RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the 2012 State of Planning Survey commissioned by Genworth, Americans aged 35 and over have many excuses for why they don't have a plan in place for their future long term care needs. In fact, 82 percent of respondents ages 45-54 without a plan cited reasons such as not wanting to think about being dependent on others, not finding the right time to discuss options with loved ones, handling it themselves, and being unaware that long term care was something to plan for. This lack of initiative can have significant consequences for consumers in the long run, especially considering that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Americans reaching the age of 65 have a 70% chance of requiring long term care.
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Resilient Planning = Resilient Retirement
The survey found that when thinking about retirement, 38 percent of Americans who have not provided long term care for a loved one in the past 12 months were most worried about having enough money to maintain current lifestyles. This is a proportion significantly greater than the 23 percent of those who have provided long term care to a loved one and who cited money as most worrisome.
New York-based psychologist and money coach Dr. Barbara Nusbaum says fear may be to blame for the lack of planning. Difficult thoughts about aging, loss of physical and mental abilities, taking care of and losing aging parents, not having enough money, being a burden on family members and loss of personal power raises anxiety and fear and leads to avoidance.
"Long term care isn't a pleasant, happy topic to think about, however we can't let these emotions overwhelm us," says Dr. Nusbaum. "Instead, we can channel our negative emotions in a productive way. Our anxiety and fear can be signals that there is something very important that needs to be handled. If we use our emotions effectively, we will plan effectively and resiliently."
In order to put these difficult emotions of fear and anxiety to good use, Dr. Nusbaum suggests:
- Remind yourself that everyone feels some fear, anxiety, sadness, and worry when thinking about a long term care event. Don't feel badly about these feelings. Be resilient by using them and not avoiding them.
- Choose a trusted long term care planning partner who can help carve out a plan that addresses personal anxieties and concerns for yourself and your family.
- Get clear and specific on anxieties, thoughts and wishes by creating a 3-column list. In the first column list anxieties; in the 2nd column list specific thoughts about that anxiety; and in the 3rd column list what a wished-for scenario looks like. The wished-for scenarios are the goals for your long term care plan.
- Don't have a drive-by conversation with your planning partner. Have the conversation in at least three scheduled meetings. A conversation on the fly is a form of avoidance. Don't let lack of money -- or worries of not enough money -- stop you from planning. Concerns about money are more often than not a part of the long term care planning process. Not planning because of money concerns is a form of avoidance and the potential cost of not planning can be far more expensive and worrisome than planning.
- Educate yourself by speaking with others who have had a long term care event, caregivers and long term care plan experts to get a clear and true picture of what long term care may actually be like. Also speak to a long term care planning advisor to see what your options are, particularly focusing on your wish-list (watch for avoidance).
- Finally, with a long term care partner and long term care advisor, develop a plan that gets as close to your wish-list as possible.
Facing Unique Situations
'State of Planning' also found that 60 percent of females report not having a plan in place for future long term care, an interesting statistic considering women tend to have the most exposure to long term care issues as caregivers and are aware of the challenges that coordinating care can pose. Women were also found to be significantly more likely (18 percent) than men (9 percent) to cite not having found the right time to bring this up with loved ones as the most important reason preventing them from creating a plan.
"We've all heard the stories of women outliving their spouses and being left with a financial situation that's less than ideal because they weren't an active part of the planning process," said Olympic Gold Medalist Wendy Boglioli, National Spokesperson for Genworth. "There's an interesting juxtaposition between what women know as being a somber reality if they are unprepared for a potential long term care event and the fact that they are still not having these conversations with their loved ones. My hope is that our ongoing efforts to educate and elevate awareness around long term care will eventually close the planning gap."
Women face unique challenges in planning for long term care in that they are typically impacted twice, as the primary caregiver during an event and then as recipients themselves. It's important for those facing these unique situations to lay the groundwork and initiate conversations with family members in order to be physically and mentally prepared.
Planning to Maintain Your Lifestyle
Almost 60 percent of Americans do not have a plan in place to provide for future long term care needs, despite the fact that long term care planning is a necessary means to maintain quality of life. This month, during Long Term Care Awareness Month and beyond, Genworth encourages Americans to educate themselves on their long term care options and face their planning fears.
"The crucial first step of any long term care plan is to have the conversation with loved ones about where you want to be and how you want to live should you require long term care in the future," said Steve Zabel, senior vice president of Long Term Care Insurance at Genworth. "People often cite money restrictions as a reason to not create a plan, however, not having a basic game plan that allows loved ones to have a general understanding of your wishes could prove to have serious financial repercussions."
Genworth believes that families benefit from being proactive about long term care planning. Genworth's "Let's Talk" campaign was developed to help families initiate conversations about long term care preferences, options, and strategies. The campaign's website, caringtalk.com, offers tips and advice on how to break the ice with family members, guidance from experts, helpful "Do's and Don'ts", and advice from people who have taken the important first step of discussing long term care with their own families. Tools and resources such as AskWendyB [http://www.askwendyb.com/], an information rich blog by Olympic Gold Medalist and Genworth National Spokesperson Wendy Boglioli are also accessible to families nationwide.
About the Study
The '2012 State of Planning Survey' is a national survey conducted by ORC International on behalf of Genworth. The survey was fielded via landline methodology from October 4-7, 2012. Nearly 900 adults ages 35+ were surveyed. The survey holds a 95% confidence with 3% margin of error.
Additional information about the survey, tips and advice and related video content can be accessed via our multimedia news release.
About Genworth Financial
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 insurance holding company dedicated to helping people secure their financial lives, families and futures. Genworth has leadership positions in offerings that assist consumers in protecting themselves, investing for the future and planning for retirement -- including life insurance, long term care insurance, financial protection coverages, and independent advisor-based wealth management -- and mortgage insurance that helps consumers achieve home ownership while assisting lenders in managing their risk and capital.
Genworth has approximately 6,300 employees and operates through three divisions: Insurance and Wealth Management, which includes U.S. Life Insurance, Wealth Management and International Protection segments; Global Mortgage Insurance, which includes U.S. and International Mortgage Insurance segments; and the Corporate and Runoff division. Its products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, Inc., which traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit genworth.com. From time to time, Genworth Financial, Inc. releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the "Investors" section of genworth.com
SOURCE Genworth Financial