LTC Bullet:  Wake Up, Little Susie

Friday, June 21, 2002

Seattle--

*** Why not sponsor an LTC Bullet?  Our subscription list for LTC Bullets is nearing 4,600 recipients.  Many of the leading experts on long-term care in the United States receive this publication.  We send the Bullets to hundreds of financial planners and long-term care insurance specialists, but they also go to a couple thousand influential media representatives, academics, public officials and administrators, state and federal legislators, long-term care providers, senior advocates and others.  For $500, you or your company can sponsor a Bullet, get positive exposure before this wide range of long-term care experts, and help keep the Center for Long-Term Care Financing's many services, including the Bullets, the website, and our constant nationwide advocacy for rational long-term care policy, available.  Just call Amy Marohn at 425-377-9500 or email her at mailto:amy@centerltc.org to make arrangements. ***

*** Last chance to register for the National Chamber Foundation's June 27 Washington, D.C. conference on “Long-Term Care and Business:  Creating and Paying for Choices.”   For details, please go to http://www.uschamber.com/ncf or call Courtney Vital at (202) 463-5500.  Center President Steve Moses will be the moderator for a panel consisting of former Senator David Durenberger, MassMutual's Pam Delaney, CLTC's Harley Gordon and DC Attorney Michael Cook on "The Road Ahead:  The Financing of Long-Term Care."  Join us at this important meeting if you can. ***

*** New content posted today in the Center for Long-Term Care Financing's Donor-Only Zone includes:

The "LTC Week in Review" for June 17 to 21, 2002:

LTC E-Alert #157--WWW.GOVBENEFITS.GOV

LTC E-Alert #158--Washington Post Profiles Assisted Living

LTC E-Alert #159--News on Glaucoma, Alzheimer's and Diabetes

LTC E-Alert #160--Handy CD-ROM with Info on Strokes

LTC E-Alert #161--ALF Savvy

Zone in now!  Jump to http://www.centerltc.com/DOZ_info.htm for the details or simply contribute $100 or more to the Center and give Amy Marohn your preferred user name and password (mailto:amy@centerltc.org or 425-377-9500).  Contribute online at http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm or mail a check to Center for Long-Term Care Financing, 2212 Queen Anne Avenue North, #110, Seattle, WA  98109.  If you mail a check, Amy will give you access to the Zone as soon as you tell her "it's in the mail."  We trust you and mailing your check will save the Center the fee we have to pay for online contributions.  Thanks as always for your support. ***

LTC BULLET:  WAKE UP, LITTLE SUSIE

Center for Long-Term Care Financing President Stephen Moses wrote the following article.  It was published in the May 2002 issue of "Advisor Today," the monthly journal of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.  Read it here in the original or jump to the edited version, titled "The LTC Wake-Up Call," published on the magazine's website:  http://www.advisortoday.com/archives/article.cfm?articleID=120

Wake Up, Little Susie, Wake Up

by

Stephen A. Moses

When we were young and innocent, we danced to that Everly Brothers tune with nary a care in the world.  Nowadays, the song is a telling metaphor for our generation's lack of financial preparedness.  Soon, we'll wake up to the retirement equivalent of "The movie's over, it's four o'clock, and we're in trouble deep." 

On average, baby boomers have saved only 12 percent of what they'll need just to cover basic living expenses in retirement.  If we don't get busy saving soon, our generation will find ourselves deeply in debt and facing impossibly difficult financial obligations, just when we want to relax and enjoy life.

According to a recent "Allstate Financial Retirement Reality Check," 76 million baby boomers comprise 29 percent of the United States' population today.  In 30 years, 70 million people will be over age 65, more than double the number of elderly in 1999. 

Yet, this gigantic aging population believes falsely that they are prepared for retirement.  The survey found that 78 percent of boomers think they're prepared for retirement and 69 percent believe they know how much money they'll need to maintain their desired lifestyle.  But, wake up Susie, the facts are very different.

Boomers said they would need only $30,000 per year for basic living expenses in retirement, optimistic at best.  To generate that amount reliably, however, they'd need $1 million in savings.  But boomers have saved only $120,000 on average.  Furthermore, 81 percent of the boomers have no plans to increase their retirement savings significantly.  Despite serious concerns over Social Security's solvency, 32 percent of boomers plan to rely on that program for the majority of their retirement income.  According to the study, even the events of September 11, 2001 failed to wake up our somnolent generation.

Boomers really are sleeping through this movie.  A majority of us are looking forward to retirement and 63 percent of us say those will be the best days of our lives.  But as a group, our hopes and expectations do not synchronize with the hard facts of financial reality.  We boomers need to get real about retirement planning.  If we don't, this time around, we'll have to answer not to our parents, but to our adult children.  It is that much-smaller generation that will have to take care of us if we can't take care of ourselves. 

So, before we have to admit "We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot," let's wake up, smell the coffee, sharpen some pencils, and get to work.  Save, invest and insure to prepare for the normal expenses and catastrophic risks of retirement and old age.  There is still time for us baby boomers to prepare for retirement and to enter our golden years with a happy "Oh, la la."

Same song, second verse:  No one is more important to the task of waking up our sleepy generation than America's financial advisers and insurance agents.  Maybe the general public can be forgiven for succumbing to the lullaby of easy living and a government-induced entitlement mentality.  But there is no excuse for professional financial advisers.  

If you purvey information or products designed to create, grow, and preserve retirement savings, then you have a fiduciary responsibility to your prospects and clients.  First, make sure you grasp the problems and understand the solutions.  If the facts presented early in this article were a surprise to you, then you have some serious catching up to do. 

Are you completely up to speed on the single biggest financial risk aging people face, long-term care?  If not, you can find a growing list of training and certification programs on long-term care and long-term care insurance at the end of this article.  [See the published version of the article at http://www.advisortoday.com/archives/article.cfm?articleID=120 for this list.]

Once you understand the problems and you're confident that you possess the solutions, warn your clients that their biggest risk these days may not be dying too soon, but living too long.  Give them the facts.  Show them how to protect themselves.  Be professional, but be passionate.  This is an important mission, perhaps as critical in the long run as homeland security.  So, sound the reveille.  Wake up Susie, and everyone else, before it's too late. 

For more information on the Allstate survey, see:  http://www.allstate.com/media/newsheadlines/

Stephen A. Moses is president of the Center for Long-Term Care Financing in Seattle, WA.  Reach him at smoses@centerltc.org or 425/467-6840, x2 or direct at 206-283-7036.  Or visit www.centerltc.org.  The Center for Long-Term Care Financing is a 501(c)(3) charitable, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank and public policy organization with the mission of ensuring quality long-term care for all Americans.