Retirement Watch Lighthouse Logo
Retirement Watch Lighthouse Logo

Bob’s Journal for 8/26/21

Published on: Aug 26 2021

Older Adults Less Likely to Need Senior Care Residences

Technology, medical improvements and better habits combined to make older Americans more independent than 10 years ago, causing a lower percentage of them to move to nursing homes or assisted living facilities in 2019 than in 2010.

Those are the results of the annual National Health and Aging Trends Study by the Population Reference Bureau.

The study found that older Medicare beneficiaries are less likely to have self-care or mobility limitations than in the past. Technology was a major reason, because more people were able to meet their self-care and mobility needs using devices and other technology.

Older Americans also are making much greater use of the internet to meet their needs. The most senior population uses email and texting more often to communicate. The most senior people also were more than twice as likely in 2019, than in 2010, to go online to socialize, shop, pay bills, seek medical advice and order medical supplies.

Because of improvements in medical care and better lifestyle choices, late-life disability is declining. The study reported lower rates of low physical capacity, poor vision and poor hearing.

This is all bad news for senior care facilities. The study reported a lower percentage of older Americans are residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities than 10 years earlier.

Home modifications are another reason seniors can live at their own houses longer. The study shows that people can stay in their current homes longer and safely through proper planning. By considering potential future physical limitations, senior Americans can have their homes modified to accommodate those limitations and increase the feasibility of in-home assistance. They also can learn about the new technologies available to help them and learn to use those technologies.

As I have said many times, long-term care doesn’t mean nursing home care or assisted living care. You can stay in your home longer, if you make a plan.

Beat Long-Term Care Insurance Rate Increases

Speaking of long-term care (LTC), some providers of long-term care insurance are announcing higher rates for new buyers of policies.

My readers know that for some time traditional long-term care insurance policies have fallen out of favor because of rising premiums and reduced benefits. In addition, the policies offer nothing to heirs of policyholders who never need the long-term care benefits.

The hybrid or asset-linked policies have been much more attractive to buyers. These are life insurance or annuities with long-term care benefits. They also don’t have the use-it-or-lose-it feature. Beneficiaries receive payments if little or no long-term care benefits are claimed.

In particular, I’ve been recommending a return-of-premium LTC life insurance policy for several years. Its long-term care benefit pool is initially three times your deposit and can grow to 10 times or more your deposit over 20 years, depending on the policy terms you select.

The policy offers the lowest premium-to-benefit ratio available, among other attractive features.

But my recommended long-term care insurance expert and friend, David Phillips, just told me that people will have to pay more for the policy beginning Oct. 4 if they want the return-of-premium feature.

If you’ve been delaying the purchase of long-term care insurance and want to avoid the latest cost increase, act now. Call David at 888-892-1102 or visit www.ropltc.com for details about the policy.

Casual Relationships Improve Your Health

Relationships with family and friends have long been known to be important to successful aging. Close relationships improve both physical and mental health among older adults, according to various studies.

Lesser known are the benefits and importance to physical and emotional well-being of casual relationships. Studies indicate these casual, or weak, ties to people cultivate a sense of well-being, create bursts of positive energy, motivate people to engage in activities and expose us to new information and opportunities, according to Kaiser Health News.

A broad, diverse social network also provides opportunities to develop new close relationships when friends or family members pass away.

People who talk to more acquaintances each day tend to be happier than those with fewer interactions. Casual relationships that can produce benefits include neighbors, workers at stores, members of a book group or similar gathering and fellow volunteers at an organization.

The Data

Existing home sales increased for the second consecutive month in July, rising by 2.0% from June’s level. Over 12 months, existing home sales increased 1.5%.

Existing home sales in July were at their highest level since 2006.

A low inventory of homes for sale continues to be a constraint on sales. Inventory increased 7.3% in June but is still 12.0% lower than 12 months earlier.

New home sales increased 1.0% in July from June’s level. Over 12 months, new home sales declined 27.2%. But sales for the three months preceding July were revised higher from the initial reports.

The 12-month number is distorted because there were few sales during the first months of the pandemic followed by a surge in sales the rest of 2020. July’s new home sales were almost back to pre-pandemic sales levels.

New unemployment claims reached a low for the pandemic with only 348,000 such claims in the latest week, 29,000 fewer than the previous week.

Continuing claims declined to 2.82 million, also a new low for the pandemic.

The number of people receiving some form of unemployment benefits fell by 311,787 to 11.74 million.

The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index for August declined to 19.4 from 21.9 in July. The new level still indicates solid growth.

The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index plummeted in August to 9 from 27 in July. Though the index declined, any level above zero indicates manufacturing activity in the region improved. Most survey respondents were optimistic that business conditions would improve over the next six months.

Durable Goods Orders decreased 0.1% in July from June’s level. But excluding transportation (which is mostly aircraft orders) orders increased 0.7% in July.

Core capital goods orders, which are considered a good measure of business investment, were unchanged in July from June’s level. But June’s number was revised higher from the 0.5% increase that was initially reported to a 1.0% increase.

The Leading Economic Indicators Index from The Conference Board rose to 0.9% in July from 0.7% in June.

Economic growth slowed a little in the first half of August but still was strong, according to the PMI Composite Flash Index.

The Manufacturing Index declined to 61.2 from 63.4 at the end of July. The Services Index declined to 55.2 from 59.9 at the end of July. The Composite Index for the economy declined to 55.4 from 59.9 at the end of July.

The Markets

The S&P 500 rose 0.89% for the week ended with Tuesday’s close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.15%. The Russell 2000 increased 2.49%. The All-Country World Index, excluding U.S. stocks, added 0.81%. Emerging market equities are 2.13% higher.

Long-term treasuries rose 0.29% for the week. Investment-grade bonds increased 0.07%. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) lost 0.02%. High-yield bonds gained 0.45%.

In the currency arena, the U.S. dollar declined 0.32%.

Energy-based commodities increased 1.03%. Broader-based commodities rose 0.85%, while gold gained 1.00%.

Bob’s News & Updates

My latest book is “Where’s My Money: Secrets to Getting the Most out of Your Social Security.” It tells you clearly what your benefit options are in different situations and how to determine the best choice for you. You can find it on Amazon.com or Regnery.com.

The number of regular viewers for my Retirement Watch Spotlight Series continues to increase. You should sign up because I make in-depth presentations of key retirement finance topics. You can watch these online seminars from the comfort of your home or office at times you choose. To learn more about my new Spotlight Seriesclick here.

A recent five-star review of my book on Amazon.com said, “A complete retirement guide! One of the best books on this topic!” Click for more details about the revised edition of “The New Rules of Retirement.”

If you’re interested in my books, check my Amazon.com author’s page.

I’m a senior contributor to the Forbes.com blog. You can view my contributor page here.

bob-carlson-signature

Retirement-Watch-Sitewide-Promo
pixel

Log In

Forgot Password

Search