The January 17th Wall Street Journal had a front page article about the all too frequent notices you get from your long term care insurance provider concerning premium increases. If you bought a policy in the early 2000’s or sooner, chances are your premium is much more than you were paying when you originally took possession of the policy, or your benefits are not as good as they once were. Granted, the long term care contract contained language allowing for these changes, but that is small consolation to those who may have had to cancel their coverage because it became unaffordable. Our only hope is that the state insurance commissioners will tighten the rein on the companies’ unbridled appetite for premium increases. While we are discussing the costs of long term care insurance, don’t forget that there is another possible cost: the financial toll on the caregiver. In this January’s Journal of Financial Planning, it was noted that family caregivers lose more than $300,000 in wages and benefits over their lifetime because of interruption in employment they experience providing care. Also, family caregivers are often less healthy and experience more emotional stress than their non-caregiver peer group. In a rapidly changing technological world, there may be some relief on the horizon. Robots are being developed that are affordable and can provide services like reminding seniors when to take medication or when it is time to eat. Some can mop floors and do chores that the elderly cannot perform. They can also play games for mental stimulation and provide some social interaction.
Planning for eldercare issues is important. Encourage your parents to start thinking about possible downsizing where they live, travel plans while healthy, and how they might want to be cared for in later life. What would you do if one of your parents had a stroke that leaves them cognitively and/or physically impaired? Make sure legal and medical documents are executed and available. Watch out for changes in mental and physical behavior. The sooner you have this discussion, the better. It will be an emotional experience, but very important. Having a plan is good for the caregiver and the parent. Don’t forget to cover the financial aspect of caregiving. There is a report that concludes that after two years of receiving care, 88% of care recipients are no longer managing their finances independently. Chances are that you are going to become a financial contributor who pays for care, or a financial coordinator who oversees and organizes the recipients’ finances, such as paying bills, managing investments, paying taxes, etc. Be prepared. If you have parents, and most of us do, your time is coming. Start the process. Meet with family attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and open the discussion. Put on your “big boy pants” and get after it.
Luke Bryan has a new song that you might enjoy, “Most People Are Good”, with some of these lyrics: “I believe kids oughta stay kids as long as they can; turn off the screen, go climb a tree, get dirt on their hands. I believe we gotta forgive and make amends cause nobody gets a second chance to make new old friends. I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks. I believe most people are good. I believe that youth is spent well on the young, cause wisdom in your teens would be a lot less fun. I believe that days go slow and years go fast and every breath’s a gift, the first one to the last.” I think I agree with Luke that most people are good, especially if you believe that God is also good. Give him the chance and he will pick you up when you fall and guide you when you are lost. Trust in him and love him. You won’t be sorry.
Although this information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, it cannot be guaranteed. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized tax, legal or investment advice. FSC Securities Corporation does not offer tax or legal advice. The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corporation. Financial Solutions Group is a marketing name. Financial Solutions Group is located at 128 Versailles Blvd, Alexandria, LA 71301. We can be reached at (318) 448-3201. Securities, insurance and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC.