Long-term care checklist helps in planning future need - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Long-term care checklist helps in planning future need

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John A. Barnes John A. Barnes
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John A. Barnes is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual based in Morgantown and is a licensed insurance agent. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. To contact Barnes, call 304-292-3339 or email j.a.barnes@nm.com.

Long-term care planning is a particularly relevant issue in this economic environment of market volatility and rising financial concerns. 

When people experience difficult times, we tend to take stock of our fundamental needs and re-focus our attention on the basics. 

You might consider long-term care planning for many reasons, but essentially it helps to protect you and your loved ones from the financial and emotional costs of a chronic illness or injury. This is important because Americans are living longer, which increases the likelihood of someday needing ongoing care.  

Once you have determined the necessity of protecting you and your family against these potential costs, the next step is to critically evaluate key components associated with long-term care planning. 

The following questions can help you get started:

The Facts: What are the chances that you will need some form of long-term care either in an in-patient facility, part-time during the day or even at home? Most people have a false perception of the facts around long-term care. According to the National Underwriter Company's "2012 Field Guide":

 

  • Seven in 10 Americans age 65 or older will need some form of long-term care at least once in their lifetime.
  • An additional 43 percent will spend some time in a long-term care facility, with 21 percent staying in that facility three years or longer.

 

The Representative: Because funding long-term care can be a challenge, it's important to work with a competent and trustworthy representative who understands your needs and can design a strategy to meet those needs. 

Has the representative conducted a thorough analysis of your situation? Each person has a unique set of circumstances that determine the need for long-term care. A representative with long-term care experience can help you determine how much money you may need to fund long-term care. He or she will also help you create a strategy to protect your personal and retirement assets so that they won't be depleted by possible extended-care costs. 

Has the representative earned any of the financial services industry designations? These designations demonstrate a financial representative's commitment to professional development (e.g., CLU®, ChFC®, CLTC®) and to providing the highest level of planning expertise.

The Company: The company supporting your financial representative and its reputation and financial ratings are also crucial. The following questions are helpful when considering working with a company: 

 

  • Is the company well-established, with a history of strength and stability? A long-term care event can happen at any time in your life. You want a company that is well-positioned to be there for you when you need it most.
  • What is the company's reputation among consumers? Have you, your friends or family members done business with this company? If so, have you been pleased with the company's service? During times of stress and difficulty, you want a company that will be responsive to your needs.

 

Long-term care planning is a personal and important decision. Evaluating your specific needs and circumstances, with the assistance of a trusted, knowledgeable financial representative and the backing of a solid company can help you determine your options and select a plan that makes sense for you.