Are you doing retirement planning with your clients? Do you understand the real dollars involved in long term care? It goes way beyond out of pocket medical expenses for Medicare premiums, supplemental insurance and medicines. You need to help them free up enough to pay for it.
We are indeed living longer now due to advances in medicine and technology but what is the condition we’re in with longevity? It’s not true that we’re living healthier than the prior generation.
No one wants to talk about the reality that things like obesity, in 30-35% of Boomers are going to affect whether they need to pay for lots of things Medicare does not cover. Obesity is frequently associated with significantly greater risk for heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Boomers have the highest rates of obesity of any age group in the U.S. If you want to pick conditions that are most likely to result in the need for long term care, all of these are among them.
Retirement planning can be very tricky when it comes to considering the cost of long term care. Most people don’t want to have a conversation about what would happen if they became disabled. Most would rather change the subject quickly if the issue of possible diminished capacity is raised. “That’s on going to happen to me!” is the expected response. But the risk is real, and there are plenty of statistics to support an analysis of what it costs to care for a person with disabling health conditions.
According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, which comes out annually, 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some kind of long term support as they age. At AgingInvestor.com, we recommend that every financial professional have the latest study on hand and that you share it with your clients when you do retirement planning. Chances are they are not as healthy as their parents were. And what kind of care will they need?
Most people want to stay at home as they age. Many will use home care services to be able to stay at home. Here’s an example. My now 94 year old mother in law, Alice, had numerous hospitalizations for a couple of months, for blood pressure issues, the flu and other problems. She simply wasn’t safe living independently in her apartment as she recovered. A home care worker came in every day for a cost of $25 per hour, initially for 12 hours a day. That cost is not paid by Medicare.
She’s a good example of how we can need care with advanced age even if we do things right. She has always taken good care of herself, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t abuse alcohol, exercises regularly and keeps her weight in normal range. And yet, after illness she needed 24/7 care. The overall out of pocket costs associated with that bout of illness approached $10,000. She’s fairly tough and did recover fully. However at her age that is not what usually happens. Home care could be needed indefinitely at a cost even part-time of at least $20,000 per year.
The extra $20,000 a year any less resilient elder could need is for someone who has neither heart disease nor diabetes. Chronic illnesses put a person at even greater risk of needing expensive care. Full time around the clock help can run $250,000 per year and up, depending on geographic area market rates.
Here’s the takeaway: Expect that anyone who reaches the age of 80 is much more likely than not to need cash to pay for help of some kind. If your client is overweight or obese, the risk is very high. Ditto if your client smokes. Be sure to plan for making cash available to cover your client’s likely needs in his later years. Most of what is usually required is not covered by either Medicare nor supplemental “Medigap” insurance.