Planning for long-term care expenses

Published April 10, 2023
 A woman smiles as she reads financial information on her tablet in her living room.

Meagan Dow, CFA, CFP® 
Senior Strategist, Client Needs Research

Health care is one of the biggest expenses in retirement. And while Medicare may cover a large part of traditional medical expenses, it generally doesn’t cover expenses related to long-term care, which can be substantial. That’s why it's important to plan for long-term care costs before you’ll need them.

When to start planning for a long-term care need

It’s earlier than you may think! While long-term care services are typically needed later in life, it’s beneficial to start planning between ages 50 and 60. This is especially important if you decide to get insurance, because:

  • Your health may be better, which would make it more likely to obtain coverage and at lower premiums.
  • You'll have more time to spread out premiums, which makes them lower. 
  • You may still be working and able to better afford  premiums.

Planning early also gives you more time to discuss your care and aging preferences with your loved ones.

Planning tip
The more active you are about planning, the more options you may have and the more confident you can be that your wishes will be met.

Next steps

Once you have a sense of how you’d want to receive long-term care and how much it may cost, you’ll want to discuss the options for covering those costs. That could include self-insurance, purchasing insurance or a combination of those two solutions. Working with a financial advisor can help you determine which long-term care insurance plan is most appropriate for you.

Important information:

* Source: and Edward Jones calculations