Make It Last – Ep 80 – Protecting Your Family From The Costs Of Aging
In 2016 Victor published his first two books in the Make It Last series. One in the area of fundamental estate planning and one in the area of retirement planning. After realizing the great need to continue the Make It Last series with a book on elder law planning and the costs of aging, Victor published Make It Last: Protecting Your Family From The Costs Of Aging. Tune in this week to learn more about how this book can help yourself, loved ones, or clients during the aging process.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the Make It Last books, they are all available on Amazon. Remember to leave a 5 star review when you finish reading!
Make It Last with Victor Medina is hosted by Victor J. Medina, an estate planning and Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®) and Certified Financial Planner™ professional (CFP). Through his law firm and independent registered investment advisory company, Victor provides 360º Wealth Protection Strategies for individuals in or nearing retirement.
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Victor J. Medina: Everybody, welcome back to “Make It Last.” I’m your host, Victor Medina. I’m glad you can join us this Saturday morning.
This is an exciting show for me because I’ve got a big announcement. I want to spend the show talking about something that I have done recently that has made me very proud. I’m kind of excited about it, but it’s also going to be a great benefit for you out there as well.
The thing about it is this. A few years ago, I published two books, one in the area of legal planning. It was called “Make It Last ‑ How to Get, and Keep, Your Legal Ducks in a Row.”
The book covered some fundamental estate planning related stuff. If you were thinking about what you were going to be doing with your estate planning, you would read this book and it would give you a good idea, a good road map, for what you were going to be doing with your estate plan.
It even included some things to do about how to interview an estate planning attorney. If you’re going to go visit somebody in the near future, what questions to ask, what model answers look like. It included a lot of descriptions for terms. Things that were part of this sort of foundational planning.
The concept behind that was that it was a way of getting people comfortable in a world where they often didn’t do a lot in planning. You don’t do an estate plan very often [laughs] . If you hadn’t done it in a while, this book would help you get there.
Then the other book that I published, also in the same year in 2016, was “Make It Last ‑ Ensuring Your Nest Egg Is Around As Long as You Are.” The concept behind that was for people that were entering retirement. I was finding that there were a lot of, again, sort of base‑level concepts that they were missing on ideas that they should just know for retirement.
For instance, understanding what expense ratios were in investments. Why variable annuities are a no‑no. Understanding proprietary funds and why those investments. How to structure different solutions in retirements to make sure that your money stayed safe and was smartly invested.
Now, there’s lots of areas we didn’t go into in that book. We didn’t talk about ways of creating retirement income, and making sure that you had a plan that could withstand market fluctuations up and down. We didn’t go into that into this book.
The idea was, again, just to give a base‑level of understanding on topics that I felt were not well shared. They weren’t well understood. Frankly, most advisors aren’t doing the right thing. [laughs] Most advisors aren’t sharing that information. I wanted to share that information in that book.
Why am I talking about two books? Because the announcement for today is I have published a new book. This is my third book. It’s called, “Make It Last ‑ Protecting Your Family from the Costs of Aging.”
Now, I’m super excited about this book. The truth of the matter is that my legal practice over the years has moved and shifted from doing foundational estate planning as the core thing that we do every day to doing more and more elder law planning.
The idea about elder law planning, that concept can seem a little off‑putting because even older folks that I know don’t like to be referred to as elders.
Generally speaking, when we talked about elder law, we’re talking about making sure that as you get older, the challenges that you’re going to be facing, the costs that are associated with getting older, the different life circumstances that can be dealt in your direction, all of that stuff, it needs planning.
It needs planning around it because the traditional method of going at it, which is just to make sure that you had good death planning documents, for that eventuality. The traditional planning didn’t cover how to navigate that world.
Our expertise grew into that area where we got to be known in the community as the people who could solve those kinds of problems. We got to be known in the community as a law firm that could address that kind of planning as the core thing that we did. That is, every person got a plan that was mindful about what somebody would be facing as they grew older.
