Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the best financial backstop in the event of long-term care is the family home.
One of the sobering “what ifs” for older workers planning for retirement is the risk of having an injury or an illness that requires long-term care.
The financial consequences can be severe. Last year the national average expense for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility was $3,628 a month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The average for a shared room in a nursing home was $6,844 a month.
Consumers can manage the risk by buying long-term-care insurance, but it’s not cheap, either. The average annual premium for a healthy couple at age 55 was $2,466 in 2012, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Older consumers pay more.
Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the best financial backstop in the event of long-term care is the family home, said Bobby Reamer, the director of consulting services at MyICON in Kirkland.
Homeowners facing long-term-care bills can convert their equity to cash with a home-equity loan or by selling their property.
It’s one of the reasons why Reamer tells his clients to resist the temptation to tap their home equity. The better course, he says, is to leave the equity asset alone — just in case.