When you read or hear anything about retirement planning, the focus often falls on the woman. Many times their health is better overall, and their longevity reflects that. Typically, women with a similar health profile will live two to four years longer than their husbands, even more with better overall health.
The problem with longevity is that we face a decline in our health, body, and mind at some point. One recent study showed that 30% of the residual life expectancy at age 65 for women was spent in a state of chronic disability. Over half of all women will need some type of long-term health care before death, presenting a huge challenge for women planning for their future.
Chronic Health and Longevity
Sure, most people understand the need for retirement planning, but longevity planning includes the quality of that life and the costs and burdens of chronic health or aging problems.
Most couples don't understand the impact of widowhood on a spouse. Men still need long-term health care and pass away before a woman. Without proper planning, the financial implications of ignoring the problem can be devastating.
Many American couples don't think about longevity, declining health, aging, and long-term health care until it becomes a crisis. The crisis falls on their adult children. The consequences are placed on everyone.
How Will Long-Term Care Be Provided? How Will it Be Paid For?
How will care be provided and funded, and by whom? How will the financial impact affect the woman who is generally the second to need care? If no plan was put in place, how would the drain in assets affect the quality of life for the woman in the years ahead?
Sure, sometimes it does go the other way, and the woman needs care before the man. The lack of longevity planning is still financially and emotionally brutal on the family.
Women and Caregiving
Wives, by default, become caregivers first for their husbands. This arrangement usually doesn't last long since caregiving is so physically and emotionally demanding, especially for older people. Unless Long-Term Care Insurance is in place, adult children, most often a daughter or daughter-in-law, step in to be full-time or part-time caregivers.
Family caregivers have to juggle careers and family responsibilities with being a caregiver. It doesn't work and often leads to health problems for the caregiver, not to mention relationship problems with their spouse and children.
Declining Standard of Living for Women
Once a husband has passed away, the financial impact is usually even greater absent advance planning, which is really concerning. Eighty-five percent of women over age 85 are widows, compared to 45% of men.
Being prepared for future declining health and the costs and burdens of longevity is a vital part of retirement planning - especially for women - Retirement Planning And Its Challenges For Women.
Can Long-Term Care Insurance Be Helpful?
The experts say to obtain Long-Term Care Insurance before you retire and make it part of an overall retirement plan. Most people purchase coverage in their 50s, some even in their 40s. While the early 50s isn't often when women (or men) anticipate their failing health, many couples haven't planned at all -- and their finances have plummeted as a result.
You must have reasonably good health to obtain insurance coverage for long-term care. Waiting until you are in your 70s or beyond is not realistic, and even if you have good health, it will be more expensive.
Plan Early - Don't Wait
Getting coverage at a younger age will mean lower premiums. Despite paying for years in premiums, you will pay less over your lifetime. You must, however, face the reality of life and how the consequences of aging impact families and finances. Since nobody can predict when they will face declining health, preparing makes common planning sense.
Remember, certain health conditions make you uninsurable or more difficult and expensive to insure. Once you have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy in place, it gets locked in. The insurance company can never cancel a policy, and premiums are intended to remain level.
The consequences of aging and declining health are more than just a financial problem. The cost of long-term health care is a cash flow issue, but don't ignore the stress, anxiety, and burdens placed on your family.
Real Consequences on Family and Finances
If a family member must become a caregiver, the hardships are great for them and their family. These consequences are real and often life-altering for them. Long-Term Care Insurance gives you access to your choice of quality care options, including in-home care. You will safeguard your income and assets and allow your loved ones the time to be family instead of caregivers.
Shared spousal policies are popular as they offer very flexible benefits for a couple. Seek the help of an experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right insurance company to find you the lowest cost options. Premiums can vary over 100%, so be sure to work with a specialist who represents the top companies.
Insurance companies must file their products and rates with each state, so no individual agent or advisor can offer special deals. But not only do premiums differ for the same coverage but so do insurance company underwriting guidelines. Therefore, a specialist is best able to help you through this process.
Long-Term Care Focus on Women
Women generally have longer life expectancies than men. Women also tend to marry men several years older than themselves, creating periods of widowhood of 15 years or longer that are not uncommon. Without proper planning, there is a decline in their standard of living.
Don't ignore long-term care and longevity. Be focused on this at a younger age. Don't wait until you are in your 60s, do so when you are younger and healthier. You and your family will see the benefits.
About the Author
An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.
Contributor since August 21st, 2017
Being prepared for future declining health and aging is vital to your retirement planning. People need long-term health care due to illnesses, accidents, or the consequences of aging. The costs of long-term health care services are rising at an alarming rate due to increasing demand and high labor costs.
Part of the problem is health insurance and Medicare, including supplements, will not pay for most of these long-term care costs. While Medicaid will pay for long-term health care, you must have little or no income and assets to qualify for those benefits.
There are only a few solutions. You could depend on family caregivers (often a daughter or daughter-in-law), spend your income and savings on professional care, or add an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement plan.
LTC Insurance gives you guaranteed tax-free benefits that give you access to your choice of quality care services, including in-home care. Plus, most policies include professional case management to help your family develop a plan of care and find quality care providers.
Long-term care costs are expensive, and family caregivers face physical and emotional burdens. LTC Insurance is an easy and affordable solution but don't delay since policies are medically underwritten. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s.
Planning Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS
You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis.
To help you plan the costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:
- The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future cost of long-term health care services where you live. Plus, each state has vital state-specific information you should know - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News
- The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area.
- Compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.
- A detailed tax guide that includes available tax incentives can be found by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.
Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.
Seek Professional Guidance
Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, insurance companies' premiums vary over 100% for the same coverage.
Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.
A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.
Finding Quality Care for Mom or Dad
Start by reading our four guides -
- Finding Quality In-Home Care | LTC News
- Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs) | LTC News
- Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities | LTC News
- Finding a Quality Nursing Home | LTC News
If they are lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea.
Get Help in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim
Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help.
LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work, free with no obligation.
You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.
Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.
Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement.
Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages.
- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.
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You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.
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