The Problem with Facts
Don’t worry! This has nothing to do with politics, the upcoming elections, or anything related to these topics. After all, we can’t turn on the TV or grab a newspaper without being bombarded with such headlines.
This is about a story I came across published online with USA Today on October 20 (see link at bottom), written by Jason Hall of The Motley Fool. It is titled, “5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Retirement.” I read some of their financial articles from time to time, and enjoyed reading this Article. In Fact #1, the Article provided some solid statistics to consider regarding long-term care and retirement. Here are a couple of the statistics, which were gathered from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- 70% chance of those living past age 65 needing long-term care
- 90% chance (for married couples) that you or your spouse will need long-term care
Many of us are familiar with stats like, or similar to this. However, each time I see them I still get a headache, and for a while every time you turned your head a new facility was breaking ground (but that should be limited now since House Bill 1511 passed placing a moratorium on new nursing facility construction until the summer of 2018). Anyways, I digress…
So, back to the Article and Fact #1, “You’ll probably need long-term care (and have to pay for it).” The Article outlines how seniors will pay for their care, and gives three examples:
- Long-term Care Insurance
- Using your own retirement savings
- Having family members provide your care
It’s titled as a fact, and I’m not going to dispute that. Nothing written is untrue. However, there can be problems with facts—sometimes facts don’t outline all of the possibilities. The Article didn’t claim that these were the only three ways to pay for care. That’s a fact! I assume that many people will read the Article and believe that these are the only options available to pay for long-term care. Yes, my assumption is a fact! Please feel free to argue with me on this point, but I, like many, can be just as guilty about taking what’s published as the facts of life. It’s no one’s fault—it’s a fact of life—we don’t know what we don’t know. If we’re not even aware that other possibilities exist, then we have no way to contemplate another possibility. This is sometimes referred to as “unconscious incompetence.” Again, I don’t want this to sound like something bad—it’s all about awareness, which comes by educating ourselves or using our knowledge and expertise to educate others. That’s one of my missions. To educate others about the costs of long-term care and to explain that facts you’re aware of may not include all of the possibilities.
From a legal standpoint (not to bore you), another possibility exists to cover the costs of long-term care. You plan for it. When you plan for it, your government will take care of you. It’s called Medicaid, and the same rules apply to everyone, the rich and the poor. What’s the old saying? There are only two guarantees in life—death and taxes. Assuming that’s a fact (who knows anymore!), your hard earned tax dollars have paid into our government programs, like Medicaid. The fact is that Medicaid is another option everyone has for covering the cost of long-term care. Now that we’re all aware of this, let’s continue to do our part and educate others facing the challenges of long-term care cost, and give them another possibility. You don’t have to spend it all—that’s a fact!
Thanks for hanging in there with me!