Written by Emily Sanders Sunday, January 15 2012As the overall U.S. population ages closer to retirement and the need for specialized care grows, long-time care insurance (LTCI) will increasingly become more of a standard player in everyone’s insurance portfolio. Just as this type of insurance is an important part of your financial plan, it should also be an integral part of your parents’ financial plan as well.
But it might be a challenge to convince your parents to actually make the purchase. For many of us, talking to our parents about delicate matters is difficult. This is especially true if personal subjects, such as health and finances, are historically unspoken topics in your family. You want the best for your parents, so how do you have a successful conversation and avoid a communication meltdown?
Here are several tips to help you as you talk to your parents about the advantages of having a LTCI policy.
- Plan for and seek out opportune moments to work LTCI into conversations so the topic flows naturally. Select your moment carefully and have realistic expectations of how your parents might respond.
- Plant the seeds of an LTCI discussion at various times throughout your conversations. It might take more than one mention to motivate them to move forward.
- Should they decide to move forward with a purchase, offer your assistance with the application process.
- Before talking to your parents, know the answers to frequently asked questions such as the best age to purchase LTCI, what the policy covers and how much it costs.
- If you have your own policy, study the benefits information and present it to them as a play-by-play. Thoroughly understand the product so that you can be its advocate.
- Your understanding of LTCI will be beneficial to you in the future because you will probably be the one helping them execute it in future years.
- During these potentially emotional conversations with your parents, listen carefully to what they’re saying. Take notes. Ask questions.
- Use reflective conversation techniques to let them know you hear their words. For example, if your mother says she does not want a roommate in her assisted living facility, say back to her, “Mom, what you’re telling me is you want an LTCI policy to provide for a private room.”
- If they have trusted advisors (like a financial planner), invite them into the conversation to help facilitate the discussion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
LTCI helps protect the assets your parents have worked so hard to accumulate during their working years. By limiting the amount necessary to spend on assisted living or home health care expenses, more money is able to remain in their retirement nest egg. This can provide comfort that tens of thousands of dollars won’t bleed from their portfolio annually to cover this expense. It can even be beneficial to you as a potential inheritor of these monies.
If you currently own an LTCI policy, you’re already a step ahead. Use this information to your advantage as you launch into your conversation. Discuss why obtaining this insurance was important to you. Hopefully your wise purchase will spur them into action, and they will begin researching a policy of their own.
Emotions are powerful tools in persuasion, so use them with caution. As you talk, let them know how much you care about their future health, safety, and well-being. The purchase of an LTCI policy will accomplish much of this. Assert that securing some clarity for their future provides not only them, but you, with peace of mind.
Remember this is not a quick process or decision. Rather it is one that requires careful thought and review. Don’t be discouraged if your parents are slow to take action. Be diligent in reminding them that this purchase is for their peace of mind, security and financial well-being.
Emily Sanders, CPA, is Chairman and CEO of Sanders Financial Management in Atlanta, a firm dedicated to serving the financial needs of women. Contact her at