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Jim Lentini: Plan how to live independently as senior

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Posted: March 29, 2010 11:39 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Living life the way we want to means making choices that are good for you and your family. That's what independence is all about.
But statistics tell us that few Americans are prepared if ongoing care is needed as we grow older. Or, in the event of a serious illness, injury or disability - which can strike at any age - it can be financially disastrous.

While you can always count on your family for help, you want to be sure that the time you spend together is quality time. As we get older, our retirement plans, desires, and goals do not include being a burden for our family.

Protect your retirement
Our plan over our lifetime is to save and invest to reach many goals - a comfortable retirement, travel, second home, a legacy for our heirs or favorite charity. By making a long-term-care insurance policy part of your financial plan, you are taking an important step toward meeting those goals. Don't let the high cost of long-term care interfere with your plans and dreams.

Long-term care insurance
Long-term care is important at any age. It is wise to plan for long-term care when you are young and healthy. That is because a serious accident or debilitating illness can strike at any age.

A statistic came out some years ago when long-term care was new, that three out of five people over 65 would experience some long-term disability.

It is less expensive when you are younger, like life insurance. If something were to happen while you were young, you would want to ensure you had ample coverage, since most of us don't accumulate many assets until we are older.

If it happens later in life, you would want to be sure you could remain independent. protect your retirement assets and maintain your family's well-being.

Understanding long-term care coverage
Many people think when they reach age 65 and are covered by Medicare, they will be protected. But Medicare coverage is very limited and pays for only a short time.

And Medi-Cal only covers those with very low incomes, whose assets are at or below state-required levels. A long-term-care insurance policy helps to pay for personal assistance with activities such as eating, bathing, using the toilet, ambulating or for supervision due to cognitive impairments. These activities are typically not covered by health or long-term-disability insurance.
All these factors are why long-term care should be part of your discussion for retirement planning with your financial adviser.

Jim Lentini, CLU, ChFC, IAR is president of Lentini Insurance & Investments Inc. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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