The Lurking Wolf in Retirement Planning

Despite the odds, many people fail to consider the consequences of long-term care costs when putting together their retirement plan. The future costs and burdens of aging will have a big impact on family and finances.

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The Lurking Wolf in Retirement Planning
4 Min Read August 3rd, 2015 Updated:August 26th, 2020

Do you have a birthday coming up? All of us, hopefully, will at some point during the year. However, an upcoming birthday reminds us of where we have been and where we might be headed in the future.

There is a wolf out there, lurking to attack your future retirement and make your life and your family's life stressful. You might not have thought much about it, but you should be right now.

Think About the Past 20 Years - Then Look Forward

Just think about the last twenty years. How has your body changed during that time? Perhaps you gained weight? Maybe you had some health issues. You probably on medications for blood pressure or cholesterol. Most likely, you have an occasional ache or pain you didn't have before.

It's normal. It is part of the aging process everyone goes through sooner or later. Now take a moment and think about the next 20+ years. If you are age 50, you will be 70. If you're 60 in twenty years, you will be 80 years old. Do you think there will be changes in your health, your body, and your mind?

Are You in Denial?

Only a person in denial of reality will say they will face no challenges. The changes in your health, body, and mind will likely mean you will become dependant on other people to help you with normal living activities. You might require some supervision due to memory problems.

Will your spouse take care of you? Unless your spouse is 20 years younger than you, the answer is probably not ... they are aging as well. How about your children? Not only are your kids getting older themselves, but they also have their careers, families, and responsibilities. Besides, do you really want your children to help you bathing or going to the bathroom? Of course not.

Have you prepared your family and finances for the upcoming costs and burdens associated with aging? Two out of three Americans aged 40 and older are not saving for long-term care. Research says that many of us will need long-term care services at some point in our lifetime, but we ignore the problem according to a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 

Health Insurance and Medicare Will Not Pay for Most Long-Term Care

An Associated Press-NORC survey finds about 25% of Americans mistakenly believe that Medicare or traditional health insurance will cover their future long-term health care needs. The fact is these health plans will not pay for long-term care other than a limited amount of skilled care.

Most long-term care is custodial, which means help with everyday living activities. This custodial care includes the supervision many of us will require due to some form of dementia. 

The impact on long-term care on your future or current retirement should scare you. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator indicates facility care in a nursing home averages nationally over $100k a year. The care you get at home or an assisted living facility is not that much less. 

The cost of care does vary based on where you live. You will be able to see the financial impact on the calculator. The cost of long-term care changes your lifestyle and legacy. However, long-term care is more than just about money.

Family Become Caregivers - Is That Realistic?

Often the default caregiver becomes a family member, generally a daughter or daughter-in-law. The stress and pressures are tremendous and adversely impacts their life as well.

Remember, long-term care is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Planning is essential to ensure a successful future retirement.

Lenny Sanicola, a contributor to the Huff Post, talks about his experience of approaching birthday and thinking about long-term care. Read his article by clicking here.

LTC Insurance is an Affordable Solution

Don't allow the wolf to destroy your retirement or place a burden on those you love. An affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy will give you access to the type of quality care you want and where you want it. Most people prefer to stay in their own home, but sometimes an assisted living may be a good choice.

The bottom line is with an LTC Insurance policy you maintain control and independence. Your family will enjoy the time being family and not having the responsibility of being your caregiver.

Experts suggest obtaining coverage in your 40s and 50s when you still enjoy good health as these policies are medically underwritten and priced, in part, by the age when you obtain coverage. 

Better speak with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist since most insurance agents and financial advisors have little working knowledge or expertise in this area. 

You can find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here.

Don't delay since the wolf is lurking.


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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

There is little question that failing to plan for the financial costs and burdens of aging will adversely  impact you, your family, your savings & income, and your lifestyle. Yet, there is an easy and affordable to safeguard savings and income and reduce the stress and burdens longevity places on your family.

Long-Term Care Insurance is Affordable

Too many people think Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive. The fact is for most people these policies are very affordable. However, you don't want to wait until you are in your 70s to purchase a policy. Premiums are more expensive at those ages but that isn't the only concern. The bigger concern is you must have fairly good health in order to get a policy.

The best time to purchase a Long-Term Care policy is in your 40s and 50s as part of your overall retirement plan. If you have good health and you are now in your 60s you can still find affordable coverage. Hybrid policies, asset-based life insurance or annuities with a rider for long-term care are also available. In addition, short-duration policies might be perfect for a person who is older or has some health issues.

Premiums Can Vary Over 100% So Get Professional Help

No matter which type of plan you purchase, Long-Term Care Insurance is easy, affordable and rate stable income and asset protection. These policies are custom designed. Be careful, however, since premiums can vary over 100% between companies for the exact same coverage. This is why you should seek the help of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Find a specialist by clicking here.

Items to Discuss with a Long-Term Care Specialist:

  • Partnership – Most states offer special policies that provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection. The Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program might be one of the best-kept secrets in retirement planning. Make sure the specialist explains this program and how it might help you.
  • Tax incentives – There are federal tax incentives available for some people. If you own your own business be sure to ask.
  • Health Savings Accounts – If you have an HSA you can use the pre-tax money in your account to pay for the premium.
  • Asset-Based or Hybrid policies – These are life insurance or annuities with a rider for long-term care. Careful, only a handful are actually a long-term care benefit. However, one of these policies can provide you with the flexibility of both a long-term care benefit or a death benefit. They are expensive but can be paid with a single premium.
  • Health and Family History - Make sure the specialist asks you detailed questions about your health, family history, and retirement plans. Underwriting criteria varies with each insurance company. If they are not asking you detailed questions then find another specialist.

Cost of Long-Term Care Services Increasing - Use Tools to Decide Amount of Coverage You Need

Take a moment and find the current and future costs of long-term care in the area you live in. This will help you decide the amount of coverage is appropriate for you in your situation. For example, if you have a defined pension when you retire the amount of benefits you would need for long-term care would be less than an individual who will fund their future retirement with earnings off investments. In that case, protecting the principal is essential since that will produce your future income.

Find your state and use the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator by clicking here.

It is always best to start planning before you retire. Once you have your plan in place you will enjoy peace-of-mind and your family will thank you decades from now.

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