As that reputation grew, so did the ratio of people that we were helping, tilting more towards these older adults, these seniors, these elder law people.
In fact, what would happen more often than not is we might see, for instance, the daughter of an aging mom, the last parent, coming to us for asset protection planning because mom ended up going into a nursing home. Something that’s similar to that.
Then what would happen is once that daughter got to see our services and how we helped mom, they would come back and they would do planning with us for themselves. They want to make sure that they covered that area in a more preventative fashion, not in a reactionary fashion.
Again, the whole, core center of the practice shifted to leading with caring for these older adults as they grew older. They were facing those challenges. The natural extension of that is a desire on my part as I do with this radio show/podcast, as I do with the public seminars that I’m not there in the community giving.
I have a big drive to educate. The idea for me is that the more people that know about these concepts, the better we will all be just being mindful of them.
What was missing, of course, was a book that focused in on the elder law component on these costs of aging, and the risks that are associated with that, and the costs that can come up. We’re understanding that world if you’re in the middle of a crisis, or if you’re thinking about it proactively.
I set out to write that book. The goal for that was, like the other two books, I wanted to give a fundamental understanding that would help people get ready for having the discussions around that.
The goal of the book was to make sure that no matter where you were in the process, whether you were somebody that was younger, and thinking about what would happen when you got older.
When I say younger, I’m talking late 50s, or early 60s where you know that stuff can get expensive if you get sick in the future.
I’m not talking about 30 or 40 years old. [laughs] That’s a little too young to be thinking about what happens when you get older. Enjoy your life. [laughs] For people facing retirement and understanding, “Hey, look. When I grow older, there are going to be challenges to that.”
Those people need an understanding for what that world’s going to be. Similarly, people who are in crisis have a need for that understanding as well. That was the goal in writing the book, and getting it published. What I want to do is, in the next two segments, I want to talk a little bit about what the book covers.
I want to give an overview. Maybe, I’ll even do a brief reading, depending on how I feel at the time. I’m not sure if I can select one [laughs] particular chapter or section that would make for a great reading.
What I do want to do is talk about the book, certainly where it’s available, and some opportunities you might have in helping to spread that information if you are in a position where you can gather a group of people together, and what that would look like.
Victor: Let me take a quick break here. When we come back, I’m going to talk about the book, specifically what’s in there. Let you know where it’s available, and let you know what you can do to learn more information about the teachings that are in it. Stick with us. We will be right back on Make It Last.
Victor: Hey everybody, welcome back to Make It Last. I am talking about my new book that I have published called, “Make It Last ‑ Protecting Your Family From the Costs of Aging.” This has been a great book to write, because it’s at the core center of what I’m doing every day in the office.
I don’t know what it is, that the population growing older, or our reputation growing wider. It seems like every day, I am meeting with people who are trying to navigate what it’s like to grow older, and are looking for a great plan to help them succeed in that challenge.
I was driven to write this book because as the frequency of people that I meet having to deal with this issue increases, and as the risks of not having the right information, what those risks present to your flexibility and security as you grow older.
I felt drawn to being able to share that information, because I feel like the more people know about it, the greater the list of options are going to be for them, the greater good that we’re going to be able to serve.
It’s tough for me because on the one hand, we’ve got this show and it is 30 minutes. We get to come in and talk to you about it. It’s fleeting in some respects. You listen to the show, and not many people will go back to a radio show and re‑listen to certain sections of that.
You can’t on demand go and call up some area that you want to learn about. The idea behind the book is that within each of the chapter headings, you’re able to dive into something. You could read it all at once.
The goals with the books that I write is to try to keep them short enough to have them be digestible in one sitting. We try to keep the books under 120 pages or so. That was the case with the first two books, and that’s the case with this book.
I’m holding it in my hand now and I’m leafing through. I think we’re at 105 pages with the glossary [laughs] in there. The idea here is essentially that you’d be able to pick it up and digest it in one sitting, and understand the major issues someone is going to face challenges in a concept of long‑term care.
