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Money, Medicine & Death

One of the unintended realities of being a trusted advisor is the obligation to encourage people to make end of life decisions.
Many people are not comfortable talking about death. For the elderly, there is some belief that talking about it is an invitation for a visit from the Grim Reaper, while the young believe they’re indestructible and death is far, far away.
Commonly, families are asked to make critical healthcare decisions without full information and under terribly stressful circumstances. The knee-jerk reaction is almost always in favor of treatment without the ability to understand the downsides or economic costs. Every day, peoples’ assets are being spent down without the buyer’s awareness and, much more importantly, on treatments that will neither save nor positively impact their lives.

Money and death are colliding to deplete investment accounts and estates in a way people simply do not anticipate. Intelligent Advisors can help them rethink this.

Advisors try to manage clients’ risk and contribute to their financial well-being, but the manner in which healthcare decisions are converging with financial planning presents new challenges.
Advisors can help by arming clients with information that historically hasn’t been part of routine discussions. For example, as many as a quarter of Medicare recipients spend more than the total value of their assets on out-of-pocket health care expenses during the last five years of their lives, according to researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
It will be essential to understand what percentage of their assets clients want to spend on healthcare. In some instances, these may be extremely difficult and emotional discussions and it’s unfortunate that Advisors may be the first to broach the topic. Yet, it is also an opportunity.

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