Long Term Care Insurance and its Role in Retirement for Women
Thank you to Russ Thornton for featuring The Long Term Care Planning Group and Corey Rieck on his Wealthcare For Women podcast!
Russ Thornton: Hey everyone. It’s Russ. And welcome to another episode of Women’s Retirement Radio. I’m excited to share a conversation with you today. I’m joined by Corey Rieck of The Long Term Care Planning Group. Corey and I have gotten to know each other over the last few years. We’ve worked together in helping a couple of clients out, which I’m really happy about. And I’m really, like I said, really excited to have Corey join us today and that we can share this conversation with you. So, Corey, thanks for being here.
Corey Rieck: Hey, Russ. Thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with you again.
Russ Thornton: Yeah, we always enjoy speaking with you. Why don’t we get started by you just telling us a little bit about yourself?
Corey Rieck: Well, what we do with The Long Term Care Planning Group is we help individuals, families, executives, and companies, and employees own their future further by understanding and implementing long-term care. There can be a lot of questions about it. Sometimes there’s a lot of fear and confusion and what we want to do is help people understand what it is and perhaps more importantly what it isn’t.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. And thanks for that. And I’m sure as we get deeper into the conversation we’ll cover some of the what it is and what it isn’t topics. But before we get into that, share with us a little something about yourself that maybe most people wouldn’t be aware of. Just let people get to know you a little bit better.
Corey Rieck: Sure. Well, I have completed nine full marathons since the year 2000 and all of the times ranging between four hours and four hours and 30 minutes. That’s not something I really talk about, but that’s something that people may not know about me.
Russ Thornton: That’s interesting. When was your most recent marathon?
Corey Rieck: October of 2018. My wife has run 11 marathons and we did the Wineglass Marathon in the Corning New York area.
Russ Thornton: Nice. Do you have any more marathons on the horizon or you think you’ve done it nine?
Corey Rieck: I’m not sure. Being a large mammal, you take a significant pounding. I do enjoy the training, I enjoy the rigors, I enjoy the getting ready, but it has taken a toll on me because of my size. But it’s a great thing. I mean, anybody can do a marathon if they’re just willing to put in the work. So I don’t have anything in the near future, but maybe in a couple of years I might do another one. So my answer is in a long roundabout where I don’t really know.
Russ Thornton: I’m glad you shared that. That’s a pretty cool and impressive accomplishment. I actually had another guest on a couple of episodes ago and that’s what she shared. She shared that she’d run a marathon in the past and it was really kind of a accomplishment she was proud of. So thanks for sharing that with us, Corey.
Corey Rieck: You’re welcome.
Russ Thornton: So let’s ease into a little bit more about what it is you do and how you actually do it. So what would you say is the biggest challenge that you help people address or solve through your work?
Corey Rieck: I think probably right at the top of that list, Russ, is for my organization, my team and the back office to just create an area of consultative engagement. And said differently, I think what that means is making people comfortable enough where they will talk openly and ask questions. I think that’s really at the top of the list here. Obviously we have to answer everybody’s questions. We have to make sure that they’re better for interacting with us. And they may or may not decide to take action, but what’s paramount is that people get their questions answered because many times long-term care and long-term care planning insurance is confused with health insurance benefits and what they do, or it’s confused with what the government might do or not do, or it’s confused with disability income and what that may do or not do. And somebody that’s informed, it’s comfortable. I think generally makes better well thought out decisions, if that makes sense.
Russ Thornton: It does. And that begs the question in my mind. How do people typically find you or get connected with you? I know I’ve introduced clients to you and I’m sure you get referrals from lots of other professionals. But is there typically a catalyst in someone’s life that says, “I need to address this?” Is it when they reach a certain age or age range? What typically happens that makes someone think, “Man, I should talk to someone about long-term care insurance and Corey is one of the best resources around to do that in the Atlanta area”?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think at the top of this list is people that have a prior experience. That in 20 years of doing this and we have focused solely on this since 2001, if they’ve been through it before, that is a very powerful predictor if they’ll do anything about it going forward. Because they already know what you know and what others know, and that’s it. Nothing pays for this. That any expenses absorbed by home care, adult daycare, assisted living in the nursing home are the responsibility of the client. And that the easiest way to get out ahead of this is to leverage your health and have an insurance instrument that can create stream of income.
Corey Rieck: So prior experiences right at the top of the list. Other factors could be that they’re very diligent with financial planning and many times if they haven’t had a prior experience, this could be the next logical consideration in financial planning if they’ve taken other steps. So those two things are right at the top of this. People always ask, “Well, what age should I buy it in?” One variable that people have to take into account, Russ, and I know you know this, is on the individual side of things, people are fully underwritten by the carriers and so they have to be healthy.
