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Does long-term care insurance make sense for you

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For some folks long-term care (LTC) coverage makes perfect sense while for others it may not be necessary. Before you make the leap to purchase a policy, consider the following:

Family status. Most single people can bypass LTC coverage, however married people or those with children should think twice about purchasing a policy. Those with dependent family members could be putting their spouses and children in a financial stranglehold if something happens to them and there's no policy in place.

Affordability. Long-term care policies aren't cheap and their premiums are increasing. Many LTC experts suggest that people take a close look at their net worth. If you expect to have less than $500,000 in liquid assets after you retire, then you might not be able to afford LTC coverage.

Another measuring stick that experts suggest is determining how much the insurance will cost as a percentage of your expected retirement income. If the premiums consume more than 10 percent of your income, you probably can't afford the coverage.

Family health history. Take a close look at your family's gene pool. If your parents and grandparents are quite healthy, you might be able to bypass coverage.

Look hard before you leap and buy a policy

A LTC policy can be an expensive, long-term investment, so consider the following: the limitations and features of the policy and if your money would be better off invested elsewhere.

LTC agents are growing like weeds, so it's important that you become an expert on the subject before you start shelling out your hard-earned money.

When is the best time to buy a LTC policy?

The most economical time to buy a policy for most people is age 50 or so. If you wait until you're in your 60s, the premiums will be so high that it will eat up a lot of your retirement assets.

However, if you expect to have declining heath as you age, then you might want to purchase a policy in your mid-forties.

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