The Myth of That “Nice Long Life Ahead” at Age 65

The Myth of That “Nice Long Life Ahead” at Age 65

Probably I’m not the only one who has seen the deluge of ads on TV for Medicare supplement insurance.
 

One that really bothers me though is the bit with the actress saying she’s only in her 60s and “I’ve got a nice long life ahead.” She’s so smug and so sure she’s just fine and will stay that way.

The ad taps into the belief most people cherish, which is that impairments happen to other people and that they will just keep being fine, at any age. People say they want to live to be 100. Their imagination is that they will be perfectly capable in all ways and will not need any help at 100. That is belief, not truth.

What makes a “nice long life” anyway? No one ever wants to think about infirmity and cognitive decline. And yet, by the time we reach that nice old age of 85 at least one in three of us, and maybe even one in two will have Alzheimer’s disease. Not so nice. And oh, by the way, that supplement insurance the actress is promoting doesn’t pay for care if you need it at home long term. Neither does Medicare.

Every financial planner who has a client over age 65 needs to be considering that the “nice long life” that is part of our cultural fantasy is indeed dreaming for most people. It’s not about longevity. That we’ve probably got. It’s about good health in old age. That, we have definitely not totally figured out. As 10,000 people a day are now turning 70, it’s time to get past fantasy and consider how to make that long life a lot safer financially.

Are your client’s assets enough to pay for the care they are likely to need? If not, you, the client and her family must engage in the essential discussion about who will care for the client as she ages and how much it will likely cost. One must do the math. The cost of caring for someone with dementia at home is staggering. And the advisor needs to calculate it. This is not considering the usual figures thrown around about “the average couple at age 65 will spend “x” dollars on out of pocket medical expenses for their lifetimes”. None of those commonly used figures consider what it may cost to pay for a person with Alzheimer’s disease who lives for 7-20 years with the disease. Help from someone will be absolutely necessary for anyone with dementia.

Your portfolio review with a client at retirement is a good time to talk it over and bring up the actual, not fantasy prospects for the future. And here’s hoping you will not be influenced by stupid TV commercials about what the future may look like. Longevity can be wonderful, yes, and you can help make it financially safer for your older clients. A nice long life is certainly possible. And a long life with accessible assets to cover long-term home care near the last phase of life is ideal.

Dr. Mikol Davis. Ed.D
Twitter Email

Dr. Mikol Davis, Ed.D, is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in geriatrics and the emotional challenges of aging. He has been a mental health provider for 40 years, ... Click for full bio

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 


However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
     

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”


That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
Twitter Email

GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio