whoever is going to be giving you advice that they're really truly authentic and that they're not just putting on a show for you.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. And I mean, the times that we've talked, I've appreciated this about you and your care for people and wanting to find, clients that are a match for you and vice versa and not just trying to, get extra dollars out of them and I think that probably that speaks to your experience as a family caregiver yourself, and understanding the challenges that people are facing. And you started to mention before about document review, I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit more about
Danielle Miura: Yeah, for me, I literally asked for every single financial document possible. I think that's about 30 documents depending give or take, which documents they have. So in the doc document review is really important. It's going to insurance policies. It's making sure that you're not overcovered with a really high premium. It's making sure that you have just enough coverage that's best for you. And making sure that you're not overpaying for that. And then it goes to trust documents of making sure you have your trust together, or if that's not a trust, that's a power of attorney in a will and making sure that you have guardianship if you have kids. So I really look into the details of the trust to match whatever we're talking about in our conversations with and making sure that those wishes are addressed in their documents.
Danielle Miura: And then when it comes to other financial planning documents like grading, a debt payment plan or review, the credit card statements review, anything that's associated like home loans. If you decide that your goal is to not have any debt during retirement, we'd review the mortgage plan and see how we can pay that off sooner if that's what your wishes. So the most important documents that family caregiver should be aware of is Creating a State Meeting Trust and Wills. And creating a long-term care plan, how are you going to pay for it? whether that's self-insuring or that's insurance or another investment product, You can decide what's best for you. There's many different ways nowadays to pay for long-term care.
Danielle Miura: And then the third one is making sure that you have your financial foundation solidified. So making sure that you have a savings for emergencies, That you're having a plan to pay off the debt, whatever debt you have. And that your financially in emotionally. Stable and that you're in good health. That you're protecting yourself, essentially.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that and this is a little bit off topic, but you mentioned an emergency savings and I think there's different advice out in the world about how much you should have in savings? Do you have a philosophy or insight on this for family caregiver specifically
Danielle Miura: Yeah, so usually I say between three to six months worth of sick expenses. So let's say you're expenses, each month are a thousand dollars. So you would want at least three months worth of expenses, it adjusts a little bit. Based off of, let's say you have a husband who's employed. You may have a little bit less. In that savings, if you're single and you're unemployed, you probably want more. Just as extra protection. So there are kind of some legal room to kind of adjust that savings based off of, what's going on in your life and what that looks like. I think for family care givers The thing that they don't add is their loved ones expenses that they're paying for. So they'll be like, my monthly expenses. Let's say a thousand dollars.
Danielle Miura: But what about the $1,000 that you spend for your loved one? So that really the monthly expenses should really be $2,000 times three or times six to get your emergency savings. Not just a thousand dollars because if something happens to you, you're still going to continue to be paying your loved ones expenses. Those are not going to go away.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think that's a good reminder. And sort of leads into my next question about I think often it's a little bit different than emergency savings but caregivers, Often forget about or have a hard time planning for the retirement or long-term care for themselves because they're like, the problem in front of me right now is caring for my loved one. And all of my resources are going to this and I guess my first question is, What advice do you have for care givers in planning for their retirement or their long-term care, just long-term planning and any advice for caregivers who are, caught up in the moment?
Danielle Miura: I would say Plan while your caregiving and I'm not saying I'm gonna put my money away plan, as in have a plan for the future. So, if you're someone who has Five hours a day that your loved one takes a nap during the day. Let's say, Take that time to really think about what your future looks like. Take courses to educate yourself more. Maybe you want to be a career changer or maybe you found that you're actually really passionate about caregiving and you want to be an advocate in the future Try it out and this is your time to kind of experiment especially if you're a full-time caregiver. This is your time to try new things and explore things. You may feel out the first couple things who cares but this is your time to kind of explore and find who you truly are.
Danielle Miura: and so right, when caregiving ends, you have that time to rebuild yourself, and plan for the future. I would say, And that's just specifically, for retirement When it comes to long-term care. I usually suggest, if there's not a plan in place to look at long-term care insurance policies before you start caregiving or within that first, six months of caregiving, why say that is usually family caregivers have a decline of health throughout their caregiving journey So if you're someone who was in perfectly good health before caregiving and then now you have the say back pain. Now you have depression or anxiety and now you have really extreme health conditions, which is possible. You may not qualify for long-term care insurance. So, having someone
Danielle Miura: at least in review their options while they're starting that first, six months of caregiving is really important so that they can really discover what long-term care planning looks like for them. they may not have the resources available to create a long-term But at least having that idea that plan in place of, when I finished caregiving this is what my long-term care plan would look like. I have my power of attorneys ready for me so that if someone needs to caregiver for me, that there's someone available, And I think that's the sad thing about caregiving is. We're so focused on our loved ones, we forget about ourselves.
