Mike Padawer writes in his new book, “What’s the Deal with Long-Term Care“, the following: ” The reality is that the longer you live, the greater the likelihood is that you will require long-term care services. The costs associated with needing long-term care are significant, and while it can take decades to accumulate the assets you’ll need to retire comfortably, just a few years of paying for long-term care may significantly threaten your lifetime of savings. ”
My experience has shown me that there is nothing like health-care costs to ruin even the best designed and implemented financial plans. I’ve seen people who’ve done all the right things in terms of saving, allocating assets and investment selection have their dreams of a safe and secure retirement significantly impacted by their own or a loved one’s need for long-term care services.
Yet it continues to be the one item that we put off and ignore. And why not? It’s confusing. It’s expensive. And probably, most importantly, the person who is helping you with your financial plan is not bringing up the subject with you.
That’s changing, however, and we’re seeing more and more advisers realizing that retirement planning is not only about asset allocations and portfolio models. Firms are starting to recognize that health-care costs can have a profound impact on the savings and futures of retirees. These firms are now implementing programs to help their advisers educate and inform clients on the options for long-term care.
As with anything else that is discussed with your financial adviser, it pays to have some knowledge of the product before you sign on the dotted line. That’s why it’s a great time to take advantage of the designation of November as Long-Term Care Awareness Month and begin your education on the topic now.
It’s a great time to educate yourself to the reality that although long-term care should be a consideration for retirees, it’s also confusing and has many options to consider. I’ll talk about many of these options during the month of November to help you to navigate the long-term care process.
To help you to prepare for the consideration of long-term care for your own and your family’s plans for later life, I want to highlight some resources that may help you:
Genworth Financial, which is a leader in the long-term care product area, has information that helps you with specific LTC information based on your state, available here .
A Kiplinger’s Personal Finance reprint on the most asked questions about Long-Term Care is available here .
The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance provides 5 guides for consumers about long-term care, here .
There’s even a government website that’s up on the topic — this one seems to be more stable and accessible than other health-care sites that the government has put into place. See it here .
I mentioned Mike Padawer and his book, which is a good primer on the subject. You can get more information on the book here .
Full disclosure: I wrote the preface for Mike’s book and as I’m by no means an expert on the subject, I simply related my own experience in the book when looking for long-term care insurance: “I can speak from my own experience that the decision and discussions about long-term care planning are often complex and stressful. They involve thinking about the possibility that you or a loved one may become incapacitated and require extensive care in your later years. When I considered long-term care for my wife and me, we were stunned at the costs and complexity involved. At the end of the process, I was amazed at the feeling that we came away with after my wife and I had made our decision on long-term care solutions; it was the feeling of peace of mind that we had.”
Learning about and evaluating long-term care options can be a difficult process. Use the month of November to begin your process. At the end of it, I hope that you’ll achieve the same peace of mind that I had, whatever you decide.
I’d love to hear any personal stories that others have had regarding long-term care this month. Please provide them in the comments. Thanks!