Saving money for the future is a big job, and it sometimes takes years to get a good amount set aside. For those who want to ensure they have enough savings for their post-retirement years, it can be a huge source of stress to try and pad a savings account for all future needs. After all, you never know what the next five or ten years will bring. As a senior, it’s important to think about the possibility that you may require long-term care, which can be very costly. This type of care usually follows an injury, illness, or a diagnosis of a disease like Alzheimer’s. For most, the costs associated with long-term care can be devastating, and few are prepared for it.
The key is to do some research on the costs associated with long-term care, as well as with out-of-pocket contributions that are expected with Medicare and Medicaid. Making sure you’re well-informed about your insurance policies will help you avoid nasty surprises down the road and will help you figure out exactly how much you need to pay for. For instance, Medicare will only pay for a certain number of days in the hospital or in a nursing home, meaning you’ll be responsible for much of the cost if you go over.
Keep reading for some tips on how to plan for long-term care.
Look for supplemental coverage
Medicare may not pay for everything, but it does offer supplemental coverage that will allow you to get some assistance in paying for vision and dental care, as well as prescriptions. This can be an invaluable resource when you’re trying to save money, as even a regular checkup can get costly, and many medicines don’t have generic alternatives that are more cost-effective. Go here for more information on enrollment dates and state eligibility.
Consider a reverse mortgage
Reverse mortgages are incredibly complicated in many cases, but they can also free up some money. The pros of a reverse mortgage include having cash when you need it most, not having a requirement to make payments, and the fact that you don’t need a perfect credit score to qualify. The cons include a potential decrease in the value of your estate and the requirement that the home is your primary residence. Think hard about making the decision, and talk to a counselor about your options.
Research long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance can be a huge benefit for seniors when it comes to paying for hospital or nursing home stays, but there are certain requirements and details to consider. Depending on your age, you may expect to pay anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 annually for long-term care insurance, with it being less expensive when you’re younger.
"A lot of the experts say to buy a long-term insurance plan at age 50 or 60, but one thing you can consider is buying it a lot younger," says Shanna Tingom of investment firm Heritage Financial Strategies.
Downsizing to a smaller home is often a move seniors make when they feel they can’t manage their current home anymore, or when their health issues make mobility a problem. However, selling your home in favor of something smaller can also help you save quite a bit of money, and even pad your savings account if you have built-in equity. Talk to a realtor about your options and have your home inspected before making any decisions, in case you need to make repairs or modifications.
Paying for long-term care can be stressful, but planning ahead for the future can help you relieve those feelings and keep control of your finances. Talk to your loved ones so that everyone is on the same page, and talk to a lawyer about drafting up a living will to ensure that your wishes are taken care of.
Ms. Bridges hopes to inspire and assist other seniors on their journey to health and wellness in their golden years.