The COVID-19 pandemic was a particularly disruptive time for everyone in the United States and around the world. Now as people begin to emerge from their COVID-caves back into the open there is palpable, pent-up demand to shop, dine, and travel across the country. People have been stuck at home for over a year and it’s estimated that as much as $1.5 trillion of cash has been collectively hoarded by U.S. consumers. The question now is what will people do with all this money? During the pandemic, people spent on their homes, shopped Amazon, and built up their stock portfolios. But after deservedly dining out, taking a trip or two, and reconnecting with friends and family not seen for over a year — there are some smart moves to make with all that excess cash.
Start by taking stock of the realities that the pandemic taught us all about the fragility of life. One area often overlooked by people is insurance, but this is a very smart investment to ensure that a person’s future is secured for themselves — and their family.
Anyone with a family should have enough life insurance in place to protect their loved ones in the case of an untimely demise. Life insurance should always be purchased with the goal of acquiring the most amount of death benefit for the lowest premium payments. Term life policies offer the lowest cost premiums because they are not permanent, and they do not build up cash value. Also, the younger and healthier a person is when they buy a policy, the lower their premiums will be. For people who got through COVID and are standing healthy today, now is the time to buy a policy under the best possible underwriting conditions.
Another insurance related purchase to strongly consider is protecting oneself from expensive medical and long-term care costs. 75% of people aged 65 or over will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime, yet most people don’t understand how they will pay for it, what is and is not covered by programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, or how to obtain private insurance. And now there is the reality that 1/3 of all people who have recovered from COVID known as “long-haulers” are still dealing with a range of persistent, chronic conditions. For many they will need expensive medical treatment or long-term care supports and services for years to come, but they could be rated as having a “pre-existing” condition by insurers making coverage very expensive or possibly even unattainable.
A smart move with post-COVID cash is to make sure one has the best health insurance in place they can obtain and to secure long-term care insurance. Both types of coverage are most often issued as part of employer-sponsored benefit packages, but as the definition of employment changes more people will need to secure coverage on the individual market. People need to act while they are younger and healthier to find better coverage and lower rates for themselves and their families.
With only 50% of the population vaccinated and COVID still an endemic threat for years to come, the sooner people act with the cash they have saved to secure their physical and financial health the better off they will be. If they wait too long, they could find themselves unable to afford or obtain coverage which could be financially devastating if their health becomes compromised.
Chris Orestis, President of LifeCare Xchange and known as the Retirement Genius, is a nationally recognized senior care advocate and expert in retirement, long-term care and specialty senior living funding solutions. The author of two books, numerous published papers and articles, and a frequent industry speaker; he is the innovator that brought the LTC Life Settlement into the market over a decade ago.
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