Life Insurance Isn’t Special, Ep #176 

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By Benjamin Brandt CFP®, RICP® and Benjamin Brandt CFP®. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

I figured that you all may be a bit sick of hearing the news lately which is why this week’s episode will focus only on listener questions without the Retirement Headlines segment. I’ve got 2 listener questions that will pique your interest.

Chris asks about long term care insurance. What is the difference between hybrid and traditional policies and when can someone self insure? And Janet wants to know about the tax benefits of life insurance to fund your retirement. Don’t miss the answers to these complex questions, press play now!

Outline of This Episode
  • [1:22] Chris has a long-term care insurance question
  • [8:33] Consider your home equity as a quasi-long-term care policy
  • [10:09] Janet is curious as to how life insurance could be used as a tax strategy
Do you even need long term care coverage?

The question of how to pay for long term care comes up when creating every retirement plan. It is extremely difficult to plan for long-term care due to the myriad unknowns. Will you even need coverage? This question can be difficult to answer since the duration and level of long-term care varies from person to person. This is why we look at the statistics. A person turning 65 today has a 70% chance of needing some sort of long-term care service in their life. And 20% of people will need it for longer than 5 years.

How much does long-term care cost?

Since 70% of people end up needing long-term care service, it is prudent to be prepared. But how much money will you need? The average stay for a nursing home resident is 28 months and the average stay for assisted living is 27 months. When you consider that nursing homes cost $225 per day for a semi-private room and assisted living costs half that, and you take the average length of stay you can round the total cost to $200,000.

To self insure or purchase long-term care insurance

Now that we have analyzed the 3 parameters surrounding the issue of long-term care -- the likelihood of needing long-term care, the length of stay, and the cost -- we can analyze how to cover this cost. There are a couple of different ways to tackle this problem. You could self insure or purchase one of the many types of long-term care insurance policies. Long-term care insurance may give you peace of mind, but is it worth the cost? Self-insuring may be easier than you think if you can handle the market risk. Listen in to hear an option for self-insuring that you may not have thought of before.

Can life insurance be used as a tax strategy?

The shakier the stock market feels, the more we’ll hear about alternative investing strategies. Janet was curious about how life insurance could be used as a tax-saving strategy since all of her assets are in tax-deferred accounts. What she is referring to is overfunding a life insurance policy and living off the proceeds tax-free for decades. Does that sound too good to be true? If so, it probably is. Listen in to hear why life insurance is not as special as it sounds, you’ll want to hear how this strategy could backfire on you and ruin your retirement.

If you have a question that you’d like answered on the show you can ask in one of two ways. The easiest way to ask me a question is to simply reply to the Every Day Is Saturday newsletter. The second way is to visit the Retirement Starts Today website and click the Ask a Question tab.

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292 episodes