Article: Families Often Challenged When They Realize Actual 'Net Worth'

Source: Yahoo Finance


As part of the retirement planning process, people commonly go through the exercise of tallying their assets to determine their "Net Worth." The only problem is that what is commonly referred to as "Net Worth" is actually "Gross Worth."

Charles Puchta, author of The Caregiver Resource Guide: Things You Need to Know Before You Know You Need Them and a certified senior advisor, often comes across families who feel blindsided when they learn that the actual value of their assets is a lot less than expected.

"People constantly fail to factor in costs associated with liquidating their assets. For example, an IRA is a tax deferred investment, thus, to tap into one's IRA, tax must be paid, drastically reducing the actual value," says Puchta.

People also commonly fail to distinguish between insurance value and market value. Whether a sterling silver tea set, a mink coat, car or even a home, the proceeds from the sale of an asset is often much less than expected.

"'How much do your services cost?' is a common question we hear from families when they conclude a loved one requires care as a result of aging or illness," says John Buckles, president of Home Helpers, an industry leader offering non-medical care services, similar to what is often supplied by family members.

Puchta and Buckles offer a few recommendations to help families prepare for aging and long-term care.

* CONSIDER FAMILY HEALTH HISTORY -- Might your family genealogy and
health history suggest a predisposition to a certain medical condition
or life expectancy?

temporary or permanent, take time to understand the various
arrangements that are available, paying special attention to cost,
personalization of care, and type of care (medical or non-medical /

* DEVELOP A BEST GUESS EXPENSE BUDGET -- Based on family health history,
preferred care arrangement, and one's expected lifestyle, project your
expense budget.

The next step is matching up your expense budget to your expected or actual savings to determine at what point in time outliving your assets might become an issue.