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Finishing Well: How to pay for what is needed


October 20, 2017

Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

As part of this series of articles on aging we began to look at the financial piece last week. A number of people spend incredible amounts of financial resources at the end of their lives. The cost of assisted living or a nursing home facility is way beyond what most of us can afford.

If you have a lot of extra cash you can pay directly for these services or you could consider purchasing a type of insurance policy that would help pay for some of the costs associated with nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

If you or your spouse qualifies through military service you might be able to obtain some help from the Veterans Administration depending on your resources.

Others who have spent down their finances will have to apply for Medicaid and hope that the facility they or their loved one is in will take the lower Medicaid payment.

I have found that the people that I have worked with in the local VA office, the Medicaid people in Havre and Chinook, and the area assisted living facilities and nursing homes are willing to work with you. You cannot hide assets. Walk in the light. You have to be honest when reporting bank balances and assets that your loved ones possess.

Consider obtaining the services of a financial advisor, an accountant, and a lawyer. It is not fun spending all of your loved one’s money on health care but it is necessary in some cases. If you know someone who has gone through the process then visit with him or her. Preplanning for such unavoidable situations such as death, burial, cremation, and possible funeral or graveside services is appreciated when your loved one passes away.

If there are any assets remaining after a long-term stay in a facility then having a will can be a great comfort and possibly ease family fights. Taxes may still need to be paid and bills still come due after a loved one passes away. If there is property involved you may want to visit with a lawyer as to whether a will or a beneficiary deed is the best way to go for your particular situation. You cannot control what happens to your assets once you die but you can plan in advance as to where you want your assets to go.

Before we die we need to deal with real world issues such as investing, budgeting, living within our means, saving, giving and leaving an inheritance.

God commended the stewards who increased the possessions that they were entrusted with. He called the person who buried his talent a worthless servant. I would recommend that you find an honest, confidential financial advisor to help with your investments. Some of your investments may do really well and some may go bankrupt. Proverbs encourages us to put our wealth in many different investments because we do not know what is going to happen.

A simple rule of budgeting is to live within our means. You can make more money, spend less money, or do both in order to make your budget work. Do not be discouraged if your first few budgeting attempts fail. A budget or spending plan is a work in progress. As we age our budget needs change. You can expect to spend a large amount of money on healthcare if you live a long time.

Paying down debt frees up more income for saving for the future. You will have both short and long-term financial goals as well as a need for emergency savings. Money can be a good insulator from problems. If the washing machine goes out and you have the funds necessary for another machine then you do not have a major problem on your hands. If you have huge debt and no financial reserves then you have a problem.

In my next article on aging we will look at giving and leaving an inheritance.


This is fifth in a series of columns by Kevin Barsotti of Ark Church looking at issues of aging in the light of the teachings of the church.


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