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How will your family handle a long term care situation?

Posted by Larry Jones on May 20, 2021 10:51:00 AM
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Are you a reasonable person?

What a question, huh? Of course you are!

Why would I even ask such a question of a reader? "After all, isn't the fact that I faithfully read this blog, and am nearly physically ill when I miss one, proof enough that I'm a reasonable person?", you might say. Point taken.

Well then, this blog is for you! The subject is your family....or more specifically, your family and how your need for long term care might affect them, and their lifestyle. Is that important to you?

If so, read on.

No plan IS a plan!

What is long term care?

It is that period in life when you are not in immediate danger of dying, but you are unable to care for yourself. Someone else must help you with dressing, eating, going to the bathroom, etc. Perhaps you won't even know those who are helping you, even though they might be your relatives. It's an extremely difficult period of life, especially for those who are the caregivers. There are three sets of consequences associated with a long term care event:

Physical Consequences

To understand this adequately, here are a couple of actual quotes that paint the picture better than a thousand words:

"When I got married, I never really understood the vow 'in sickness and in health'. Now I do. His sickness, my health. For it to be easy for me, it would have to be over for my husband; that's unacceptable. I often wonder: will there be anything left of me when he passes away; will there be anything left for me?"

Emotional Consequences

Another wrote:

"The tears have finally arrived. I feel like he's being drugged and locked away and I am powerless. I guess I must be in denial, but I just can't see him in the Alzheimers ward. It's just so heart-wrenching. When I left his room, he asked if he could come with me; would I take him home. I tried to explain that he had to stay until the doctor said he could leave. He then followed me to the elevator (the aide tagging along) and rode down with me. It's affected my relationship with my sister and my whole life. I'm just so sad. I don't know what to do."

Financial Consequences

Long term care can be very expensive. Typical costs range from $3000-7000 a month for home care and $5000-12,000 a month for institutional care. Can your retirement portfolio sustain a draw of $40-150,000 per year? What if it goes on for 3-7 years (which is typical)? What if the care should coincide with a major market correction, such as the one in 2008? Is there enough?


The Most Ignored Subject in the World

When I meet with clients, long term care is always discussed. It's also the one topic most often not acted upon. Why is that? I believe it's because most people, being optimists, believe that this is something that will only happen to someone else. The question is, are you ready to base your family's future on that feeling, which is NOT supported by statistics?

Do you believe that you'll live a long time?

Do you understand the potential consequences to you family if you do?

If you answered yes to the two questions above, then it's time for a reasonable person to start devising a plan to deal with the consequences of needing long term care. You can either deal with it now, on your terms, or you can react to it and possibly accept someone else's plan later.

Until next time,


p.s. are you at or nearing retirement? You might be interested in our weekly webinar. To sign up or just to see a list of the topics we're covering click here:

Retirement (what you need to know)


Topics: Long Term Care

What you don't know can hurt you!

As a fiduciary I am required to always act in your best interests, and as a professional planner, it's my job to be familiar with all types of possible solutions and financial vehicles. In short, I have no interest in selling any particular product or any affiliation with a particular company. I work for my clients.

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