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Eyewitness to long-term care

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Several weeks ago, I attended a dinner meeting consisting of financial advisors (FA). Having worked with hundreds of FAs over the course of seventeen years, I knew quite a few of them and eagerly caught up about business and families.

Somewhere between the main course and dessert, an advisor that I’ve worked with for many years came over and took a seat next to me. I’ll call him “Aaron.”

When I first met Aaron, he was still a young FA who knew little about LTC costs let alone its personal impact. After helping his clients understand LTC, he began to see the financial vulnerabilities that many of his clients faced should they need long-term care in the future. He fervently believed in the power of planning to mitigate risks and bring a sense of security, much like myself. I predicted that with experience, he would become an advisor well versed on LTC.

What I didn’t expect was that Aaron would call me up almost immediately after our first few meetings and ask if I would sit down with him and his mother (who I’ll call “Sandy”) to find the right LTC solution for her. That was 15 years ago, but I can still recall some of Sandy’s concerns. Though she was just in her fifties, she was already a widow who understood her own exposure to potential long-term care scenarios.

Sandy’s biggest concern was the prospect of not having enough money to live out her life in dignity. She wanted to retain control of her choices and her money. After our conversation, it took her little time to determine that a long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy was the answer. She applied for a policy and was accepted.

See also: 4 ways to help LTC planning clients believe in themselves

Fast-forward to our dinner event. Seated next to me, Aaron seized the opportunity to speak first. “Wendy, I just have to tell you how grateful I am for all the time you spent with me and my clients over the years.”

He went on to tell me that Sandy now resides in an assisted living facility of her choice which would cost $6,200 a month had she not had an LTCI policy to reimburse that expense. He told me about how relieved she was to have the financial ability to choose where she wanted to live. He spoke about how this choice has likewise empowered him and his two sisters so that they can retain their own freedom without the financial, emotional or physical burdens of providing their mother’s care. 

What struck me most during our conversation that night was Aaron’s gratitude. He spoke of his commitment to helping all of his 259 clients understand and plan for LTC. It has clearly become a personal and professional passion for him. “That’s over 1,000 family members and close friends that I have impacted. And every single time I sit down with a client and have the LTC discussion, I’m helping more people,” he said with a smile.

Next time you’re seated around a table with a client, ask them about their long-term plans and the plans of those who may depend on them. Because as my friend Aaron would say, you have an opportunity to impact many more people than the person sitting across from you.


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