Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Aged Care Steps technical manager Natasha Panagis said many advisers don’t consider aged care as part of the retirement planning process.
“So when they’re asking clients how much they need for retirement, a lot of the time, that amount that they’re helping clients plan for, doesn’t include what the aged care costs will be at that time,” said Ms Panagis.
“[However], retirees tend to need to receive support over the last years of their life, and many of them experience high care dependency in the last four of five years of their life.”
This means that around 25 per cent of a clients’ retirement years are years where they require care or support services, she said.
Some retirees, she explained, may not want to sell their home to fund their aged care costs, so advisers may need to discuss other options with these clients such as unlocking equity from their home through reverse mortgages or the family potentially funding these costs.
“So advisers really need to sit down and look at how they can help clients fund the later stages of their retirement,” she said.
While clients are often reluctant to think about themselves ageing and their potential to move into aged care, she said, raising potential issues in advance ensures the client has more options later on.
“If it’s left to the last minute where a crisis emerges then the options are limited, decisions are rushed and the family will be stressed at this point, so conflicts may arise.
“Plan ahead so that you can raise awareness with clients.”