Corey Rieck: And without selling fear, we have to tell people, “Hey, you know the carriers look at your tenure medical history, tenure surgical history, and what medications you may be taking or have taken, and this will impact their interest in covering you.” So sometimes people miss that they have to be fully underwritten on the individual side of this. Now in companies, the underwriting can be abbreviating depending upon the setup, but… So those are some pretty significant factors that determine interest for folks. Have I answered your question adequately?
Russ Thornton: Yeah, you did. Thank you. And you mentioned a couple of things that I want to touch on. The first of which is you mentioned the carriers meaning these are the people that actually issue the policies to cover people or families for long-term care insurance. And I want to highlight the fact that you operate as an independent consultant and broker. You’re not a captive agent. You’re not beholden to any single carrier or provider of long-term care insurance. That’s correct?
Corey Rieck: That is 100% true. Yes. We do business at high levels with any of the carrier firms that traditionally broker their product and the main reason for that… Well, there’s a couple of reasons for. One of them is every carrier is a little bit different or they can be different about what makes them uncomfortable from an underwriting and actuarial perspective. Some carriers, they have more strict height and weight restrictions. Some carriers have strict insulin metrics. And so somebody is very, very healthy, they’re going to have a lot of options, but we find that sometimes that isn’t the case and many times our direction that we provide in terms of solutions is a direct result of how the client presents medically.
Russ Thornton: Well, and I think that’s another great example of how you take consultative personalized approach. It’s not cookie cutter. It’s not just running people through an assembly line and pressing out widgets. It’s very dependent on the person, their current health, their medical history, their circumstances. Their financial situation comes into play because maybe they want to partially self-insure, but partially be covered by long-term care. So I think that really underscores the personal touch that you bring to the process and it can be confusing and overwhelming.
Russ Thornton: Another thing you mentioned too is that you’ve been focused exclusively on long-term care for 20 years now. Could you share a little bit about just your background and what led you to do the work you’re doing today? Because I find it fascinating all the interesting things that you’ve done, as well as your level of expertise specifically around long-term care.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I appreciate that. Like many people I had prior experience with it, and that unfortunately can be a brutal and honest teacher. And so my parents who lived in Southern Minnesota looked at this and… My mom and dad looked at this. And on about 1980, my dad was a very good dentist, very good businessmen in the small town of Minnesota where we grew up. And he dismissed this idea and it was 1980 and not now. So it’s roughly 40 years ago. And they did nothing. So the next year my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and what they found out was that sure your money pays for it, but your health is what actually buys it.
Corey Rieck: So for 17 or 18 years my dad was my mom’s primary helper, caregiver, and continued to build a great practice and continued to make significant contributions in the community and take care of my mom, put three of us through school and do all that comes with being a parent to three people, three kids. And in 1998 he sold his practice. And then for the next eight years he did all the things he threatened to do while putting three kids through school and taking care of mom and all that. And in November of 2006 he calls me at the office and he says, “I have some news.” And I said, “What’s that?” He said, “I’ve got stage four esophageal cancer.”
Russ Thornton: Oh, wow.
Corey Rieck: My dad died on Father’s Day of 2007 and I’m in this business, Russ, and I never thought… I just always assumed wrongfully that my dad would outlive my mom and that’s not what happened. My personal experience while painful on many levels I think can be of service to people because my brother and sister were very supportive of my mom and dad. They lived in the Minneapolis area of roughly 100, 120 miles away from my mom and dad. I live in Atlanta. And so I helped my mom and dad as the executor in doing all the duties that come with that. And my brother and sister oftentimes got called with little to no notice to help.
Corey Rieck: And there’s the geography component here in our personal circumstances because I live in Atlanta. My mom and dad live in Southern Minnesota, my brother and sister live in Minneapolis. So it’s 100, 120 miles away. So if you’re in the same city the geography… If you’re in the same city, it can be very difficult to coordinate care. But if you have this issue of geography and you’re delivering the care yourself, it can add additional complexities. And my brother and sister have families. They work and they’re very good at what they do. And so it just created challenges and our circumstances were further compounded because my mom, because of her condition couldn’t drive.
Corey Rieck: My dad was a big guy, 6’3″ and 250 pounds. Mom couldn’t clear the snow or cut the grass or take my dad to his appointments and stuff. And so it just created a lot of challenges and a lot of this could have been taken off the table had they created a formal plan of long-term care. And I think aside from that, there were hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on mom from the time my dad died on Father’s Day of 2007 until the time my mom passed in May of 2017. And so mom lived almost 10 years to the day after dad died. And so mom couldn’t stay at home.
