Most people learn about long-term care when they or their loved ones are touched by it firsthand. At that point, they have limited options on what they can do to pay for this tremendous expense. So while no one savors talking to their financial advisor about long-term care, you should. Failing to address it in terms of protecting retirement assets leaves you and your family at risk. What would an additional $82,000 of annual expenses do to your family? Or, based on the projected cost of care in 2030, what would an additional annual cost of $181,000 do? Adding this cost on top of current expenses can literally tear apart a family, and the fact is, less than five percent of Americans are actually prepared to meet the cost of long-term care head on.
The number of people that do not have a plan in place is very disturbing and reflects a level of neglect by financial pundits to inform the public about this risk. Recently, I had a client come to me and say that if his wife had not had long-term care insurance, he would have been financially ruined. I have heard this story more than once and considering that seven out of 10 Americans over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care in the future, I will hear it again. Despite these alarming statistics, very few Americans are sold on the idea that they need this type of protection. Even though we insure our homes, cars, television and even phones, people still are hesitant to insure their retirement.
We buy insurance to protect ourselves from unforeseen costs, and there are few costs greater than long-term care. One could say that not having long-term care insurance is comparable to not having health insurance. Each protects the insured from outrageous expenses and there are levels of care provided by the government if you do not have the protection in place. Proper long-term care can even extend an individual’s life like that of quality health care. However, I have never known anyone to think twice about paying for health insurance if they can afford it, but when presented with the idea of long-term care insurance, the excuses are endless. The only plausible explanation that I can derive from this is that most people are unaware or have never had to deal with the cost firsthand. So I encourage you, if you have never been impacted directly by the costs of care, talk to someone that has. I find the people who purchase this protection are people who have been directly impacted by having a loved one needing some type of care.
Even if you think you could self-fund the cost of long-term care, it still would be prudent to talk to someone who has experienced this firsthand. Because by the time you need long-term care, and statistically speaking you will, it might be too late. FBN