If you’re like most people, you bought your life insurance policy because you wanted to take care of your family.
You wanted to make sure that if something happened to you, your spouse and children would have something to live on. That’s what we all want: to take care of the people we love to the best of our abilities.
But as we get older, and our children grow up and become self-sufficient, life insurance policies can become less of a safety net and more of a burden. Rising premiums become harder and harder to pay – especially if you have other major costs like assisted living or long-term care payments.
The Value of Life Settlements
For this and other reasons, as policy owners age, life settlements can be more helpful to their families than keeping a life insurance policy. Here’s why.
Healthcare and long-term care costs can quickly become a burden on the entire family.
Long-term care costs are not insignificant, and they continue to rise. We’ve cited these numbers from the Genworth annual Cost of Care Study before: According to the study, the median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $92,378 per year, with a semi-private room coming in just slightly lower at $82,125.
Those looking into assisted living facilities don’t have it all that much better. The median cost of care for assisted living facilities is $43,539 per year; for home health care, around $46,000 per year; and for adult health day care, around $18,000 per year.
There aren’t too many seniors who can afford to pay that kind of money on their own, with no help from family, year after year. Even with help from Medicaid or long-term care insurance, healthcare is one of the highest expenditures retired people have to prepare for.
Adult children are often caught right in the middle, having to help cover their parents’ financial needs while raising their own kids – possibly paying their college tuition. This can cause serious stress and strain among family members.
A life settlement can go a long way toward alleviating this stress by turning a previously unusable asset into a lump sum of cash that can be put toward long-term care costs – it can even be turned into a long-term care settlement, meaning the money is put into a trust that pays a monthly amount directly to a senior’s long-term care facility.
Family caregivers often must give up some or all of their income in order to care for a parent or spouse.
Family caregivers do so much for their loved ones, often at a personal cost. According to the research group Population Reference Bureau, the value in dollars of the informal care that family members provide to their older loved ones totaled $522 billion in 2015.
That means that far too often, family caregivers must give up their own income, either in all or in part, to provide that care. Not only is this a big financial repercussion for caregivers, but it can take an emotional toll as well, and can sometimes cause tension between family members.
Selling a life insurance policy on the secondary market as a life settlement can help in these situations by allowing seniors to give their caregivers a stipend, for example. Another option is to use the lump sum as a fund that the senior or caregiver is able to draw upon to cover things like transportation, medications, living expenses, etc.
Funds from a life settlement can help seniors maintain their standard of living during retirement, reducing their need to rely on family for financial support.
As enjoyable as retirement can be, retiring is still a major transition. As such, it can often induce stress, anxiety, or depression in retirees.
As we all know, financial worries can be some of the most difficult to deal with, so doing whatever is possible and sensible to alleviate those is a good idea. Life insurance policies that are costing hundreds or thousands of dollars each month can easily be turned into lump sums of cash that can be used for anything.
Safeguarding a retirement account, paying for a bucket list trip, or starting a savings account for long-term care or healthcare are all effective ways to use the money from a life settlement. Doing so will not only make you feel better, it will also let your family breathe easier, knowing that you won’t be scraping by in this new chapter of your life. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re considering restructuring or surrendering a life insurance policy, be sure to contact your CPA or financial advisor for an appraisal of fair market value. You can also refer to the life policy owners section of the LISA website for more information.
About the Author
Jon B. Mendelsohn is CEO and Co-‐founder of the Ashar Group a nationally licensed life settlement brokerage firm dedicated to representing the seller and their advisory team in appraising and securing fair market value for their life insurance. Jon is recognized in the industry as a thought leader and tireless champion for transparency and life settlement best practices. Jon is a sought after speaker on the national stage and a valued consultant to professionals working with sophisticated clients in the planning process. Jon graduated from the University of Florida with two bachelor degrees and a master’s degree. Jon is a proud supporter of the company cause, The Crohn’ and Colitis Foundation of America. He and his family reside in Orlando, Florida.