Aging in America: Financial Planning’s New Frontier

Contributed by: Amanda Toia Amanda Toia

I had the opportunity to attend the Raymond James National Conference in April. It is a time when colleagues from all across the country gather to share ideas, host seminars, and learn new and exciting information to take back to their practices. One of the experts on a panel on aging happened to be our resident gerontology expert, Sandra Adams (she did a fantastic job).  When it comes to degenerative disease that accompany aging like dementia, the statistics are staggering.  

The Impact of Alzheimer’s

There are over five million people affected with some form of dementia in America today.  While there are various diseases that fall under the umbrella of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.  In fact, 80% of dementia is related to Alzheimer’s disease. While we are seeing a decline in other diseases across the board (breast and prostate cancers, heart disease/strokes and HIV), Alzheimer’s is rapidly increasing. 

As we begin to age, our mental effective power begins to slow down.  This slow down starts in our early thirties and continues to decline through our aging process.

Every 67 seconds, one person in America is diagnosed
with Alzheimer’s disease.

An alarming 1 in 9 Americans (aged 65+) has this progressive disease (and there are 10,000 people turning the age of 65 each day).  Americans over the age of 85 will have a 1 in 3 chance of living with this form of dementia.

Dementia and Financial Planning

As our aging population is rising, so are some of the issues in financial planning. Statistics show that by 2050, we could have 16 million people living in America with Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s Association). The expected costs related to the diagnosis, treatment, and societal factors of dementia could be as high as 1.2 trillion in today’s dollars. (Yes, I wrote “trillion.”) Today, average nursing care is running around $75,000 and this is for basic, skilled care – not a lavish facility. With healthcare and long term care costs on the rise, it is necessary for clients and planners to begin the long term care plan early in life taking into account the rising risk factors of dementia as they can strike earlier in life.

Sandra Adams and the other panelists discussed engaging and educating ourselves and our clients on the issues of aging and the effects on the financial planning landscape.  While aging has been a part of the financial planning process for some time, it has become somewhat of a new frontier as the aging population, health care, and long-term care costs increase by leaps and bounds.  Creating a financial plan no longer includes just assets and insurances for your long term goals.  Your intentions for your health care and mode of living beyond retirement are now viewed as appropriate topics to broach with you planner and other professionals alike.  Building a care management team will ease the burden should the time come when your health begins to decline.  Making sure members of your inner circle are aware of your wishes as they relate to treatment options, modes of living, and end of life care are also very helpful. 

Aging and the concerns surrounding it can be a tough subject to tackle as no one really knows what the future will hold.  We are fortunate to have a specialist in our office who keeps us up to date on all matters of aging and we are here to help do the same for you providing financial guidance as you move through your life.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Amanda Toia and not necessarily those of Raymond James.