The traditional model of retirement – working at the same career, even the same company, for decades and taking a gold watch at age 65 – has gone the way of the horse and buggy for many folks. It’s been replaced by a new retirement, which requires major adjustment but also presents new opportunities.
Although not everyone will need professional long-term care in their lifetimes, a significant portion will, and few people are thinking about it. According to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, 58 percent of women and 44 percent of men will need nursing home care sometime in their lives. The average duration of such care is estimated at 0.88 years for men and 1.37 years for women.
The average cost for a nursing home in 2012 was $81,030 per year, and the average cost for home health care was $21 per hour. But only 13 percent of people buy long-term care insurance.
Long-term care includes the necessities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, showering, and taking medications. Therefore it is not covered under most medical insurance policies or Medicare. However some health insurance policies cover minimal assistance, and Medicare Part A covers full or partial costs for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay.
One reason cited for why many don’t buy long-term care insurance, is that Medicaid programs cover long-term care for indigent residents. Medicaid’s programs are operated by the states and require that most of a person’s financial assets first be exhausted.
The CRR estimates show that, although only 13 percent of people actually buy long-term care insurance, 19 percent of men and 31 percent would be willing to pay for it. Considering the relatively large percentage of people who will actually need long-term care, it’s prudent for everyone to consider how they would defray the costs should they need them. Some options are:
Regarding option #3, you also have to consider whether your relatives are able and willing to do this. Many grown children become personally and financially burdened by the cost and stress of taking care of elderly parents.
Option #4 seems to be favored by many people. But it’s wise to make plans for contingencies, even if they’re never needed.
Are you planning to retire in the next few years? If so, congratulations! Get ready for a well-earned exit from the daily grind. It’s time to do what you want for a change.
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Retiring early is a dream for many people in their fifties or early sixties. People want to retire early because they’d prefer to do something else than work at their jobs. Maybe they find their jobs boring, too stressful, or just unpleasant, or maybe there’s a hobby, volunteer position, or even another career they’d rather pursue instead.
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