James B. Twining

Retirement, Investing, Taxes
“Financial Plan, Inc. is a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor located in Bellingham, WA.”

Financial Plan, Inc.

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James (Jamie) Twining is the founder of Financial Plan, Inc., and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner who works with an exclusive high net worth client base. Jamie has a niche advising BP Cherry Point refinery employees.

A graduate of the University of Southern California and a devoted husband and father, Jamie enjoys spending time with his family, leading the choir at Sacred Heart Church and outdoor sports including mountain biking, scuba diving, and an annual surfing trip to Mexico.

His favorite pastime on a rainy winter’s night is to sit down with his son Gabriel, open a bottle of fine Pinot Noir and play a game of chess.

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Is short term care insurance a good idea?
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In short: no, it is not a good idea, and an insurance agent is not able to give objective advice, as they have an obvious conflict of interest here.
Insurance works best for events that are 1) unlikely to occur, and 2) catastrophic if they do occur.
The need for short term care is not unlikely to occur,  nor is it catastrophic if it does. I would estimate that one in three retirees will require short term care at some point in their lives, and the cost in today’s dollars if we assume a one year need at $8,000 per month is approximately $100,000. Anyone for whom a $100,000 expense is catastrophic is likely going to run out of money in retirement regardless of whether a short term need for care arises or not. For retirees of limited means,  it is quite easy to become “insurance poor” ; paying premiums for all sorts of insurance, and suffering financially as a result even if none of the insured events takes place.
Other examples of inappropriate insurance include vision and dental insurance. Neither of these costs is unlikely, nor catastrophic. Rather than reducing risk, these policies tend to simply funnel expenses through the insurance carrier, while adding on the costs of administration and the insurance company profits. It is better to simply pay the expenses directly.
Examples of appropriate insurance include life insurance for a dependent spouse beneficiary, fire insurance on a home, catastrophic medical insurance, and auto liability insurance. These insure against events that are unlikely to occur, but they can cause catastrophic financial loss if they do. Because the events are unlikely, the insurance issuers need not pay out claims very often. This serves to lower the premiums, and spread the costs over a larger group of people, while paying out large claims to those who suffer the unlikely event.  
In regard to the short term care insurance question, I would go a bit further and say that the advisability of even long term care insurance is questionable. A long term care need is not terribly unlikely, nor is it necessarily financially catastrophic. Consider that if someone requires long term care, it is likely a permanent situation. Thus, the home can be sold to pay the costs. Often the equity in the home is sufficient to pay for many years of coverage. In recent years, the claims experience of long term care issuers has been dreadful, causing them to raise premiums and lower benefits. In certain situations it can be appropriate, but in my opinion it is often better to “self insure”  if assets are available to sell to raise the funds. Of course if a primary objective is to pass on assets to heirs, this will color the decision in favor of the long term care insurance purchase.
I hope that this is of some help in your decision making process. All the best to you!


February 2016
    Financial Planning, 401(k), IRAs
Should I roll over my 401k from my previous employer?
100% of people found this answer helpful
June 2016
    Career / Compensation, 401(k)
What should I do with my 401k when changing jobs?
100% of people found this answer helpful
February 2016
    Retirement, Taxes
Is it possible to pay no income tax in retirement?
100% of people found this answer helpful
November 2016
    Pensions, Retirement Savings
Should I cash out my pension or roll it over to a 457(b)?
100% of people found this answer helpful
October 2016