Protect Your Family from Long-term Care Costs

Submitted by Edward JonesPrint Story | Email Story
Like everyone, you want to remain physically and financially independent throughout your life. But if you lose some of this freedom, the last thing you'd want is to become a burden on your family. How can you keep this from happening?
 
First of all, you need to be aware of the risk. Someone turning 65 today has almost a 70 percent chance of eventually needing some type of long-term care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that you face that 70 percent likelihood. In reality, you have either a zero percent chance of requiring long-term care (you'll never need it) or a 100 percent chance (you'll definitely need it).
 
Nonetheless, if you think you've got that zero percent chance, you're taking a gamble – and it could be a big one because long-term care is expensive. The median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is over $102,000, according to Genworth, an insurance company. Other long-term care services, such as those provided by a home health care aide, also don't come cheaply.
 
Furthermore, you can't count on Medicare paying all these costs – in fact, it would probably only cover a small portion of a nursing home stay and provide limited assistance for home health care. So, if you were financially unprepared for the expense of long-term care, the burden might fall on your loved ones. This could be a big financial challenge, in two ways.
 
First, if a family member had to become your caregiver, this individual might have to abandon a career, or at least substantially reduce their working hours. Not only would this result in a loss of income, but it could also lower the amounts that could be contributed to a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan.
 
Second, if your family members couldn't leave their jobs or cut back on their hours, or they were simply unable to provide the type of long-term care you need, they might be forced to pay for a nursing home stay or home health care worker out of pocket.
 
To avoid these outcomes, you have a couple of options:
  • Self-insure – You could conceivably “self-insure” against the costs of long-term care by devoting a portion of your investment portfolio specifically to this purpose. However, if at some point you require admission to a nursing home, it may require a significant commitment of your resources.
  • Purchase protection – Over the past decade or so, there's been an increase in the types of long-term care protection vehicles available. These instruments vary widely in cost and in what they cover, but by choosing a protection option, you may greatly lower the financial risk you might face. By consulting with a financial professional, you should be able to find an arrangement that's appropriate for your situation.
Preserving your financial independence and helping protect that of your family should be a key financial goal. And you can make progress toward accomplishing this by recognizing the potential cost of long-term care and taking steps to deal with it.
 
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information, see EdwardJones.com.
 
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State Declares 'Green Friday' in Support of Local Xmas Tree Farms

UXBRIDGE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito administration has declared Friday, Nov. 27, as "Green Friday" to encourage people across the commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.
 
To celebrate, state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in a Christmas tree-cutting ceremony at Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge. In an effort to support the commonwealth's Christmas tree industry, the declaration of Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to fulfill their holiday decorating needs.
 
"Our administration believes in the importance of supporting our farms by shopping locally and purchasing holiday decorations from one of the commonwealth's many family-operated Christmas tree farms," said Gov. Charlie Baker. "Now more than ever, it is a great time to spend quality time with your family while partaking in this outdoor activity which allows for proper social distancing."
 
Christmas tree season in Massachusetts provides hundreds of seasonal jobs at approximately 264 Christmas tree farms on approximately 2,801 acres of land from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. The sale of more than 82,524 state-grown Christmas trees contributes approximately $3.5 million to the commonwealth's economy each year. Christmas tree farms, which are often sited on soils that cannot support other crops, stabilize soil, which helps prevent erosion and protect water supplies. When chipped, the trees can be used as a renewable source of energy to be burned as fuel, used as mulch, or composted.
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