How to Plan Your Financial Future

According to the “2011 Financial Reality Check Study” conducted by Genworth, 75 percent of Americans have never had a conversation about long term care with their loved ones.

However, 70% would not know what to do if a family member were to require immediate long term care assistance; an alarming statistic considering that 6 out of 10 people will need long term care sometime during their lifetimes.

The data also suggests consumers are suffering from overall financial planning inertia; however, the lack of education about long term care (LTC) planning can have significant consequences.

Women may be impacted twice by long term care, typically as the primary caregivers during an event and then as recipients themselves. When asked which family member would be most likely to provide care if professional care could not be afforded: Almost 40% felt it would be a female providing care. Of those who indicated it would be themselves, 60% were female.

Interestingly, women don’t prioritize this issue for themselves when it comes to their own long term care and are significantly more likely to not have purchased long term care insurance on their own compared to males.

In fact, less than one third (31%) of women included in the study have purchased long term care insurance in the past 6-10 years, while 69% of men have purchased the protection during the same timeframe.

“It’s unfortunate, but not surprising that women would think of themselves last when it comes to long term care planning,” said Olympic Gold Medalist Wendy Boglioli, National Long Term Care Spokesperson, Genworth. “Women should feel empowered to create a winning strategy for themselves, family or loved ones.”

The lack of a conversation or a plan can create some confusion if a long term care event should occur, as people assume family members, primarily females, will handle care needs.

The Financial Reality Check Study reveals that in these economic times, 58% of respondents would not be willing to “quit their job, work less or devote a majority of their time” to become the primary caregiver to someone in need of long term care. Yet in the next five years, 43% anticipate being in a situation where they may need to help care for a friend or family member.

Although 89% of respondents said they took time to focus on their financial strategy at least once a year, Americans are not taking the steps to implement a plan for their financial futures.

During LTC Awareness Month, Genworth is challenging consumers to include a discussion about long term care planning in their overall financial planning discussions. A “reality check-list” of things to do include:

  • Have the conversation with loved ones to establish the baseline of your plan for a long term care event
  • Research options and the Cost of Care in your area
  • Meet with a financial professional annually to create and review a holistic retirement portfolio that includes a plan for long term care
  • Write down your long term care wishes and instructions for loved ones in the event of a long term care event (Would you like to stay at home? Who is in charge of making the arrangements? Does your family know where to find important documents if necessary?)

The 2011 Financial Reality Check Study is a national study conducted by Genworth and was fielded online from August 17-21, 2011. In total, 1,073 interviews were conducted with adults ages 25 years and older, with incomes of $50,000 and above, with all other demographics being a representative sample of the United States. The study results were announced today, Nov. 1.

Genworth Financial, Inc. is a leading insurance holding company.

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Rakesh Raman