Over the past 30 years, medical and pharmaceutical advancements have increased boomers’ longevity by decades–far beyond that of their parents. In addition, many boomers married and had families at much later ages than their parents, thus creating what is frequently referred to as the “sandwich generation.”
As a result, boomers now face the responsibility of not only taking care of their own growing children, but simultaneously also seeing to the extended needs of aging and frail parents. All of this is happening against the backdrop of a seriously compromised Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security system.
It’s not surprising, then, that one of the biggest fears of today’s boomers is outliving wealth.
Today’s generation sees their parents setting goals for early and significantly longer years of retirement than did prior generations. Financial planning to accumulate wealth, coupled with estate planning to preserve and support that wealth through decades of retirement, require a different strategy, one that involves long term care planning and solutions.
Although most people think of LTC as an issue that only concerns the elderly, approximately 40% of LTC services are provided to people between the ages of 18 and 65. And with health care costs constantly increasing, it’s never too soon to purchase LTC insurance.
Changes in the health care system, tax and Medicaid legislation, such as the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006, have made a significant impact on estate-planning needs. Despite what many Americans would like to think, Medicare and Medicaid do not provide a safety net for LTC.
These days, it’s even more essential that people become active in planning for their extended futures. Everyone should create a will, establish a health care proxy and specify guardianship arrangements if they have children.
Although the majority of insurance needs that people face have not changed much over the years, the rising costs of living along with the increasing trend toward two-income families have made insurance even more essential. Today, for instance, both life insurance and long term disability are needed by both wage earners, to provide for the loss of crucial income in case of the death or disability of one partner or spouse.