In thinking about your need for long-term care insurance, one of the things that I really hope you'll take the time to do is actually do an assessment of that need. It should be more than just a feeling, or more than just a fear of, 'oh, if this happens to me, then I might be in big trouble financially, therefore I better buy this insurance.' Because even if you feel that way, and even if that's a correct assumption and you should make some decision on how much insurance you need, you don't know how much you do need and you don't know how much you should pay for it, or why you need it and why you should pay for it.
One of the things that I think we ought to go through is just taking some time to create a long-term care action plan. Basically it says this:
'If such as such events happen to me and I need a long term care facility, then this is where I want to go. It's at this location, this is the phone number. This is the charge and once I get there, I'm going to have to pay the first 90 days out of my own pocket, therefore I want you to use this account and this account. I don't want you to use these accounts, and after 90 days, I have some long-term care insurance that's actually going to kick in, and I've bought enough for it to supplement my money. We're still spending my money in this account, we're still holding off from these accounts, but now the insurance has come in to supplement it. Or, I'm going to buy enough insurance for it to be the primary payer for my long-term care needs, and if I need more then we'll use this account and this account, and still hold off on those accounts.'
The point is to create an action plan to say, 'If this happened to me, what should my spouse do; what should my children do; what should my best friend do; what should my coworker do; what should my parents do.' Depending on your family needs, your family circumstances, then you'll have somebody execute this plan to take care of you at a time when you are unable; incapacitated, and unable to take care of yourself. Once you've identified a facility, once you've identified a cost-per-day, and once you've identified who is going to be helping you with those decisions, you'll be better able to make a good decision for you, at this particular time too; it's not a forever decision, it's just the decision right now that we need or we don't need long-term care insurance.
"The point is to create an action plan to say, 'If this happened to me, what should my spouse do; what should my children do..."
If we do need it, then we need it for this reason: it's going to supplement, or it's going to be our primary engine, or it's going to be our only engine to make those payments. Then we're going to be able to know how long that's going to last, how we're going to use the accounts that are available, and in what order. What we're going to do with other things like properties; what we're going to do with the other insurance programs we're involved in- especially property and casualty insurance, all these things will be figured out.
Although I talk about it here like it can sound a little bit overwhelming, really this is a 1-3 hour project at most. It's something I'd encourage you to do. Think about long-term care needs and what kind of situation you want to create when that need occurs. Where you want to go, how much will it cost, who's going to help you, what you're going to use. Then you'll know whether you need the insurance. You'll also know how much you need, and you'll know how much you're willing to pay for it, because you'll know how much it's going to save.