Atlanta Financial Blog

Why Women Need to Plan for Long-Term Care

Why Women Need to Plan for Long-Term Care

Cathy C. Miller, MBA, CFP®, CRPS®, CDFA™
June 15, 2021

As mothers, sisters and daughters, women are often counted on to be caregivers for family members in need. Whether it’s something as small as a cold or as debilitating as a terminal illness, women are typically the ones to care for and help out when a loved one is sick. But what happens when the caregiver is in need of her own care? Too many women are stuck facing this dilemma head on, instead of preparing for it while there’s still plenty of options, resources and time ahead. Below are a few reasons why it’s so important for women to plan for their own long-term care strategies now.

Women Are Outliving Men
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 the average life expectancy of men was 76.1 years old. Women on average, however, outlived their male counterparts by five years, with a life expectancy of 81.1 years.1 While an extra five years may not sound like much, it opens women up to a much higher likelihood of developing chronic illnesses and disabilities that can threaten their autonomy. For women, the need for care often comes late in retirement after life-savings have been depleted and the woman’s life partner has passed away or is physically unable to act as a caregiver. So, when the time comes for a woman’s own need for long-term care, the funds often are no longer there.

Higher Risk of Health Problems
As mentioned before, a longer life expectancy leaves women much more vulnerable to developing chronic health problems later in life. Because of this, the majority of the population in need of long-term care services are women. In fact, 66.8 percent of nursing home residents, 59.1 percent of hospice care users, and 70.2 percent of residential care community members are women.2 Unfortunately, while you may not think long-term care is a part of your future, the statistics speak for themselves. More likely than not, women are going to be in need of some sort of long-term care later in life.

Affordability Is an Issue
Widows, divorcees and women who have never been married are often at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to afford the long-term care needed later in life. Twenty percent of widowed women 65 and older were impoverished in 2012, while that number jumped to 29 percent in women who have never been married.3 Factor in a lack of a long-term care strategy and the development of a sudden chronic illness, and those women who were trying to stay afloat in times of good health are likely to only sink further into debt.

Lack of Retirement Planning
There are several reasons why women just aren’t planning for retirement at the same rate that men are. While women make up 46.8 percent of the workforce, they’re typically spending less time working as they leave jobs to raise a family or care for loved ones.4 Additionally, women typically earn only around 80 percent of what their male counterparts do, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.5

With less income and often a short-career span, women generally have more challenges preparing financially for retirement than men. Often, the necessity to plan for long-term care as well can feel over-whelming.

Women Provide Care to Others
Whether it’s for aging parents or loved ones with disabilities, one in five Americans serves as a caregiver. Of that group, 58 percent are women.6 And while many are happy to help, caregivers don’t always take into consideration the physical, mental or financial toll it can take. Not only can caregiving remove a woman from the workforce, but it can drain her finances as she spends her savings on the expenses of a loved one, depleting funds she may need for her own long-term care expenses.

We think it is imperative that women take a realistic view of their risk of needing long-term care later in life, and spend time NOW preparing a long-term care strategy for their future needs. Your trusted advisor can and should be helping you address these unique risks women face, and others. If we can help, please let us know.

 

1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db328.htm
2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_038.pdf
3. https://www.epi.org/publication/women-over-65-are-more-likely-to-in-poverty-than-men/
4. https://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/NEWSTATS/latest/demographics.htm#three
5. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.html
6. https://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/faq/cdc-factsheet.pdf

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Please Note: Atlanta Financial is a tradename. All services provided by Atlanta Financial investment professionals are provided in their individual capacities as investment adviser representatives of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”), an SEC-registered investment adviser principally located in Denver, Colorado, with various branch offices throughout the United States doing business under different tradenames, including Atlanta Financial. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change.

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Why Women Need to Plan for Long-Term Care

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