Let me go through the chapters on there to let you know what we went through and how the book progresses. Then we’ll talk about certain issues in the book that we cover. Why you might want to pick up a copy and how one would be available to you.
Chapter 1 is called, “Discovering you have a problem.” The idea behind that is to make sure that we have laid out the case for why everybody needs to be thinking about these issues.
The costs of growing older are there in lots of different circumstances, whether you are married and you’re growing older together with somebody, whether you are alone, whether you have an aging parent. These can creep up in different circumstances.
Chapter 2 is called, “How to quickly assess if you are in crisis mode.” The idea behind that is to make sure that we have outlined the distinction between people who are capable of doing pre‑crisis planning. Planning ahead of time, preventative planning, and people that have sort of a fire in the kitchen.
The idea is that many times that distinction is pretty clear. If you’ve got an old adult that’s in a nursing home, then that’s going to be a crisis scenario. There are some lines that can get blurred, and we want to cover in there how to make that form of an assessment.
What signs to look for if you’re caring for somebody outside in your life, a loved one, or if you are caring for a parent, or if you are a spouse caring for another spouse. I wanted to raise up the different circumstances that might give rise to understanding that you’ve got a crisis mode.
Chapter 3 is taking stock in what you’ve got to work with.” The idea behind that chapter is for you to be able to have a walk through to get your hands around the issue. I can’t tell you how many clients come in a little bit lost because they’re thrust into the world of caring for somebody else. They don’t even know what to look for.
If they know what to look for, they don’t know what it means when they find it. That chapter is a good 10 pages or so. Within that chapter, I wanted to have people understand from a financial standpoint, what they should be looking for, from a legal standpoint, what they should be assessing and figuring out.
Again, I wanted to get somebody with that foundation in place to understand what they have and what they have to work with.
Chapter 4 is understanding and dealing with capacity issues.” One of the most prevalent things that is happening out in the world of people that are aging is that there are higher incidences of dementia, Alzheimer’s related conditions, cognitive issues.
The thing that faces the greatest amount of challenges is reduction in capacity. This challenge to capacity, the ability for somebody to manage their own affairs.
Again, another 10‑page chapter for you to understand what that world looks like. What tools are available to help you make the assessment. What risks there are if you have somebody that has lost capacity. The idea is to walk you through that.
Chapter 5 is talking about your different long‑term care options.” What I found in my practice is that people don’t understand what the different kinds of long‑term care are and what they cover. We go through ideas of independent living and home healthcare aides, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.
Blending them together and what the different costs are, how to rate them, and how to figure out which are good ones. We wanted to make sure that you had that as an education.
Chapter 6 is discussing the costs of long‑term care and ways to pay for it. We wanted to walk through traditional methodologies for paying for long‑term care, covering when does Medicare cover long‑term care. Briefly, when does Medicaid cover it. Because we’re going to talk about that as an option.
We actually have that in the next chapter, about long‑term care insurance, different ways that people can charge for this, different facilities, how they charge for that. The idea there is to cover those.
Chapter 7 goes right into understanding Medicaid rules and the eligibility for them. Chapter 8 is understanding veterans benefits and eligibility. I got really lucky, [laughs] I’m going to have to say, because on the eve of publishing this, there were a set of new VA rules that were issued.
We have been scrambling in the office to make sure that all of our clients that are affected by this new set of rules get the best planning possible for that. I was lucky that the rules had gotten published on the eve of locking this book down, so I had to quickly go in and make some changes.
This book actually has the updated version of the new veterans’ aid and attendance rules and eligibility standards in order for you to be eligible for those benefits. That’s a great one. By the way, if you don’t know, I’m just going to give you a real basic level.
If you were a wartime veteran, you didn’t have to serve on the front line in combat, but if you served during a period of conflict or if you were married to somebody that had served during a time of conflict, then there’s a special set of veterans benefits that are available to help you pay for long‑term care. Chapter 8 covers that.
