The markets, the politics, the insurance industry—everything is disrupted. I choose to see noise and disruption as opportunities. If you don’t, it will eat you alive. You’ve got to find some sort of silver lining and move with it. If you are feeling it, so are your clients. Of course, you know by now that my passion lies with extended care planning, Medicare and disability planning. I personally feel that these three topics, if not handled properly, will cause irreversible damage to your clients financial future. And yet so many agents and advisors shy away from these topics and I do understand why. They are all health related planning strategies and that can be quite daunting for those that are not immersed in that space. Well then, go find someone you trust and work with them. This is important to you and to your clients. If you don’t believe me, go scan your social media feeds and tell me how many Go Fund Me or charities that you see where families are asking for help due to lack of income resources to pay for care due to illness or accidents. It’s just a conversation to strike up and then see where it leads.
Let’s talk about these three critical topics that need to be discussed as your client ages and what that means to you as their agent/advisor.
Disability Income Insurance
This type of protection is paycheck protection. Forgo the pandemic, how many American’s have enough money set aside should something happen and they can no longer bring home the bacon? Not many, that’s how many. Do consumers want to talk about the likelihood that they could some day, during their working years, the accumulation phase of the grind, not be able to provide for their family? Of course not, but why is it important to you? If you don’t bring up this piece of protection while they are young and working to accumulate wealth, and their health crumbles or they are in a life changing accident, how can you help them plan for the future when all they can think about is what bill, insurance, or investment am I going to cancel to still be able to feed my children?
Long Term Care Insurance
This type of protection is also a form of disability protection. It’s not protecting a paycheck per se, but it is protecting from unexpected expenses. At some point the paycheck is going to end, or at least isn’t that the American dream? Work hard then play hard. The goal is to accumulate enough that you can rest and enjoy a time frame in your life when your health is still intact and you can travel, spend time with grandkids, granddogs, try new things and just have more time to enjoy life and stop the grind. That’s when you need to have a plan for extended care. No one builds into their income planning strategies the idea that “What if I need extended care…how will I pay for that?” I don’t believe consumers need to have huge policies but they need to have something. If it is reasonable that you are going to live a long life, because that’s how you are planning for your retirement income to play out, then isn’t it reasonable to think you could need care at some point in your life? Well sure it is. Then help your clients make a plan. Extended care planning is nothing more than providing an income stream to pay for care in the event of a disability post accumulation.
And now it is time to think about your health care coverage once you’ve quit working and no longer carry group or individual health insurance. This is a big decision. Don’t meddle in Medicare. If you thought long term care insurance was tough, don’t haphazardly offer advice on Medicare. There are so many parts, and enrollment windows are very specific. Don’t be confused by the TV commercials and ads which over simplify the process. Consumers have no idea what to do here and they need a professional to sort it out for them. If their health is compromised at the time of enrollment into Medicare, this will be the last health insurance decision they will make for the rest of their lives. And let’s not forget that Medicare does not cover custodial care for extended care needs nor does it provide an income for care not covered by Medicare.
I am hoping that with this article you can at least acknowledge that the disservice we do for our clients by not helping them prepare and plan for unexpected expenses could be quite devastating to them financially—which in turn impacts you financially. It is just a conversation. Just ask your clients if they have a plan. They will tell you. Remember this: They see you for your advice. If we aren’t opening the door for them to make an educated decision then we didn’t open the door at all.