Corey Rieck: She had to go to assisted living and those expenses were ours. $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 a year. And so the reality of that is that could have been addressed with writing a check for several thousand dollars one or two years and then I think a lot of that hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been the responsibility of a carrier as opposed to coming out of the estate. So it’s a lesson. Sometimes lessons are hard. When my mom was healthy and I was starting this 20 years ago, she said, “Hey, you got to tell people about this.” We didn’t know. And I realized that this was something that was obviously deeply personal, and it really became more about getting the word out and helping people.
Corey Rieck: And in the beginning I think I felt maybe bashful about sharing our experience, but I think my mom helped me with that by saying, “Hey, if you can help somebody, you got to tell them. You got to tell them about what’s happening and what is going to happen and what has happened to us.” And so it’s very personal. And so a lot of times families wonder, “Well, if we don’t do this, what could we be looking at?” And look, there’s no judgment here. This isn’t for everybody. But I think understanding it and having a firm grasp on what it is and maybe more importantly what it isn’t, is really important so people can make the decision that’s best for them. Now, you alluded too earlier that we custom build every plan for the clients.
Corey Rieck: And the first part of this is they have to be educated. They have to understand. They have to understand the numbers and what it covers and what it does and all that. So we spend a fair amount of time with that and we have I’m told a pretty good website with that, very good materials I’m told, and it’s all geared to help people get to wherever it is they got to get to. And there’s great flexibility to build a plan. And sometimes in working with people like you, you’ll give me parameters, “Hey, here’s the premium parameters, or here’s the plan design parameters.” And it makes it simpler when we work with sharp people like you and your organization because you’re able to say, “Hey, this is the kind of solution we’re looking for.”
Corey Rieck: And you’d asked earlier where we get our business. We have a lot of people that don’t want to do this because it is involved and you have to learn about people’s medical history. And we do want to learn everything about client’s medical history as much as we can because that helps drive the direction of the solution. So I know it’s a long answer to a short question, but it’s deeply personal to me. And we have to make sure that we do a comprehensive job for each client and that no stone is left unturned. And every piece of business that comes through my organization, I review, I see it and make sure that it is structured according to what the client wants.
Russ Thornton: Well, first of all, thank you. I’m glad you shared that story. I think it’s much easier for our listeners and others to identify with stories rather than just trying to wrap their brains around what can be a somewhat abstract idea of long-term care and “Will I need this or won’t I? And if I need it and don’t have it, what does that look like?” And so I think sharing your personal family experience is helpful. And I think clearly that’s informed your passion and desire to tell people about this and help educate them. Speaking of which, we’ll make sure to include a link to your website in the show notes so people can look up some of the great educational resources you have available for them there.
Russ Thornton: And along the idea of of education, I think most people listening to this probably have some sense of what long-term care insurance is. But as you opened our conversation with people probably have misconceptions or think it’s one thing or think that it’s not another. So could you take just a minute or two and just at a high level talk about what long-term care insurance is, what it’s not, and what are situations? Other than the personal story you shared, other situations where a long-term care might make a big difference in someone’s life.
Corey Rieck: Sure. Let me take a run at that. Long-term care insurance is the kind of help you may need as a result of prolonged illness or disability. It could be that people are dealing with the aftereffects of having to live a long life. The way that a client might collect benefits is if they cannot perform two out of the six ADLs, which is activities of daily living, that’s eating bathing, dressing, toileting and transferring continence. If their medical professional thinks that they can’t do two out of those six and writes what’s called a 90-day certification letter, then the claim begins.
Corey Rieck: So the other way that a client may collect benefits is as a result of cognitive impairment and that’s orientations to person, place or time, deductive or abstract reasoning, judgment as it relates to safety awareness or memory matters. And many times the determination can be made by looking at the client medical records or giving the client a standardized test. So it’s either or. And sometimes there’s discussion about, “Well, I know it’s very, very subjective, the claims process.” It is, but it is subjective with somebody on the client’s side, that if they have complete command of the client medical history and the medical professional thinks it’s a claim, it’s over.
Corey Rieck: And in 20 years of doing this, every claim that’s been legitimate no matter what the carrier has always been paid that I’ve been involved in. And so ultimately if a client’s health professional thinks that they meet the claim requirements, generally the claim is paid. And so that’s how that gets moving.
Russ Thornton: And could you also maybe highlight just briefly what long-term care insurance is not as it relates to what Medicare covers, what Social Security Disability covers, that sort of thing? Because I think a lot of people mistakenly think that, “Oh, once I’m Medicare eligible, then I’m taken care of if I have a long-term care illness or need.”
