If you’re part of the Baby Boomers or Generation X, you already know the importance of saving for retirement.

Little remains of the security our parents once enjoyed through company pensions. Today, the responsibility for retirement saving has shifted from employers to employees, and Social Security provides only a base level of income. Today, it’s up to you to put the “golden” in your “golden years.”

Most likely, you’ve been saving diligently over many years to maintain your current lifestyle during retirement. But, have you factored long-term care (LTC) into the equation?

Many people fail to consider what would become of their finances if they or someone close to them became incapable of caring for themselves, even temporarily. Although it’s tough to contemplate, it is likely that you or someone you love will eventually need LTC.

LTC services range from custodial care in the home to medical care in a nursing home, and the majority of LTC services provide assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, eating, transferring, and toileting. You are generally considered to be in need of LTC if you have difficulty performing two or more of these daily activities due to physical limitations, cognitive impairment, or both. If you have accumulated wealth, such as retirement accounts or savings, and your funds are sufficient to cover LTC expenses, then you’re ahead of the game. However, if you hope to bequeath assets to your heirs, the cost of LTC could interfere with the best-laid plans.

Maybe it’s time to consider LTC insurance (LTCi). Policies vary, but in general, they provide a set amount of coverage that can be used in a number of ways. Should you come to need daily assistance, LTCi can help cover the expenses of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or even home health care. You may find that such coverage allows you to remain independent, while also increasing your options for care.

With LTCi, you can minimize the financial risk associated with extended care and relieve the burden of uncertainty for yourself and your loved ones. Furthermore, if you purchase a qualified policy, premium payments may be tax deductible. Whether you are in your 40s, 50s, or 60s, the time to begin planning is now. Each year you wait can cost you more money. Premiums are based on age and benefits. So as you age, your risk of needing LTC increases, along with the total cost.

Most people don’t think about LTC until it becomes a reality for them. As you prepare for your retirement, don’t overlook the possibility that you or someone you love may require LTC. While you don’t know what the future holds, proper planning today for an uncertain tomorrow may help preserve your hard-earned assets and enhance your options for care.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.