Women spend much of their lives caring for others. As mothers
and wives, they never seem to stop giving to their families and husbands.
So who will take care of mom if she needs long-term care? Or
will she plan ahead for her long-term care?
It’s important that she does. Women typically outlive men by an
average of about five years. According to aarp.org, more than two-thirds of
Americans 85 or older are women. And about 79 percent of 65-year-old women will
need long-term care during their lifetime, according to a study by the
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.
Women often become long-term caregivers for their husbands or
other family members. And as statistics show, they are also more likely to
become widowed before needing long-term care themselves. Her husband’s needs
may have further drained assets, leaving the widow with less financial
wherewithal to apply to her own care.
“Women too often don’t adequately plan ahead for LTC needs,”
says Lisa Odoski, a financial professional focusing on women’s well-being and
Vice President of the Fried Group, the parent company of TFG Wealth Management
“At the same time, research shows among unpaid care-givers in
the U.S., two-thirds are women. They sacrifice a lot – sometimes their own
careers or reducing their regular work hours.
“Women today have a greater risk of needing LTC services and of
becoming unpaid caregivers. It’s an important time for them to develop an LTC
strategy that helps preserve their total financial future.”
Odoski gives three tips to help women prepare for their
• Educate yourself. Family financial planning used to be almost
exclusively the men’s turf. Those days are long gone, and with many houses
running on two incomes and women outliving men, women need to make planning for
their distant future more of a priority. But an AARP survey showed 60 percent
of women hadn’t considered how they would pay for long-term care. “They should
start by consulting an investment expert and financial planner,” Odoski says.
“They need to get up to speed on senior care costs, insurance and savings
• Know your retirement benefits and your spouse’s. Women should
take advantage of their employer’s retirement plan and not delay in saving for
their future, including the last years they may spend alone. It’s especially
important, in the event of divorce or their spouse’s death, to know their
spousal rights in regard to their spouse’s pension, Social Security or
veteran’s benefits. “They don’t want to be in a position where most of their
spouse’s benefits are going toward their own care,” Odoski says.
• Think long-term with your budget. Women should have specific
goals and a plan to save toward them. The statistics say the goals should
include a portion devoted to long-term care insurance, which covers a wide
spectrum of products and services. “They should lay out all monthly and annual
spending needs and crunch the numbers to determine what they’ll need in later
years in order to maintain their familiar lifestyle,” Odoski says. “They need
to look at all LTC options. Medicare and private insurance usually aren’t
enough to cover long-term care anymore.”
“After decades of taking care of others,” Odoski says, “women
more than ever need to know how to take care of themselves.”