Planning for long-term care provides people with choices. And those choices lead to freedom.
That philosophy especially rings true in Black and brown households, where family members are more likely to provide care for an aging parent or grandparent. It’s something that Chris Gandy called “the brown tax.”
Gandy, founder of Midwest Legacy Group, gave his insights Tuesday on long-term care and underserved markets as part of NAIFA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Week.
“The brown tax is the fact that most families that are diverse will rely on loved ones to take care of them,” he said. “Other cultures don’t do it as much. How do we get away from that?”
Looking at his own parents and grandparents, Gandy said he learned “you don’t ask for help. That’s a cultural thing. You figure it out.”
“In the Black community, it’s not prominent to ask for help. The pride in an African American culture is not seeking help or assistance, but we do rely on our children for care.”
Gandy said that the consequences of not planning for long-term care are that when a family member does need more care than loved ones can provide, their assets are drained and what wealth they may have left is divided among their heirs, decreasing the amount of generational wealth passed on.
Reframing the conversation around long-term care is key to raising awareness and prompting people to take action, Gandy said.
“We have to talk about choices and freedom,” he said. “Look at history - the fight for freedom has been constant. And when you tell someone, ‘here is a way to create freedom in your future,’ it’s a powerful conversation.”
Too often, consumers believe long-term care insurance is nursing home insurance, and they fear they won’t need it if they don’t enter a care facility. Gandy recommended reframing the long-term care conversation to emphasize that planning gives people choices in how they receive care. “And instead of relying on family, let’s rely on our assets to protect us,” he said.
'Start At Home'
Long-term care insurance isn’t the only vehicle to provide coverage, Gandy said, so discussing asset-based LTC alternatives can also be a way of making consumers aware of their choices.
“You can frame asset-based long-term care in terms of you either use it, you use it or you use it,” he said. “You either use it in retirement, you use it for care if you need it or it will go to your family if you’re no longer here.”
Gandy recommended that advisors who want to help underserved markets to get the protection they need, “start at home, and do business with people who don’t look like you.”
“This is a grassroots effort to change the industry and give people choices that lead to freedom.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.