January is often when we look forward and set our goals for the year. It’s a month that gives us the opportunity to start fresh and make positive changes that will continue throughout the year. This year brings the peak of Baby Boomers turning 65, commonly referred to as Peak 65. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will all be tested as we have never seen before, likely having an enormous impact on our economy and healthcare system. Planning for retirement and long-term care is even more crucial, and your clients are depending on you for financial advice and recommendations.
Important Retirement Planning Documents
There are a few important documents that are necessary for any retirement plan. These include:
- Power of Attorney: a legal document that gives someone designated by your client the power to act on their behalf
- Health Care Surrogate: a legal document that gives someone designated by your client the power to act on their behalf regarding medical decisions
- Living Will: a written, legal document that spells out your client’s medical wishes if they are to be incapacitated
- Estate Plan/Will: a legal document determining the distribution of assets in the event of your client’s death or incapacitation
- Written Plan for Long-Term Care: written directions regarding your client’s plan for long-term care, including where they would prefer to receive care, who will provide care, and how they will pay for it
Set a goal to discuss these documents with every client.
Planning for Long-Term Care
While not every client will qualify for long-term care insurance, every client should have a plan for their future care. After all, having a long-term care plan doesn’t need to involve an insurance product. Rather, it’s a strategy that stipulates how your client wants to receive care. Once your client has determined how they want to receive care, then you can discuss how to fund that plan with an insurance product.
Here are three tips to increase your client’s consciousness about planning for long-term care:
1. Consider the realities of longevity.
We all want to live as long as possible. Unfortunately, living longer means a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Over time, your client may become dependent on someone to help with their activities of daily living. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and musculoskeletal diseases that were once fatal are now—thanks to advances in modern medicine—presenting patients with a second chance at life, albeit with sometimes a level of disability.
2. Discuss their caregiving options.
Where do they want to receive care? Is your client dependent on a spouse or child to provide care? Is this family member physically able to administer care? Clients who are single or without children have an even bigger reason to plan for long-term care.
3. Educate them about the high cost of long-term care.
Like everything else, the cost of care has increased greatly over the last few decades, and it will continue to do so. In 2000, annual long-term care expenses were $30 billion, and they have since increased to $225 billion in 2015 (a 750% increase). As the Baby Boomers age and require more care, these expenses are expected to increase exponentially. In 2026, the first Baby Boomers will be turning 80, which is predicted to put a colossal strain on the current systems in place. Having a long-term care plan not only safeguards assets but also assists families in the care decision-making process.
We look forward to assisting you with your next client! Remember, if you are not licensed for insurance products, we have a team of LTCI Advocates ready to partner with you and assist your client in finding the right solution. To learn more, contact us today!