When asked, most potential clients do not know what their two most critical financial challenges will be as they age in place. The first challenge is “running out of money before we run out of life.” The second is “running out of money due to failing health.” Similarly, two issues we must address for every prospective client are 1) to protect their livelihood in retirement and 2) to protect their income stream for a healthy spouse when one or the other becomes incapacitated due to failing health. It is a misnomer to think one’s household expenses will decrease by as much as 50 percent when home health care becomes a necessity or assisted living drains the retirement fund bucket.
Regardless of where you live, in a large city or a small rural community, costs of a nursing facility can be $3,500 to $7,000 per month. Translated, a long term care bill could exceed $80,000 per year. The end result could absolutely fracture plans of future retirement income requirements. It is paramount to have unfettered ability to sustain both needs.
When client’s needs are interrupted with their “aching back,” you must also assist them in evaluating their ability to cover necessary costs. Most clients have no clue as to how they can navigate a suitable retirement lifestyle on one hand and afford long term care on the other.
It is incumbent on you, their friend and financial advisor, to provide education on economic dangers. Savings drainage, due to long term care expenses, can destroy retirement income sources for a healthy spouse when their mate requires LTC. Failing to offer a long term care proposal, along with their retirement income proposal, is to invite a potentially expensive lawsuit initiated by an adult child. You are their professional financial advisor. Their attorney will likely ask, “Why didn’t you offer an alternative to cover the potential expense of long term care for their mom, for an average of five and one-half years, or their dad, for an average of two and one-half years?”
Long term care is an insurance industry issue, the benefits of which one hopes never to need. It’s no different than insurance on one’s house, car, boat or other physical property. Long term care is protection you purchase to protect your estate, while hoping it will never be needed.If your client is eligible, health-wise, or does not already own LTCI, the professional advisor, with his/her client’s best interest at heart, should always propose LTC coverage. Doing so protects you from the “aching back” of an expensive lawsuit.