Nationwide: advisors need to talk with clients about healthcare costs in retirement

Most advisors say that having discussions about health care costs in retirement helps to keep clients loyal, according to a new report.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. published this finding in a summary of results from its 2012 Financial Advisors and Health Care Costs Study. Conducted online in July by Harris Interactive Inc., the survey polled 501 financial advisors who count among at least 50 percent their clients individuals with $250,000 or more in investable assets.

Nationwide weighted the survey results by firm type.

Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) advisors surveyed say their clients are interested in talking about health care costs in retirement. But more than half of those polled admit that discussing their clients’ health is “challenging.”

Additionally, 30 percent of respondents say they are confident in their ability to estimate their clients’ health care costs in retirement.

More than four in 10 (43 percent) advisors say their clients show little interest in discussing the subject. That could be because nearly 75  percent of advisors say many of their clients don’t realize how crucial planning for health care costs in retirement is.

On average, the survey adds, more than half of clients don’t have a plan to pay for those costs.

More than half of the survey respondents say they remind their uninterested clients of the importance of the discussion before switching topics. And 37 percent say they try to urge them to have the discussion before switching topics.

Only 4 percent insist on having “the talk,” the survey adds.

Not counting long-term care, out-of-pocket health care costs for the average 65-year-old couple can reach $240,000 over 20 years of retirement, the survey reports. People living to age 65 have a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care during their lifetime.

The average cost per year for a nursing home is projected to be $265,000 by 2030, not including the cost of a private room, the survey adds. 

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