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Reimagining Retirement and Long Term Care

Depending on where you live in the United States and whether or not you know anyone who’s had a serious case of Covid-19, you may or may not believe that this pandemic will impact your personal retirement plans.  

That thought is actually very similar to one of the basic characteristics of long term care (LTC) insurance purchasers. For many years, insurance agents and insurance company marketing departments have known this fact: a person who actually knows someone who needed long term care is the most likely purchaser of LTC insurance.  

Yes, firsthand knowledge can make the difference between someone who intellectually thinks they should insure the risk, and someone who actually buys a policy. Clearly, a big motivation to purchase insurance is having had a “front seat” to LTC— witnessing the reality of a need for care, and what it can mean to a person and their family.

Put another way, when we know the realities of long term care, we do better planning for our own care.

Few people who have not seen the need firsthand are willing to ever imagine themselves in a state of dependence. So, they are less likely to purchase LTC insurance.

Add in the current realities of Covid-19 along with financial uncertainty and you have a recipe for aiding and abetting indecision or delay. With a future whose landscape suddenly seems far less certain than it did just a few short months ago, it’s easy to be distracted…and to view LTC planning and the purchase of LTC insurance as a luxury that may be avoided or postponed.

That would be a big mistake and let me explain why.

There are people who will claim that in a time of economic uncertainty, insurers may not be stable enough to provide the needed protection. Students of history and finance know, however, that this hasn’t been true in the past. In addition to their super-conservative investment portfolios, insurers are the most stable of companies. In the Great Depression, insurance companies were among the only unaffected industries. 

As we look to the future, what the Covid-19 experience has meant for those in need of care is instructive. In a recent issue of this newsletter, we wrote the following two paragraphs, which ring even more true now than a few months ago: 

“There may not be any easy answers. However, when it comes to care choices and the ability to control exactly where we live and who is our caretaker(s), it’s clear that long term care insurance can make a difference.  

Let’s also not lose sight of the bottom line: long term care insurance can help you stay out of a nursing home. For many, long term care insurance is stay-out-of-a-nursing-home insurance. And, in a pandemic situation, that can make all the difference in the world to you and your family.”

I imagine that people may be looking at retirement communities and CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) differently these days. Many of them were shut down to outside visitors, even for their residents who were living independently with no care needs! Evaluating residential retirement options and communities that facilitate “aging in place” will now be through a different lens than was used pre-COVID.

Imagine not only a brave new world, but your brave new retirement within it. The means and the flexibility that a long term care insurance policy brings can be a huge leg up in making it happen.

Baygroup Insurance is working virtually and easily reachable by email or phone. Should you or anyone you know have questions about long term care planning, long term care insurance policies, or financial planning, please do not hesitate to reach out. Baygroup Insurance can be reached at http://www.baygroupinsurance.com/forms/contact-us or call us at 410-557-7907 for more information.