HeartphotoAh, February is here…and although it can bring bitter cold, it also brings a pleasant aura of hearts and Valentines. This special season—when our loved ones become the center of our attention— might just be the perfect time to take action on an important issue that may be stuck in your “I’ll think about that later” file. Making the decision to include Long Term Care Planning in your Financial Plan may be the best HEART decision your MIND will ever make. I’ll explain the mind-heart connection in a moment, but first, let me ask a favor of you.  When I mention “Long Term Care Insurance,” please don’t rely on outdated notions ­of what that is exactly, or how it works—notions which assert, for example, that it’s “just one product” or  “it’s not right for you.“

Today, there are many more options and solutions available than most people are aware of. Certainly there still are—and likely always will be—the “traditional” Long Term Care (LTC) plans, which feature pure insurance for the transfer of risk. However, things have changed since a number of insurance providers realized that in order to meet the demands of the 21st century, LTC should be considered an essential component of any financial plan. They‘ve created a wide variety of alternatives that are now available. You can find hybrid or asset-based plans, riders on traditional life insurance, living benefit riders, and chronic illness riders built on the framework of a life insurance or annuity product.

With so many choices in today’s LTC market, you can’t just glance at the title of a brochure and assume you know how any one of these different plans works. So, even if you or your clients have health problems, it’s worth a phone call to find out if this condition will prevent you from getting coverage, or if there are any alternative plans you might want to consider. Guaranteed issue solutions are available!

If Long Term Care Planning doesn’t make sense to your mind, then please listen to your heart. You take responsibility for your family seriously; you take action to solve problems and ensure their safety and comfort. In other words, you make plans to take care of those you love. After all, who loves your family more than you do?

Although most of us share these same family values, for some reason many of us seem to have an “entitlement mentality” or we hide behind a curtain of denial when it comes to this one critical aspect of our financial peace of mind. Being able to function independently—to perform “activities of daily living” (bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting and continence), or being diagnosed with a cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s) requiring daily supervision—are potential future needs that somehow get left out of our financial plan.  Why? Do we assume that if and when the time comes, a plan will magically appear and all will be taken care of?

If you’re one of those who’s tempted to “think about all this later,” you’re leaving your family exposed.  If walls could talk, they’d have plenty to tell you about what goes on when a family gets together to try and deal with a health crisis their loved one is suddenly facing, and they’re scrambling to come up with a plan. Most likely at least one of these family members has dared to wonder aloud, “Why didn’t Dad or Mom plan for this?” or “I wish we’d had this conversation a long time ago so we could be prepared for this.”

So, again, if Long Term Care Planning doesn’t make sense to your mind, then think about those you love and let your heart make the call. Reach out to an LTC Specialist (not to be confused with a generalist) and set up a time to have this conversation.

 This is a selfless act you can’t afford to ignore. Although this plan is about your family and loved ones, it’s also about YOU. If you are the one requiring care, your family will feel all the more LOVED because you cared enough about them to establish a plan to protect them emotionally, physically and financially —thus enabling them to provide YOU with the care you deserve. Though it requires your mind to take the first step, your HEART will be the beneficiary.