VOL. 133 | NO. 120 | Friday, June 15, 2018
Rays of Wisdom
Dana and Ray Brandon
Weigh Your Options For Long-Term Care
Ray’s Take: As of August 2017, the oldest person alive was a 117–year-old woman named Violet Brown from Jamaica. And when I scrolled through the list of the top 100 oldest people alive, only three were men. I’ll let you try and make sense of that.
It’s just a fact that we are living much longer than our ancestors. Laura Carstensen, Ph.D., director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity, said, “The good news is we are living longer. The bad news is … we are living longer. Thanks to advances in science and technology, we have added more years to our life expectancy in the past century than in all of human evolution to this point. It’s a success that’s viewed with a mixture of pride, doubt and – if your job is calculating risk for a health insurance company – dread.”
But living longer can place an unexpected burden on you and your family if you haven’t planned ahead. Many people are seeing this trend and opting to purchase long-term care insurance policies to protect their spouse, children or other family members from being financially responsible for managing their care in the event they need daily assistance because of old age, an unexpected accident or disability.
Long-term care insurance helps provide care beyond a pre-determined period. Generally, long-term care covers services and support not covered by your health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. This includes personal care and things to assist with daily living. In most cases, you are reimbursed a daily amount (up to a pre-selected limit).
In my experience, I have found that investing in the companies selling the products to support long-term care can be more beneficial to your overall financial plan than purchasing the actual policies. For some, alleviating the anxiety of the risk through insurance can be worth every penny. But for others, it’s important to pass along their portfolio to their heirs and shift the risk of long-term care to an insurance company. It’s a personal decision, but should be evaluated with an independent party.
Dana’s Take: Most of us are hopeful that our children will take care of us until we draw our final breath. But in reality, the number of adult children who can be full-time caregivers is shrinking.
My aunt turns 99 years old this year. She still cooks and her children take her to appointments.
Some of our other family members live in lovely life-care communities. They have great food, lots of activities and caregivers on-site for all stages of life.
Both have been great options. Look at your budget and figure out what’s best for you. We can’t know what will happen tomorrow, so it’s always good to have a plan.
Ray Brandon, CEO of Brandon Financial Planning, and his wife, Dana, a licensed clinical social worker, can be reached at brandonplanning.com.