February is for Groundhog Day, and Long Term Care Planning for your Valentine

Every year we hear reporting on the rather quaint – but nonsensical event held each February 2. A groundhog emerges from his burrow in the morning, and if the animal sees his shadow and retreats back to the burrow, winter will last 6 more weeks. Of course, if the weather is cloudy and no shadow is seen, it is said that spring will come early.

Huh? As far as quaint traditions go, it’s cute, and no one gets hurt. That is, unless people actually make plans contingent on the groundhog being accurate!

Truth be told, many people don’t do long term care planning for reasons that make just about as much sense as a groundhog’s ability to predict the weather.

“I’m planning on living a long life. Living to the age of 100 sounds about right for me!”

Although most 50-year-olds do not currently need care, let’s think about it. How many 90-year old people do you know who don’t need help?

Honestly, don’t you think that planning on living to 100 without considering how to pay for long term care isn’t the best course of action? At the risk of being flip, it makes about as much sense as traveling to the tropics without packing a bathing suit…or relying on a burrow animal to predict the weather.

“No one in my family ever needed long term care. I don’t need the insurance.”

The elders in your family also didn’t live in a time of current protocols and responses to emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. Not to mention the modern flu vaccine, which saves countless elderly lives each year.

Here’s what I suggest. Give some thought as to how the elders in your family passed away. They may not have ever entered a nursing home, but they may have received weeks or months (or even more) of care in their home.

Then, read all the obituaries in your local paper one day. I’ll bet there are a lot of very old people, most of whom needed long term care before they passed.

“Long term care insurance is just too expensive. I can’t afford it – so there’s no point in even looking!”

Although reporting average premium numbers is almost always a mistake (the quotes we would look at for you will be more or less than the average, which can be frustrating), I can say that most people with whom I meet are surprised to find how affordable a long term care insurance plan can be.

Some people have compared the premium to ‘in the ball park’ of their monthly cable bill, but a lot less expensive than the average car payment. The important thing to keep in mind is that there are a variety of design options that allow almost anyone to find a plan that’s affordable – and meaningful.

My advice? Don’t run back into your burrow until you’ve gotten a customized long term care insurance quote!