People have the tendency to look at retirement and long-term care as two separate issues. Why? Because they tend to look at long-term care as a place – a nursing home, assisted living, retirement community, etc. But it’s more of an event – an event that could wipe out your clients’ retirement savings.
I would argue that the largest risk to a retirement plan is a long-term care event. So you can’t call yourself a retirement planner if you’re not addressing this risk. You need to put the pieces together.
In a webinar I did with Tim Ash, we used our software to literally show the impact a care event will have on retirement plans. It’s astounding. The good news? This software can also help show the impact you can make by having a plan in place.
After you watch the webinar, consider asking your clients a few questions during your next retirement planning appointment:
Yes, you have plenty to talk about during your client meetings. And you might feel like you don’t have time to add one more item to the agenda. Stop looking at long-term care as a separate issue. If you do nothing to address it, it’s a big risk to your clients’ portfolio.
If your clients bring up Medicare or Medicaid as their fallback option for long-term care, make sure they truly understand what they’re getting into. Actually, make sure YOU understand what they’re getting into if they choose to rely on these programs.
Medicare: Short-term rehabilitative care. To qualify, you must spend three nights in a hospital and be deemed rehabilitative. Only the first 20 days are covered in full. Your client will pay a copay for days 21-100. After that? They’re on their own.
Medicaid: A federally funded, state-run welfare program for the impoverished. This won’t cover assisted living or in-home care. This is for nursing homes. Chances are, that’s not your clients first choice.
Help clear up any misconceptions about Medicare and Medicaid. Ask your clients:
Planning gives your clients the freedom and independence to get care in the place that’s going to make them the most comfortable. As opposed to the government saying, “This is where you’re going to go.”
The M-Words are just one piece of the long-term care discussion.
I’m no journalist, but I can tell you one thing about news: Bad news is almost always front-page news. I’m not even going to touch fake news – that’s beyond my professional expertise. But I do know a thing or two about long-term care … and our industry was hit by some pretty bad headlines in the past.
If your clients ask about the stories they heard a few years ago, you don’t have to beat around the bush. Yes, carriers had trouble paying claims. Many of them are no longer in the business for that reason alone.
Since those stories broke, the insurance industry stepped up and fixed many of its problems in the long-term care market. Today’s carriers want to help clients pay claims – they even offer concierge service to make sure it happens. The government also stepped in and added a layer of accountability with regulations and standards.
Address the issue head-on. Ask your clients:
Today’s long-term care insurance is better than ever. If you want to know more about the best carriers and products available, call your team at Ash Brokerage. We’re ready to help you and your clients asses the options.
I get it. Long-term care isn’t something you work on daily. You’re not comfortable discussing the subject, and you’re not confident you can answer all your clients’ questions.
If you take one lesson away from me, let it be this: Long-term care IS overwhelming. And that’s EXACTLY why you need to help your clients create a plan. You’re accountable to them and their families. Your ability to handle complex topics is exactly why your clients work with you.
Here are a few questions to get started:
Look at this from another angle. Yes, the planning conversation can be hard. But what kind of conversation will you be having with your client’s spouse or children if you don’t help them create a plan? It will be far more overwhelming to help them make decisions and find funds in the middle of a care event. I can promise you that.
You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to ask the right questions. Still not ready? That’s where we come in.
The hardest part of the long-term care conversation isn’t the products. Or prices. It’s getting started. Face it: If you’ve put off having the talk with your clients, it’s because you’re not sure how to break the ice.
It doesn’t have to be hard. I personally use three simple questions to start things off. These aren’t something I made up – they came from my studies for the CLTC® designation. And they’re proven to work.
You don’t have to talk about funding. Or insurance plans, for that matter. All you need to do is make them see the importance of planning so you can head down that path – together.
Q1: Do you feel you’re going to live a long life?
Most clients will say yes. That’s good, but keep going.
Q2: Do you agree that the longer you live, the greater the likelihood that your health could become compromised and you may need extended care?
You might think this is blunt, but it’s the truth. No one thinks it’s going to happen to them. But statistics say otherwise.
Q3: If you needed care, how would that impact the people you love?
This question might be the most important. In my experience, clients don’t care what will happen to them. But they do care about what will happen with their loved ones. Whether it’s physical, emotional or financial, the impact of a long-term care event will have a ripple effect. This is what makes most clients think differently about long-term care planning.
In the next few weeks, I’m going to dive into the long-term care conversation. We’ll discuss the six most common client objections and how you can approach your responses – financially, emotionally or logistically.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.