As I countdown to my 70th birthday, I’ve been examining every facet of my life. I’ve got diet and exercise under control. Walking at least 10,000 steps a day has become a habit I plan to keep. I continue to take multiple yoga classes weekly. I’ve seen my primary care physician and had appointments for a bone density test and a mammogram. I’ve been to the dentist and had a full check-up and x-rays taken. I even consulted with a master of mystic sciences.
Next on my ‘to do’ list was a meeting with my financial advisor, Ronnie Blaufarb. What I like best about Ronnie is that he’s calm, patient and realistic. I spent the better part of a day with him and bombarded him with questions. Do I have enough money to feel secure as I age? Are there any changes I need to make to my investment portfolio? Should I continue to pay the premium for my long-term care insurance?
It was reassuring to hear that my years of saving and investing had left me in a secure position. Thanks in no small part to my rent-stabilized New York City apartment, my monthly retirement income will continue to cover my living costs and leave me with enough money to travel and enjoy my life.
Having been a self-employed consultant, I had to create my own retirement accounts. I chose to put a large portion of my assets into annuities because I wanted the peace of mind of knowing that I would have a steady income despite the vagaries of the financial markets. There’s nothing quite as comforting as having those checks along with my social security deposited into my checking account month after month.
The big decision I had to make was whether or not I wanted to continue to pay the premium for my long-term care insurance policy or to let it go.
I had received a letter from Genworth Financial, my insurance carrier, that they would be raising the premium for my policy by 60% and most importantly, that I should expect additional increases in the future. Oh Really??
My policy is part of the New York State Partnership for Long-Term Care, which had been heavily promoted. The lure of the Partnership was that if you used the benefits according to the conditions of the program, you could apply for Medicaid Extended Coverage, which would assist in paying for your on-going care but unlike regular Medicaid, would allow you to protect your assets.
It had sounded good, and I had budgeted for the premium in my financial plan. However, I did not anticipate gouging increases.
After running the numbers with Ronnie, and realizing how much the policy would cost me over time and which I might never actually use, I have decided to let the policy lapse.
The truth is, I have zero interest in being cared for on a long-term basis. I never want to see the inside of a nursing home, and I suspect that a good percentage of my generation feels exactly the way I do. My plan now is to come up with an exit strategy. Pills anyone??