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Are You Prepared For Long-Term Care?

What you must to know to prepare for the long haul


As we head into the end of the year and spend time with family for the holidays, it’s a good opportunity to have discussions about long-term care planning.

Even though many spend years carefully planning for a comfortable retirement, there are uncontrollable and often unpredictable variables at play, such as the rising cost of health care and the potential for you or your spouse to require long-term care.

Long-term care is comprised of a variety of services to address both the medical and non-medical needs with chronic illnesses or disabilities who cannot care for themselves for long periods or who require assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing or moving from a bed to a chair. It also includes the super­vision of individuals with severe cogni­tive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s or other mental illnesses that limit one’s ability to think or reason.

As millions of baby boomers age, we are facing a serious crisis. Most Americans will, at some point, need long-term care, but few are planning for it. According to estimates from the U.S. government, 70 percent of individuals aged 65 today will need some form of long-term care during their lives. Many individuals don’t realize that health insurance may not cover all of it, and the cost is often underestimated. Long-term care services provided in your own residences, at a community facility or in a nursing home may or may not be covered by Medicare or other medical plans, and may significantly impact you and your family’s financial situation.

It’s important to get a realistic picture of what it may cost.

Long-term care costs are soaring and can easily deplete retirement savings. According to a 2017 Bipartisan Policy Center report, a 65-year-old today can expect to incur $138,000 in long-term care costs over their lifetime.

While it’s hard to anticipate the unexpected, it is important to consider ways to prepare. Purchasing long-term care insurance can help mitigate risk and protect your retirement portfolio. By paying an annual premium, you can transfer some of the financial risk of long-term care to an insurance company. In addition, think about how to incorporate long-term care savings into your budget. Work with a financial professional to map out your savings goal and how to break that down incrementally into your budget.

With some thoughtful preparation, you can help protect your nest egg against the potential risk of long-term care expenses, enabling you to enjoy the retirement you have dreamed of.

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Shelley Ford

Shelley Ford is a financial advisor with The Pelican Bay Group of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in downtown Denver.  Shelley can be reached at 303-572-4839 or visit http://www.morganstanleyfa.com/shelley.ford/.

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