Chapter 9 talks about understanding the legal documents that you would need. We’re going to then cover what the baseline documents are, why they exist, why it’s important to have them. We’re going to cover them as a very basic level.
Now, if you want a full education on legal planning, as estate planning or in retirement, you should read the other book for getting and keeping your legal ducks in a row. This one is a brief overview. It can stand on its own.
Chapter 10 is one of the bigger ones. It talks about legal strategies to protect your family assets. For the first time, we’re revealing in here the specific strategies that we use in assisting people for protecting their assets and getting qualified for benefits or stretching out their money.
Anything we approach, this gives an overview for it. Now, I’m sorry I have to pause here, and let you know I don’t want you to take this necessarily as legal advice. There’s disclaimers in here you shouldn’t go in and select the specific strategy. As though you know which one you’re going to be using.
I did want to cover the major ones that are used, because if you get to a meeting with an elder law attorney, then this will help you understand what they’re talking about when they propose these legal strategies that will give you a leg up to understand those terms and the concepts behind them.
Chapter 11 talks about avoiding problems with care facilities. It’s a growing concern. More people are putting themselves in harm’s way when it comes to setting up someone with a care facility.
Avoiding problems with that situation is something that we wanted to cover in one of the chapters. Chapter 12 is tying it all together. It’s a way of re‑framing what we’ve tried to discuss everything in the book. Then getting you ready to take the next step forward with this kind of planning.
The goal of the book within those hundred and something pages in these 12 chapters is to bring you through that journeys of just not understanding anything. Then getting in a position to have an educated and empowered discussion with the team around that.
One of the things that I wanted to do for today was talk a little bit about the team because I spent a lot of time in that section in the book. Let’s take a break here. I’m going to cover the concepts in the team and why we make the recommendations that we do.
Then from there, we’ll talk about how the book’s available and what you can do to even get a free copy. Let’s do that. Let’s follow up. We’ll be right back with Make It Last.
Victor: Everybody, welcome back to Make It Last. I’m talking about my new book today. I am excited. I’m giving you an opportunity to learn how to get it. I want to share all the information that’s in there, have the opportunity to buy it. Get multiple copies if you want. Even have an opportunity to get a free copy, if that’s what you would like as well.
Before I do that, I did want to cover one of the sections in the book and why I went into as much detail as I did. One of the things that people do when they face this issue is they try to surround themselves with professionals in the area. The number of professionals that focus in this area is small.
The qualifications of the people in this area is similarly…not a lot of people have them is where I’m going. Most in the world is not set up to help you with this issue, because first of all, it’s not widely discussed. If it is widely discussed, the level of that discussion is very much just at the surface and doesn’t go into detail.
I gave a couple of recommendations on how to pull your team together. Then I want to cover them briefly. Maybe, we can go into a little bit more detail in a future show. The idea here is that I think that you should get people, first of all, one the most and most important, important members of this team is going to be a Certified Elder Law Attorney, or a CELA.
You can figure out who has that designation by going to the National Elder Law Foundation or nelf.org. If you go over to that website, you can do a search for the certified elder law attorneys in your area.
You can do it by geography. You can do it by zip code. That way you can either select from that list, or you can just cross‑check that anybody that’s in your neighborhood whether or not they have those qualifications.
One of the reasons why it’s so important to make sure that the core member of your team is a certified elder attorney, is because the standards to get that certification is super high, the National Elder Law Foundation.
First of all, the exam. I want to say that probably only about 30 percent of the people who take that exam pass it in any one sitting. I remember that when I took the exam and passed it, there were 8 people out of 33 that passed that exam in that city.
You can understand, it’s a rigorous exam. It covers 12 different areas. They’re not all just legal planning. They all touch upon elder law, and I guess maybe the quasi‑legal.
We’re talking about advocacy rights. We’re talking about housing situations. We’re talking benefits planning. We’re talking about insurance. We’re talking about legal documents’ capacity, representing fiduciaries.
