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Is it worth it to buy long-term care insurance, or is it best just to save and invest? It seems to be a big gamble.


From the way you framed the question, I gather that you want to know whether it makes more sense to set aside money in case you need long-term care or to buy insurance for that purpose. There are two reasons that saving may not work. First, when people hear “long-term care,” they may translate it into “care that will be needed a long time from now.” The term really refers to care that is needed for a long time; what if some very unfortunate event befalls you and you need such care starting the day after tomorrow when you’ve saved of all 50 cents? Second, let’s say you don’t need care for many years, by which time you have managed to save a hefty pot of cash. Long-term care can be very expensive. Having to part with all that money, the fruit of your thrift and industriousness, even if the point of saving it was to cover just that eventuality, may take a greater psychological toll than you realize at a time when you are likely to feel quite vulnerable to begin with.
The fact that you’re asking about long-term care suggests that it’s something that worries you. Why not think of a care policy as a way to plan for the future, safeguard the assets that you have already accumulated and, as a bonus, give yourself some peace of mind? If you decide to buy a policy, remember that, as with all insurance, it’s best not to buy from an agent who is tied to a single company. Someone who can give you quotes from multiple providers will allow you to shop around for a product that offers the best features for you at the right price.
-Conrad de Aenlle