At some point during your retirement years, you may need what is commonly referred to as “long-term care”. While we often understand this term to mean a stay in a nursing home, it can also refer to in-home care with basic needs.
Whatever type of care you need, it can often become very expensive. And unfortunately, Medicare only pays for short stints in nursing homes. The program only covers limited amounts of in-home care under very strict conditions, making it unlikely you will get the help you really need. If you have an employer-provided health care plan, you should be aware that they usually don't cover long-term care, either.
Retirees often assume (or hope) that relatives will help with the care they need. Hopefully that will be the case, but it's important to remember that even young people can experience health crises of their own. Not to mention, the financial burden of missing work to care for someone else can take a toll.
Another option is to purchase long-term care insurance. Depending upon the options covered under your plan, it will cover a stay in a nursing home or even in-home care. Some policies will also cover adult day care services or the cost of renovating your house so that you can remain at home.
It's important to remember that a long-term care policy will be more affordable if you purchase it while you're younger and still in good health. As health problems begin to affect your functioning, the cost of premiums may climb out of reach. That's why it's important to consider long-term care insurance as you're getting ready to retire, rather than waiting until you're close to needing it.
Talk to your insurance agent about long-term care insurance to see if it suits your needs. Together you can review the benefits and drawbacks to various policies, and select the one that is right for you.
At this point in your life, you might be focusing on reaching a certain retirement goal. You want to save a certain amount of money, pay off debts, or reach a particular milestone in your career. But once you have retired, your thinking must shift from planning and saving to making your retirement savings last for the rest of your life.
Since the average life span is increasing, we all must make wise decisions about spending our retirement savings. The following four steps should get you on the right track.
1. Create a budget. It is likely that your retirement budget will be significantly different from your current one. You will analyze your expenses and designate a portion of your retirement income to regular bills. But keep in mind that circumstances can change, and your budget will change along with them. Keep some money set aside for emergencies. You might also find it helpful to begin living on your expected retirement budget one year prior to retiring, so that you can test drive your future lifestyle and make adjustments as needed.
2. Be smart about indulgences. It's a common practice to indulge in a generous retirement gift for yourself once you reach your goals. There's nothing wrong with this, but remember to plan for your splurge. When you discuss your retirement goals with your financial professional, tell him or her about this expense so that your budget will be able to accommodate it.
3. Plan carefully for health care. You may be enjoying good health now, and hopefully that lucky streak will continue for years to come. But keep in mind that it often is luck, and your situation can change drastically at any time. Consider purchasing long-term care insurance to cover expense of a nursing home. Remember, too, that your medical expenses will grow over time. Be prepared to adjust your budget accordingly.
4. Meet regularly with your financial advisor. No matter how confident you feel in your plans, you can't forget about retirement planning once you reach retirement! Continue to assess your goals and priorities, and make adjustments to your financial strategy in order to keep up with your changing life. Continue meeting with your financial professional on a regular basis so that your spending habits will reflect your changing financial ability and life expectancy.
Life insurance was invented hundreds of years ago to address one common need: Protecting a breadwinner's family in the event of his sudden death. Over the years, though, life insurance products have evolved to suit more modern needs. For example, as funeral expenses increased it became common to cover the non-working spouse and children with a life insurance policy.
Today, we see that new needs have emerged. The high cost of health care, combined with the likelihood that you will survive a major health crisis, means that you could be facing a financial crisis as well. If you are seriously injured or suffer a chronic illness, it is highly likely that your earning abilities will drastically decrease. And yet, now you are suddenly facing mounting medical debt in the form of co-pays, deductibles, and prescription medications.
Unfortunately, this situation often leads to bankruptcy. At the very least, you could be forced to borrow from your retirement fund, leaving you a drastically reduced income in old age.
That's why life insurance companies have introduced living benefits riders, which allow you to receive a cash payout of your benefits in the event that you suffer a major health-related calamity. You get the cash you need to replace lost income or pay medical bills, and your family can be protected from foreclosure, bankruptcy, and loss of lifestyle.
Do you know if your life insurance policy includes a living benefits rider? If you aren't sure, schedule an appointment with your insurance agent to discuss your policy. If it turns out that you've been getting by on an outdated policy that doesn't offer you the best protection, it would be wise to consider updating it to a more modern, evolved policy. Your life insurance agent can explain how living benefits riders work, and help you select the policy that is right for you.
Did you know that the average person retiring today can expect to live 20 or 30 years after their career ends? Life expectancy has increased dramatically over the past century, and gone are the days when retirees only needed to plan for about a decade of retirement income.
You may already know this, and that's why you are following a carefully scripted plan to save for the future. You're making contributions to your retirement account at work, and paying down debt as you approach the end of your career. You've researched Social Security and know what to expect from the program. You may even be considering a second, part-time career in retirement.
But no matter how carefully you plan, it's possible that inflation, the rising cost of healthcare, and other factors will cause you to feel significantly underwhelmed once you retire. Many retirees report that their budgets simply do not stretch as far as they had expected.
If you want to ward off feelings of disappointment in retirement, there are ways to ensure a lifelong stream of income.
In the past, annuities were less popular with retirees, who weren't sure if a lump-sum payment now would actually pay off through a lifetime of guaranteed monthly returns. This is because people didn't expect to live all that long after retirement! Now, annuities are becoming popular products, because who could turn down a guaranteed monthly income for the rest of their life?
Of course, there are some drawbacks to annuities. An annuity is not a liquid asset, meaning you can't get cash out of it quickly and easily. Also, whatever lump sum you invest into an annuity cannot be invested elsewhere – say, in high-yield stocks. That's why we often tell clients that an annuity can be a valuable part of a diversified portfolio.
Since there are over 1,600 different annuity products on the market, consult with your financial professional about your options. Fees and terms can vary significantly, so it's best to receive professional guidance from someone intimately familiar with your finances before choosing and annuity product.
This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.
Carstens Financial Group focuses on providing comprehensive asset management, estate planning and life insurance solutions. Allow us to help you secure your financial future.