Planning For The ‘Unknown’

Originally posted on February 18, 2016:

Regular readers of this blog will know that I work with financial advisors  and families providing education around the cost of caring.  Education is important so that financial plans can be realistically based on what we can anticipate rather than what we don’t know.  The ‘unknown’ is just that however there are many indicators that can help forecast what is ahead for us. Many of us put off until tomorrow what we choose not to face today. In late January, the Globe and Mail ran a series on retirement planning sponsored by RBC. In one of the articles, ‘Retirement lessons children can learn from elderly parents‘,  there is reference made to the 26th Annual RBC RRSP Poll (November 2015) that found ‘just 49 per cent of Canadians have a financial plan’. Not too bad, however even fewer I would guess have sat down with their advisor to explore their health care concerns and what the financial cost of caring might actually be.

While we wait until ‘tomorrow’, life goes on and for some who have yet to plan, they may find themselves in a very uncomfortable place. We all know someone who suddenly took ill or had a stroke or a fall, resulting in  fractures or a traumatic brain injury (TBI); others may have received a terminal diagnosis. No one expects that life as they know it can change drastically from one day to the next. Perhaps your clients will self-insure or some have insurance policies in place. However how do you predict what you might need? While none of us have a crystal ball in which to see the future, we can learn about ‘what might be’ from our own family’s health history and which conditions/diseases may be hereditary. Of course, environmental factors and how we choose to live also impacts our health and wellbeing. With new technology and medical breakthroughs we are living longer; this is the good news, the bad news is, our care will be costly. The message here is about having the talk; not only with our own families but with our clients as well in order to help them plan as realistically as possible.

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