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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

When’s the right time to plan?

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As a competitive swimmer from a young age, I learned the value of time in turning my Olympic dreams into reality. I wasn’t lifting weights at the age of five, nor was I winning every event I entered during middle school.

But over time, I methodically added more skills to my repertoire that brought me closer and closer to my gold medal goal. By 1976, I met that goal head-on in the Olympic Games knowing that I had taken the necessary steps to be the best in the world.

The same strategies that worked for my Olympic training can work for clients of younger generations when it comes to planning for their long term care (LTC) needs.

Working with advisors on the intricacies of long term care for two decades while helping to provide care for aging parents myself, I know that there is never a better time to discuss LTC planning than today — no matter what age your client is.

For a little help, here are my tips for clients in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s to get them proactively planning so that they are ready for anything life throws their way.

Clients in their 20s & 30s

The thought of requiring long term care seems light ages away for most of your youngest clients, and for many it is still decades down the road.

This offers you a unique opportunity to start the conversation and develop trust. It’s not about selling your 20 or 30-something clients long term care policies; instead, it’s about setting them on a proactive financial course that will work to meet their needs for years to come… and keep them coming back to you in the process.

To start, younger clients deserve to have the blanks filled in so that they, too, can appreciate the impact that long term care costs could have on their future in all its forms.

The Genworth Cost of Care Annual Survey shows median LTC costs by state and is the perfect starting point. Though staggering and continually increasing, these costs aren’t nearly as daunting for younger clients as they will be for clients fast approaching the realities of long term care needs. Time is on their side and yours- start them off right by making them aware today.

Clients in their 40s

Many clients in their fifth decade of life are juggling child-rearing with educational savings, and job uncertainties with mortgages. There can be a dizzying array of financial goals each vying for their attention but one thing is for certain: purchasing LTC insurance will not get any cheaper as your clients continue to celebrate birthdays.

Disability and long term care insurances are sister products that complement one another.

Most of your younger clients already have disability insurance, and you might have been the one who started that conversation and sold them their policies. But do they understand that disability may not cover long term events over 90 days? 

Don’t leave them in the dark to turn to other sources for information- leverage your expertise to examine whether an LTC policy is a suitable fit given their financial goals and realities.

Now is also a good time to inquire about the long term care plans of their parents that may very likely affect their own finances and situation. Are they expected to care for Mom? If so, will income be reduced when a spouse leaves a job?

Is a re-location inevitable? Will they have to rearrange or put off other forms of savings to help? These conversations are so important to have, particularly during these years when policies are still relatively inexpensive, income is high and risk hasn’t increased substantially.

Clients in their 50s

While many of us Boomers remain highly active, whether it’s taking the grandkids to the playground or taking up new sports (my own favorite is stand up paddling), the realities of needing some form of care increase with each passing year.

What’s more, many of us have firsthand experience administering or paying for the long term care needs of our loved ones by the time we’ve reached this decade. 50-somethings recognize the profound impact of long term care and the consequences of having sufficient (or insufficient) funds or plans in place. Now they need your help to define their own strategy and ensure they can meet the expectations.

Because they are still earning an income, these clients are positioned well to save for long term care costs or purchase a policy. Chances are most will require or administer long term care during their lifetime and now is the decade for them to solidify those plans. They may need your help choosing the best policy, allocating funds properly or working with a reduced income while they care for a loved one.

By touching base with the needs of your 50-something clients and their families, you develop a greater appreciation for their goals, help them plan accordingly and strengthen your relationship.

Clients of All Ages

The most successful advisors I work with are those that encourage their clients to see health and wellness as an important part of their clients’ financial strategies.

Physical fitness mitigates many costs associated with long term care, and increasingly Americans of all generations are taking an active interest in their health.

Whether you’re participating in fun runs or marathons, don’t shy away from sharing the details with your clients. Having an advisor who cares about their health and views it as an important part of life is one of the surest ways to earn the trust and respect of younger clients.

After all, health is wealth!

Until next time!

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