Dear Michael:

We had our wills done a few years ago. We have one child farming and two who are not. However, we have considerable savings to give to the other two children, and they understand he needs the farmland and they are willing to accept the savings we have. We have some CD’s, some stocks and bonds with a broker and some in our IRA’s adding up to quite a bit.

Perhaps we should have long-term care insurance, but my parents have it, and it just costs them more and more each year. We should have enough to cover ourselves if we do need some type of care. Is there anything we are missing?


Dear Comfortable:

It appears you are missing one thing – the big picture, if I may say so.

You stated you have a comfortable amount of savings, CDs and stocks and bonds with your broker. But you want to leave these things to your non-farming children or use them for long-term care. Well, if you need them for long-term care, there isn’t likely going to be much left with long-term care costs averaging eight to twelve thousand dollars per month.

If two of you are in at the same time, you’ll be close to two hundred thousand dollars per year in care costs alone. But odds are only fifty-fifty you’ll need care.

It does seem to set off the children not farming when they find out their inheritance went to pay for long-term care costs while Jr. walked away with the farm Scott Free. Then they’ll be thinking back and saying “I didn’t know my parents were putting my inheritance at risk when I agreed to take part of the savings component. How come they protected his stuff with the stuff I was supposed to get?”

Valid question.

What’s silly is this: People have money in CD’s earning less than one percent. They have money in the stock market because, at age sixty, they have a higher chance of making money – or losing money. If that’s not enough of a gamble, they decide to keep their money in the market and not to protect their health.

Long-term care is more about providing for your spouse than it is for your children. In the event you need the care of some sort, your spouse is the first line of defense. He or she is going to help you as long as they can. But it wouldn’t it be nice if someone would come in and do some therapy, or help with moving the hubby around if he needs it, or just getting a few hours break one or twice a week to go shopping or just get out of the house for a few hours?

What if you could take the money you already have, reposition some of these funds, so they provide long-term care if you need it, income when you get older if you don’t, or get your money back just like a CD? If you could have all the assurances of receiving long-term care insurance, never have to worry about losing a dime of your money, or the non-farm kid’s inheritance, why wouldn’t you do that?

If you need the money, you can get it back immediately without any fees or time constraints. Or, if you live too long and run out of money, at age eighty-five, whatever lifetime benefit you selected would be paid out to you?

If you had a fifty-fifty chance of needing care, do you have that same probability of making a killing in the stock market before you die? Why wouldn’t it make sense to just position a small percentage of your money, so one hundred percent of it is protected – whether you need care, outlive your income (great for contract for deed holders) or whether you die and leave it to your non-farming kids.

But some people would rather sit around and talk about their returns on the stock market or CD’s then realize they have done nothing to prepare themselves for something that’s getting to be more and more inevitable: getting old.

Personally, my biggest fear is needing someone to take care of me someday. I don’t know how much my family can care for me. I’m a pretty big guy. But, if nothing else, I want to be able to give my wife a break when she needs it, or go to a place of my choosing where they have things I like rather than wherever’s available to park me until I die.

I’d like to have some say in how I get care, and I know money talks.