We’ve acknowledged time and again that, for many of us and for a variety of complex reasons, it’s not easy to manage crucial conversations about finances with those closest to us; we also realize that talking about aging — especially when the topics are related to health care and money matters — can be difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.
As we observed in our previous post, conversations we have these days about aging and health care must account for several stark realities: Premium costs for long-term care policies have been steadily rising for decades. These costs will continue to rise as the populous baby boomer generation retires and draws on both public and private care benefits and, in general, as more Americans live longer.
We offer the following, additional pointers to help you start talking to your parents or other aging loved ones about long-term financial plans and health care:
- Start broadly. At The Humphreys Group, we believe in examining how the “big picture” of our lives informs our financial planning. We encourage clients to examine their attitudes, goals, dream and values — not just about money, but about how these concepts guide both their short-term and long-term decisions. We encourage them to engage in similar discussions with the aging adults in their lives. (Again, most often, this will mean parents.)
- Get specific. Once our clients are able to better understand their aging loved one’s outlook and approach to life and work, it’s time to ask more pointed questions related to the loved one’s financial health and plans. We recommend asking questions about savings and investment plans, debt load and estate plans; whether a loved one has sought professional financial advice, and health care preferences. The goal of these exchanges is to try to understand what resources are available for aging loved ones, including what they will be able to afford when it comes to their care.
- Keep the conversation going. As financial experts, we know life, work and health conditions are subject to change, sometimes rapidly and dramatically so. With that in mind, we suggest that those who begin to ask about their loved one’s plans for aging continue to do so. This can help gauge whether or when an aging loved one may need to seek additional advice or assistance with their finances, investments and long-term health care.
With research that shows the nation’s retirement population is growing larger, living longer and requiring sustained health-related services, we believe it’s important to learn what kinds of care older loved ones want and can afford. Financial planning plays a role in talking about aging and health care, especially since rates for many long-term care insurance policies and related services are rising in response to aging trends.
You don’t have to do it alone. Contact The Humphreys Group to learn more about the steps you can take to help a loved one plan for their potential long-term health care needs and challenges.