Danielle Miura: And I would hate for it to be like your caregiving for your loved one and then you just happen to need care yourself. But you don't have anything in place because you were so worried about getting your loved ones to stay documents. Ready that yourself. Weren't getting the estate documents ready. and then no one can take care of you. We're going through a conservatorship process because you don't have anyone to protect you or there's not an additional power of attorney for your loved ones. So there's no one to take care of. The loved one that you originally took care of. So, I feel like most of my job is being a devil's advocate of seeing beyond some of these scenarios and just thinking If this happens to you then what's gonna happen to your loved one, What does that look like? and in kind of just playing those scenarios and more being a thought-provoker and kind of
Danielle Miura: discussing what those scenarios would look like.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that and I really like your tip, I guess to let look at long-term care insurance before you be on a caregiver or early on in your caregiving journey. I think it kind of ties back to this conversation about these groups of people that are more likely to become caregivers. That seems like a thing you're easy to do in preparation for this possible future responsibility, and
Katie Wilkinson: These same groups of people minorities. Women. And Just carryovers in general, often have a hard time accessing an ultra resources. It's a big stress for them. I guess just as we sort of start to wrap up this conversation, is there anything else? You've talked a little bit about how people can plan ahead and build a solid foundation? But does any final thoughts on how these groups of people can look ahead and set themselves up for success? For these possible future responsibilities.
Danielle Miura: Yeah, I would say don't hold your knowledge and your skills Let those Teach others about your experiences. and I'm gonna tie it back into, how is that really going to help yourself how it's going to help you is if you educate your next of kin or if you educate A friend or community member about what caregiving looks like and what you've learned, it'll be easier for someone to take care of you. The process is to make the next generation, have To have an easier process. So everything that you struggled with as a family caregiver,
Danielle Miura: Try to do your best to make it easier for the next, take caregiver. That's going to be taking care of you. So, pass on that knowledge and skills pass on the education, A journal. today, my loved one fell off the bed and this is what we experience and this is how we solved that situation. Maybe the next one is we were trying to find the right fitting diapers and we went through a bunch of different diapers and we couldn't find out one that works if I'm in this situation. This is what I want. So do your best if it's not financial means that you're at least passed down knowledge and a plan of what you want that to look like.
Katie Wilkinson: I love that. Yeah, thank you for sort of expanding on the question even and looking at it from a really holistic. Viewpoint. And we like to ask everyone on the podcast. As we wrap up, just what this is less about finances and more about your personal experience. But what do you know, now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your caregiving journey?
Danielle Miura: I think I wish I would have known that. I was a family caregiver and that I reached out for help. I was really isolated in the beginning. It was just like my mom and I trying to tackle the world and as much as I loved my mom and how well we tackled the world together, it felt very isolated.
Danielle Miura: I wish I would have tried to connect more with other resources to learn more about what family caregiving look like. I say, for those who are don't know, their family care givers. It's kind of like jumping into a job without a job description or getting a job as a truck driver. But you haven't even started driving. you're kind of deer in headlights. You don't know what you're getting yourself into, so you kind of just power it through Because that's as what is best and I feel like I was really that dear and headlights where I was just kind of moving forward because that's what I thought was best. When actuality, Asked for help. I wish I would have looked into more information, Googled more earlier in the early stages of caregiving,
Danielle Miura: because there's such a great community out there of family caregivers who Have great knowledge and really want to help.
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, it's so interesting. I've heard this from other people look like, you didn't know you were a caregiver and maybe this is an impossible question, but how looking back is there a way for you of sort of Identified in that way. Sooner what could have been different so that you could have reached out and found support sooner, or maybe? There's no way to know.
Danielle Miura: I think it's the way I look at it it's like my messaging. I started converting my marketing instead of being a family caregiver. It's like, Are you taking care of an elderly loved one? Are you taking care of a child, kind of transitioning that messaging. So it doesn't seem like those who are family members that don't think that their family care, givers can kind of say, yeah, I am taking care of an elderly loved one like that seems more simplifying than
Danielle Miura: It's okay to not say that your family caregiver, but at least get help when you eat it. Because there's a lot of support for someone who's not a family caregiver, but is a family member taking care of a loved one. So I guess kind of transitioning what that looks like. I've also done a lot of advocacy of trying to be transparent about our story in hopes that someone would say, I experience that I experience. There's so many people have experienced, trying to find the right diaper that fits and I feel like it's weird, a lot of my conversations are about diapers. I never thought that this would be like my profession we're talking about incontinence products. But this is what people have trouble with people. Have trouble finding care products and these are the kind of conversations that I have with people because it's so challenging. you could Google, what's the best, incontinence product and start really like
Danielle Miura: diving into those certain topics that you're having trouble with use it as a problem, solver, rather, through Google or your community rather than I'm a caregiver. What does that role look like?
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, thank you. And I mean you have been so open about your story, I think it's really encouraging to people and especially if they're looking for. resources, whether they identify as a family caregiver or a family member, who's taking care of someone and I would love for you to share, where people can find you online. If they want to learn more about your services or just access your education. Where can they find you?
Danielle Miura: Yeah, and so I mostly on social media on Twitter and LinkedIn. And then my website is spark, S p. A R K - F I N.com you can check out there, feel free I have a complimentary meeting if you just want to get to know me and hang out with me, and see if my services are a good fit and then I also feel free to message me if you have any questions. I'm really here to create a community and help other family, caregivers, feel less isolated. so,
Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, we'll be sure to link your site and for everyone listening I can attest that you are enjoyable to hang out with. So if people want to take advantage of your complementary call and I think that would be very worthwhile for people listening. So Danielle, thank you for much of your personal story and also your professional expertise. And again, we'll be sure to link you everywhere and share this across our channel so that people can learn more from you.
Danielle Miura: Thank you, Katie.