In 2016 the CBS-TV program “Survivor’s” fall season 33 featured Millennials Vs. Gen X. Most people are aware of the youthful Millennials and everything said and written about this generation. But Millennials, Generation X, and what they call “Late-Boomers” are very tied together with the issue of aging, retirement, and long-term care.
If you are a member of Generation X (GenXer – those born 1965–1980) or a Late-Boomer (those born 1956–1964), the issue of extended long-term health care better be a topic you are thinking about when planning your future retirement.
You should be saving money in your 401(k), IRA, 403(b) and other savings accounts to enjoy a long successful retirement. Life expectancy continues to rise so your savings must last a very long time. But long life brings health issues, and many people fail to safeguard their retirement savings from long-term care costs.
Millennials Expect Inheritance but the Money May Not Be There
Many Millennials expect to receive an inheritance from their parents. The facts suggest otherwise. Not only could they receive less than past generations, but they may also become caregivers as their parents require extended long-term care (LTC). Unless their Gen X or Late Boomer parents planned for extended care, the burden of caregiving and negative economic impact would fall flat on their laps.
“As we prepare for retirement, recognize that Long Term medical care costs are likely to be an issue. No matter what stage we have reached, now is the time for most of us to begin planning for how we are going to address our own Long-Term Care. Adequate planning and a little foresight can make a huge difference in whether we will be prepared.”John Hoffmire, Director of the Center on Business and Poverty at the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.
He indicates that many Americans think Medicareor health insurance will pay for long-term care costs. However, most long-term care is custodial in nature, and custodial care is not covered by any health insurance or Medicare(health insurance for those 65 and older).
Custodial care is the type of extended care many of us will require due to extended illnesses, accidents, or the impact of aging. This includes help with what is called ‘activities of daily living.’ These are things which we all take for granted; eating, dressing, bathing, etc.
If you are a GenXer or Late-Boomer, the most significant risk to your retirement income and your Millennial’s inheritance are the high costs and burdens of long-term health care. The government programs that exist are often of little assistance when it comes to paying for extended care at home, assisted living, nursing homes and other forms of long-term care.
Health Insurance and Medicareare Not Solutions
Medicarecovers nursing-home stays for a short period of time, and only if you require skilled care. Medicaid, the medical welfare program, requires that you spend almost all of your own money before it pays for extended care.
Since the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 became law, you can no longer simply transfer assets to family members in order to qualify for Medicaid. However, that same law allows states to set up Long-Term Care Partnership Programs which provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection or what is referred to as ‘asset disregard.’
If you have a qualified Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you can protect part of your estate equal to the amount of money paid out by your LTC policy. Most states have plans in place. This link shows which states have Partnership Long-Term Care policies in place and which ones are reciprocal if you move from one state to another.
For more information on Medicareand Medicaid, visit www.Medicare.gov.
Family Caregivers Face Multiple Challenges
Adult children, including Millennials, will find it very difficult to be a caregiver. A recent article on the AARP website gives the example of ‘Becky.’ Becky is like so many other daughters today and in the future who will attempt to struggle with being a spouse, a mom, having a career, and being a caregiver.
The physical, emotional, and even financial burdens on family members are huge. Caregiving is also not an equitable event, either. In the vast number of families, one of the siblings (generally a daughter) bears the brunt of the work and sacrifices their time and family.
The role of a family caregiver impacts the relationship between your daughters and sons and their spouses. Fights about “who is doing their fair share” split families. Also, decisions on how to spend a parent’s savings becomes a heated discussion. The family starts to balance what is best for the parent needing care and thoughts about what amount may be leftover in inheritance creates a very non-loving environment for the family.
“This is why affordable Long-Term Care Insurance has become an important part of many people’s retirement planning.”
“The time to plan is well before retirement when your health tends to be better and premiums much more affordable. GenXers and Late Boomers should act on this key part of retirement planning. While safeguarding future retirement income and assets is a major concern for many people, easing the burden on family and the peace-of-mind that provides is a big part of the equation.”Matt McCann, a nationally known expert on LTC planning
A recent AARP study says 88% of middle-income caregivers said it was much harder to care for a parent than expected. Caregivers reported much higher levels of stress, depression, and health issues of their own.
LTC Insurance Offers Choice and Independence
Long-Term Care Insurance can provide you with many options. Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), says customers see LTC insurance as “nursing home avoidance insurance.” He indicates what many of us already know. Most people will feel more comfortable in their own home and Long-Term Care Insurance provides the guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for quality care while easing the burden on adult children. It is choice and independence that many people say they want as they approach retirement. LTC insurance is a way to give you that control and peace-of-mind.
Most experts suggest discussing your options with an insurance agent who specializes in this type of policy. Premiums and underwriting requirements can vary dramatically. Slome suggests consumers work with a specialist in Long-Term Care Insurance.
“It really takes experience and some time to develop a real expertise in the field,” he said.
Many types of Long-Term Care Insurance plans are available, including Partnership plans, shared benefit plans for spouses, single premium plans with death benefits, and annuities with LTC benefits. These options give consumers many affordable choices to fit their situation. In addition, very affordable short-term plans are now available in many states that will give you some choice and protection at an affordable cost.
The AALTCI can help you find a specialist or do an internet search on 'Long-Term Care Specialist.' Keep in mind that very few real specialists exist. The most experienced LTC specialists are licensed in most states and can discuss your situation on the phone and via 'screen sharing' where you can sit at your computer and see the specialist's computer screen while you ask questions and learn your options.
This 'Survivor' game of safeguarding your future retirement is one you should take seriously. You can enjoy the TV game and see how the Millennials do against their older GenXers. The question for GenXer's or Late-Boomers is, are you wise enough to act before your choices are few and you get voted off the island of a successful retirement?
Your body, health, and mind will change in the next 20+ years. Consider the physical, emotional, and financial burdens placed on you and your loved ones as you get older.
LTC NEWS Resources
LTC NEWS offers an abundance of resources to learn about your options and decide which long-term care solution is best for you. However, these solutions are all medically underwritten, so you can't delay until you have major health problems. It would be best if you planned when you still enjoy reasonably good health. The underwriting rules vary between insurance companies. Many experts suggest starting your research in your 40s or 50s.
Use the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator and find both the current and future cost of care services where you live. Click here and see the financial impact.
Caregiving is hard on family members, and paid care is expensive. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance provides the tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care in your home or in a facility.
Find an Expert
Be sure to seek the right type of professional help. Experts say to avoid using a financial advisor or general insurance agent. They often lack the experience and knowledge in policy features, underwriting, tax advantages, and other factors. Since premiums can vary by over 100% between insurance companies, you need a skilled and trusted professional.
A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will help you navigate the options and find the best coverage at the best value. Discover your trusted pro by clicking here.
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