It is a wide spectrum of knowledge that people have to have in order to pass things in this exam. Once you pass the exam, you also have to demonstrate that you are focusing your practice in the area of elder law. The idea behind that is they want to make sure that you just didn’t learn this knowledge and pass the exam, but then you’re not practicing in this area.
They’re looking for you to go over cases that you have covered. Obviously, you’re not going to talk about client names, but you do demonstrate for them that you have covered extensive amounts of matters in each of the areas of specialty.
Then you need a certain number of recommendations from other people that practice in there. You have to be regarded by the community as a top elder law professional, elder law attorney.
Then they go through their analysis and then they grant the designation or they don’t. The certified elder law attorney is a great sort of hub for your professional team as you grow older, because it’s not just focusing on super old people, or disability, or something like that.
It is understanding how to help you navigate this whole world as you grow older. I think it’s important to do that.
Then the next here is in financial. There’s two designations that I’m recommending. One of them is in the area of a CFP which is Certified Financial Professional. In some form of a designation to help when you grow older. I happen to have one called the RICP for Retirement Income Certified Professional. There are two or three others.
Whether you’re talking about a retired management analyst, there are a couple of different ones that are in there. I’m going to look them up on the book as we’re talking. Quite honestly, I have forgotten about the ones that I don’t have.
We want to make sure that in there are the Retirement Management Advisor, or the CRC, Certified Retirement Counselor. The idea is you want somebody that’s gone through extra education in the financial world to make sure that they understand how to navigate something more than just accumulating assets, or planning for education expenses in college.
You wants somebody that’s focusing on this whole retirement area, growing older. Now, if you’re lucky enough to have one professional that is able to cover all of these things. Hooray, you’ve got a unicorn. I’m a unicorn. I’ve got the area of legal and financial covered under one roof.
If you don’t work with our office and you work with somebody else, you want to make sure as you create that team that you’re covering the best in legal and the best in financial. I want to talk about briefly where to find this book. The idea here is that it’s available on Amazon, both as a hard copy book as well as a Kindle version, if you’d like to read it electronically.
The Kindle version is a little cheaper because we don’t have to produce actual hard copies of the book. The publisher doesn’t have to do that. The hard copy’s a little more expensive, but it’s there. You can pass it along to somebody else. Either one is fine.
If you would like to save some money on a hard copy, we have some copies in my office. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send an email to that email address.
Let us know that you’re interested in purchasing a book, and we’ll let you know. It’s about $10 for the book, so there are some savings on that. Obviously, what we want you to cover some shipping and handling.
There is an opportunity to get the book for free. The way that you do that is you host us at a book talk. What we would like to do is be able to come in to a group that you manage and meet with.
Whether they’re caregivers, whether they’re a church group, whether it’s a professional organization that you’re involved in. Somebody that you can gather together 10, 15, or so people and basically want to cover these areas.
I will come in. I will give a book talk. I will bring copies of the book as a complimentary gift. That’s the way that you get it for free. The idea there is that if we’re having the opportunity to share that information, that’s a public benefit. We want to be able to do that.
Couple of different ways to get the book. We just celebrated this on November 6th on a book launch party. I hope that you’ll celebrate with us as well. If you’re interested in getting copies, again, go into Amazon or email us. We’ll let you know how to purchase them over here or host a group and we will come in for a book talk and share this great information.
I’m super excited that we’ve launched this book. I think it’s going to be a fantastic resource in the community. Great compliments to the other two books that have been published as well as to this show. Speaking of which if you like the show, please rate it highly on Apple iTunes.
Go and do that now. Share it with your friends. Go on to Spotify. Subscribe and go back to prior episodes and learn more and more about what we’re doing in retirement. Otherwise, I will catch you next Saturday with another engrossing episode of Make It Last. [laughs] We’ll cover how to keep your legal ducks in a row and your financial nest egg secure.
I’m noticing with that tagline, we’re going onto the old two books. I’m going to have to add something about protecting your family from the cost of aging, but I’ll work on that tagline for next time. Catch you next Saturday. Bye‑bye.