July 20, 2024


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Will Your Retirement Savings Survive Longevity and Long-Term Care?

By the time you reach age 40, you should have resources set aside for your future retirement. Planning for a successful future retirement does take some effort. It would be best if you utilize your employer’s 401(k) option. If your employer does not offer a 401(k), 403(b), or a defined pension program, you should make an effort to save money in an IRA. If you are self-employed, you should start a SEP account. However, planning doesn’t end with saving money.

What happens when your health changes due to an extended illness, an accident, or just the impact of aging? As you get older these health risks increase substantially. Will your retirement plan survive longevity?

Retirement planning for long-term care has become a top priority for many Generation X and Baby Boomers. Many people from age 40 to 70 have personally dealt with the impact of long-term health care with a parent or other loved one.

The problem is too many people forget to protect those retirement funds from the high costs of long-term care. The financial costs and burdens that come with aging will impact you, your family, your savings, and your lifestyle.

You will experience changes in your health, body, and mind increasing your need for long-term health care. Caregiving is challenging for your family. Depending on your children to be caregivers is not a good plan. They have or will have their own careers, families, and responsibilities. It is not that they don’t love you but having a son or daughter or an in-law be a caregiver is stressful. It also can impact their health and careers.

Spouses are also not a good option for caregiving. As you age, so will they. They will also have their own health and age issues to deal with.

Paid care drains your assets and adversely impacts your income and lifestyle. According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator (www.ltcnews.com), the cost of long-term care services and supports continues to increase. Even a significant nest egg can be adversely affected.

The current national average cost of care at home, based on a 44-hour week, runs almost $4500 a month. Base assisted living facility costs start at $4300 a month plus surcharges based on your needs. Skilled care in a nursing home averages $8900 a month – over $100,000 a year. The cost of long-term care services increases over time.

Many people incorrectly assume that Medicare will pay for any long-term care needs in the future. Health insurance, Medicare, and supplements only pay a limited amount of skilled services – and only if you are getting better. These insurance options do not cover the costs of custodial services, which help with activities-of-daily living. However, most people require custodial services as they age.

While most long-term care happens when we are older, people of all ages do require extended care. Early-onset dementia, including Alzheimer’s, the most well-known form of dementia, can happen even in your 30s. Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and even strokes happen at younger ages.

It is your good health today that gives you the opportunity to plan ahead.

Medicaid, the medical welfare program, can pay for long-term care, but you must be poor or end up poor. For most people, this is something you want to avoid.

The fact is the financial costs and burdens of aging will impact your savings and your family. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance safeguards your assets and eases the burden that is otherwise placed on your family.

Although some think Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive, it is actually very affordable for most people, especially if you plan before retirement. Premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies.

If you enjoy reasonably good health, these policies can easily fit in most people’s budgets. The problem is that too many people seek a financial advisor or general insurance agent with little knowledge in this area. They often make recommendations that are too large or sometimes too little. In addition, many of these professionals only work with one or two insurance companies. Since they don’t have a good grasp on how policies get used at the time of claim, their recommendations are out-of-line with what you may actually need.

Plus, 45 states offer Long-Term Care Partnership policies, which provide additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection.

There are several types of policies that are available in most states. These include traditional plans, partnership plans which provide additional asset protection, single premium ‘hybrid’ plans, which also offer a death benefit, and short-term plans which offer wider age and health qualifications.

The key is to work with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the major insurance companies. I always ask many detailed questions to design an appropriate plan based on the client’s specific concerns and budget.

The cost of long-term care services varies from location to location. Most claims start with care at home, and many people avoid a nursing home altogether since they get the proper attention at home or in an assisted living facility. These costs are much less than skilled services in a nursing home.

Long-Term Care Insurance will pay benefits either at home, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, memory care, and in traditional skilled nursing homes. With most policies, you and your family get to decide how you use your benefits.

Does Long-Term Care Insurance work? Absolutely. In 2020 the major insurance companies paid over $11.6 Billion in benefits to American families. These families would have otherwise had to drain their own assets to pay for care, have family members become caregivers or both.

Since policies are custom designed, you get to decide what is important to you. The key is to plan prior to retirement. Long-Term Care Insurance isn’t sexy. It doesn’t shine like a new car or a new piece of jewelry. You might not show your policy off at a party. It will, however, give you and your family peace-of-mind.

Working with a Long-Term Care specialist will allow you to get the accurate information you seek. Start your research in your 40s and 50s when you have the most affordable options.

The fact is Long-Term Care Insurance is easy, affordable, and rate stable income and asset protection.