Charlotte Richards discovers the different ways advisers are getting clients talking about their long-term care needs.
The UK’s growing and ageing population means long-term care advice is becoming more crucial than ever. However, thinking about later life provisions may not captivate many clients so is it up to advisers to change their attitudes?
Debate around the so-called demographic timebomb has been escalating in recent years.
There are nearly 9.2 million people in England and Wales over the age of 65, equating to one in six people. There are also currently three million people aged over 80 years, which is projected to almost double by 2030 and reach eight million by 2050.
Getting clients on board
In response to the ageing population issue, the government launched the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support in 2010 to review the funding system for care and support in England.
The report said the government will cap care costs at £35,000 and at this year’s Conservative Party conference, health minister Jeremy Hunt said the coalition will introduce the cap as soon as they are able to.
However, despite the topic gaining more attention, advisers say most clients remain unaware of the real costs of long-term care.
So what are advisers doing to get their clients talking about the issue?
Andrew Dixson-Smith, managing director of Care Fees Investment, believes advisers play a key role in raising awareness. It is up to the adviser to tell the client where the responsibility lies, he says.
“We deal with this issue every day. People really don’t have a clue.”
He says it is essential advisers make sure clients are thinking now about the implications of going into residential or nursing care.
“Clients do not have any idea what the State provides, what allowances they are entitled to, and they especially have no idea how expensive it is.”
Simon Sanders, chartered financial planner at HLS Financial Planning, finds that many of his clients are reluctant to talk about their long-term care needs.
"Nobody wants to think about it; clients want to get on with enjoying their lives and not worry about contemplating things that can destroy it," he says.
The simplest way to get people thinking about long-term care is to get them thinking about their own family situation, Sanders says.
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