Tag Archives: 60s

Getting Older May be the Secret to Happiness

Getting Older May be the Secret to Happiness

It may seem illogical, but in order to be truly happy, you need to age.  The years between 60 and 80 are the time when the majority of people are the most joyful, this according to a recent survey conducted for bank HSBC.

So how do all of these people in their 60s and 70s find the key to happiness? It starts with obvious factors such as good health and a respectable standard of living; but even these don’t make as large a contribution to one’s happiness as you might think. In fact, there aren’t really any external factors that play a part in making people happy.  Happiness is a natural outcome of aging that originates from within. That’s because the frequency with which negative feelings occur actually declines as you advance in years; and when they do happen, they don’t last as long as when you are younger.

Of course, the level of happiness you achieve varies according to the individual. Your genetic makeup influences how happy you will be, as does your parents’ happiness. Your health can influence how content you are, too.  People who are severely ill aren’t as happy as those in excellent health. But that’s true at all ages. The odd thing is that when researchers compared the morale of frail older adults to younger adults, the older adults beat the youngsters in the happiness department hands down, in spite of their infirmity.

The reason older adults can remain happy is probably related to their desire to make the most of the time they have left. Knowing that the clock is ticking makes people figure out the things that make them angry, and then either learn how to avoid them, or what they can do to cope.

Researchers also noted that brain function changes with aging. Brain imaging studies found that older peoples’ brains react less strongly, and for a shorter period of time, to negative feelings. They concluded that one’s improved outlook on life is probably a combination of changes in perspective, and changes to the amygdalae, a part of the brain that processes emotion.

Another change that comes with age is less emphasis on how much money one has.  Money only seems to have any real importance for those who are struggling to meet their every day expenses.  People that have a steady stream of income for life, no matter how small, learn to adjust to their new financial circumstances and find contentment.

Finally, continuing to engage in activities that you feel are important will add to your happiness. These activities need to be things that make a contribution like taking care of a grandchild, doing volunteer work, or working in a second career. Getting involved is life enhancing, and a little appreciation of life’s simple pleasures goes a long way on the road to happiness.

Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance While Young for the Best Rates

Obtain Long-Term Care Insurance While Young for the Best Rates

An American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance study of all 2005 long-term care insurance applicants revealed that 42 to 58 percent of all applicants between the ages of 50 to 59 qualified for good health discounts. Additionally, the percentage who qualify for good health discounts decreases somewhat for applicants in their 60s, but drops dramatically for applicants in their 70s.

Consumers who are in good health typically qualify for discounts that can decrease the cost of long-term care insurance by 10 to 20 percent each year. This means that a couple can save hundreds of dollars annually for the protection they need.

The researchers exemplified their findings by breaking down the total number of applicants into percentages who qualified for good health discounts by age range:

·   Under Age 30 – 66.5%

·   Between 30 to 39 – 61.0%

·   Between 40 to 49 – 53.7%

·   Between 50 to 59 – 44.2%

·   Between 60 to 69 – 31.9%

·   Between 70 to 79 – 18.8%

·   80 and Over – 11.2%

Eight leading long-term care insurers that represent approximately 80 percent of all individual policies sold in the U.S provided the study data. The researchers concluded from examining the statistics that consumers understand they will need long-term care at some point in their life. However, they often wait too long to plan for that eventuality. This failure to plan causes them to purchase long-term care insurance late in life and they end up paying a much higher premium as a result. The researchers went on to note that consumers don’t realize changes in their health can result in higher premiums for long-term care insurance, or make them ineligible for coverage at all.

There were two other important conclusions drawn from the study. First, consumers should begin investigating long-term care insurance options while they are still in good health, which for most people is in their 50s. The second is that consumers with less than perfect health should seek advice from a long-term care specialist who knows which health conditions various insurers will accept. Once a consumer has been declined by one insurer, they may find it impossible to obtain coverage from any insurer.

Study Shows Shorter Duration Long-Term Care Policies Are Adequate to Meet Most People’s Needs

When asked why they haven’t purchased long-term care insurance, most people answer that the coverage is simply too expensive. However, that excuse may be eliminated thanks to a national study conducted by Milliman, a leading independent national long-term care insurance actuarial firm.

The researchers examined claims data from approximately 1.6 million policies currently in-force. Their goal was to determine what percentage of long-term care insurance claimants with shorter duration policies actually exhausted all of their policy benefits. What they discovered is that only 14.4 percent of closed long-term care insurance claims lasted longer than 24 months. The study further revealed that approximately 33.2 percent of open claims last longer than 24 months, only 5.6 percent of closed claims lasted longer than 36 months, and only 16.2 percent of open claims last longer than 36 months. The study concluded that for a three-year benefit period, only 8 out of every 100 claimants exhausted their benefits.

Of course, there are catastrophic situations where individuals may need long-term care for many years. However, according to the study’s findings, the majority of consumers can receive adequate long-term care insurance protection with a shorter-duration policy. This is an important discovery, especially for those who believe unlimited protection is too expensive. The researchers added that some protection is better than none at all, and a shorter-duration policy is clearly more affordable. A consumer can reduce the cost of long-term insurance protection by 35 to 40 percent by purchasing a three-year benefit versus an unlimited benefit.

In an April 2006 article entitled Six Steps To Buying A Long-Term Care Policy, which was published on www.kiplinger.com, the author Kimberly Lankford offers the following advice about choosing a long-term care insurance benefit period:

“Increasing your benefit period from three years to lifetime could double your annual premium, so you should weigh the odds that you’ll need long-lasting care versus the extra price you’ll pay for coverage. The average nursing home stay is less than three years, but those averages include people who are in a nursing home for just a few weeks after a hospital stay and others who are in the nursing home for a decade or more, says Driscoll. (Marilee Driscoll is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Long-Term Care Planning and is quoted throughout Lankford’s article.)

“And these statistics do not include the home health care, assisted-living facility care and informal (unpaid) care received elsewhere,” she says.

Most people opt for a three-year or five-year benefit period, but it may be worthwhile to pay extra for a longer benefit period if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or some other chronic disease.

If you’re trying to save money, Driscoll recommends shortening the benefit period rather than extending the waiting period.”