Late-life finances can be the toughest conversations for any financial advisor . Faced with the ramifications of decisions they made decades before, clients can only ask that they not be surprised by unexpected costs and expenses.
But, there are surprises lurking for many seniors and their families who think they are prepared for retirement, but, haven’t understood just how expensive it can be. In fact, more than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term health care services in retirement, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services . Yet, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute , only 13 percent of those who received professional home health care had long-term care insurance policies they can use to pay for growing out-of-pocket costs.
This gap in knowledge is a growing danger for your older clients and their families. States that have been stuck with long-term care bills are reacting with their own remedies: lawsuits and mandated claw-back actions against families who lacked the resources and the insurance policies to pay for care. With private nursing home room nearing $100,000 a year, according to insurer Genworth , and so few Americans ready to pay for it, it’s becoming a national crisis you have to talk to your clients about.
The gap between the perception of the golden years of retirement and reality of high costs means your clients have to consider all their available financial options to fund long-term care. That can include including selling a life insurance policy they might have bought to pass resources down to their heirs when they need the money now. Ironically, even if they somehow keep the policy in force, that money may never reach the heirs but be clawed back by the state to pay for their care.
Here are three key things people should know about alternative ways of covering long-term care and possible problems those can present down the road:
The message in all this is clear: the money for the skyrocketing cost of long-term care is going to come from somewhere. Your job is to find ways to insulate your clients as long as possible and prevent them from experiencing a financial surprise when they can least afford it.