Has the back of the bull market been broken? Is this just another year in which one should sell in May and go away?

Has the back of the bull market been broken? Is this just another year in which one should sell in May and go away? I must admit that at the moment, Mr. Market’s actions give me a pessimistic viewpoint, not to mention heartburn. Friday’s turnaround gave some hope in the morning, failed to finish with any strong conviction and Monday was definitely not qualifying as any follow-through day for a bullish rally.

In the meantime, please give your attention to the subject of long-term care insurance, the other disability insurance. For anyone depending upon earned income, disability income insurance provides the most important protection of all right up through your early 60s. As we approach retirement or at least retirement age, however, long-term care insurance protection becomes even more critical.

Like its counterpart that replaces earned income during our working career, long-term care insurance also protects us from the highest risk of financial loss we face. Similarly it has few if any good substitutes other than a status of having far more money available than we could ever need for our lifetime. I don’t know many people with the latter condition.

Most people mistakenly think that either Medicare or their Medicare supplement insurance will supply most of their need. Neither comes anywhere close, although Medicare itself provides a benefit for up to 100 days following a hospitalization of at least three days. (This is why many plans offer a 90- or 100-day elimination or waiting period rather like a deductible that we should be able to afford in combination with our Medicare coverage in many cases.)

Not only are most of us likely to use long-term care insurance in a nursing home, assisted living or by service at home during our lifetimes, but if we need it for longer than a year our period of need on average rises dramatically. One of my uncles required care in a nursing home for more than 10 years. As a retired farmer with a strong physical constitution, my aunt, tiny in comparison, was not able to deal with his Alzheimer’s condition after he became dangerous to her.

The average cost of residential skilled care in our area is at least $4,500 per month. This already sounds like a terrible cost, but as we baby boomers have done all of our lives, we will flood the systems with our sheer numbers and you can imagine what the increased demand for long-term care insurance services will do to correspondingly raise the demand for workers and therefore, the cost, whether in our homes or in a residential center.

Many sales professionals offer this insurance coverage, and some will emphasize the cost factors I have just mentioned and recommend that you buy $200 or more benefit per day with as much cost of living rider and other features as exist. I recommend that you take a holistic approach and cover at least the percentage of cost that you will likely need in conjunction with your pension, if any, your Social Security and a reasonable amount of income from your invested assets. In many cases that will be closer to $100 to $125 per day of benefit.

Do not ignore your risk or fail to investigate the solutions just because you currently do not ever want to grace the front door of a residential facility or you plan to have a good, clean, fatal heart attack. Make an informed decision and prepare for the best, not the worst. You may be in competition with me some day for the best caregivers or facility, and my insurance will help me buy their services.