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Medicare is health insurance. It’s care for the elderly. And health insurance helps us get better using skilled care and skilled care is delivered by somebody with a lot of training. It might be a physical therapist, might be a medical doctor, registered nurse. And they deliver things like tube feeding IVs, and things of that nature. It’s all used when there’s an expectation of recovery or an expectation of improvement. long-term care is used when there’s no expectation of improvement, when we’re just trying to make the client comfortable. And so think of it as bookends.
Corey Rieck: Health insurance is going to help using skilled care delivered by somebody with a lot of training. Long-term care is delivered. It’s non-skilled care. It’s called custodial care. It’s delivered when the client is not going to get better and they’re just trying to make them comfortable. So think of them as bookends. Sometimes long-term care gets confused with disability income. Disability income, you have to be underwritten, you have to provide evidence of what income you’re protecting and then the plan is structured that way. Long-term care, it’s very clear about how a client collects benefits. The two out of the six activities of daily living under the physical impairment provision or cognitive impairment, which is as we mentioned earlier, orientations to person, place or time, deductive or abstract reasoning, judgment as it relates to safety awareness or memory matters.
Corey Rieck: And so those are some important learnings and here’s the real learning, people in my experience until they get educated, they think that this is not their problem financially, and nothing could be further from the truth. Medicare is health insurance. We already understand what health insurance does. It helps you get better. Your private health insurance or Medicare it’s geared to help you get better. It’s geared to be used when there’s expectation of improvement. Long-term care is used when somebody has MS like my mother did, or Parkinson’s disease, or they meet two out of the six activities of daily living requirement, the cognitive impairment. So nothing pays for it.
Corey Rieck: And the government as it stands now, doesn’t step in until the clients meet certain minimum income and asset levels as set forth by the state’s Medicaid system. And so what clients find is that they end up paying for their care anyway. They just have to spend down a certain minimum income and asset levels. And so the easiest way to get out ahead of this is to leverage a client’s health and to take a measure of risk off the table by buying an insurance product. That makes sense?
Russ Thornton: It does. And I’m reminded of something I think that I saw you share online recently. Am I remembering correctly that… I want to say a state out west is actually now mandating long-term care coverage for either its citizens or a subset of its citizens. Am I making that up or did I see something along those lines?
Corey Rieck: Yeah. The State of Washington had said you need to provide… Essentially the Cliff Notes version is they’ve said, “Hey, for every $100,000 of income you have to show evidence of long-term care insurance. If you don’t, we’re going to tax you I think it’s $580 per $100,000 that you make.” And it’s created a lot of interest and a lot of urgency in the State of Washington. And I think they have coverage available, but ultimately if… I’m not sure what the education is on the product that’s available there, but that’s paramount. No matter what the circumstances are, no matter what state issues or state anomalies there may be, it’s just really important for people to understand what the issues are.
Corey Rieck: And so the State of Washington just they’ve got this payroll tax that they’re putting out there. And for every $100,000 that somebody makes, if they don’t have long-term care they’re going to be taxed at $580 per $100,000. That’s what I’ve been advised and that’s my understanding. We’re helping a fair amount of people in the state there deal with this. But no matter what the circumstances are, education is paramount. They have to understand what the costs of care could be in their area for daily the cost of home care, the daily cost of adult daycare, the monthly cost of assisted living, or the daily cost of the nursing home. And so they have to be clear on what those numbers are and what their opportunities could be to get out ahead of it.
Russ Thornton: Maybe I’m off base here, I assume that additional tax is maybe to help shore up the state’s Medicaid fund. Because I assume if you don’t have coverage and you spend in your assets and you go to Medicaid which in general terms is the care of last resort, I’m assuming that’s to maybe help shore up Medicaid funds, or could it be something else?
Corey Rieck: Not sure where the money… I’m not exactly sure. That would be my assumption, but that said, I don’t actually know what the State of Washington is going to do, but that would be my assumption.
Russ Thornton: Do you think we’ll see more examples of that across the country in other states or other jurisdictions or-
Corey Rieck: Well, I think it has created the urgency. I don’t know what other states are planning or what they could do. They could do it that way. They could provide potentially tax credits. There’s a lot of ways that they could help everybody with this. And I’m sure that it may be a jumping off point for other states. I’m sure other states are monitoring how people are responding. It has created a sense of urgency there, I can say that.
Russ Thornton: Yeah, I can only imagine. Well, we’ll fad it. I didn’t mean to get off at the tangent, but I thought that was interesting recent news and it certainly ties into our conversation today. Corey, what’s a favorite client success story? I mean, you’ve been doing this for 20 years plus but when you think back over your years and the families and clients you’ve worked with and help, what’s a success story that sticks out in your mind?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think getting it right, it’s not an easy business. I think over the years it does get easier because you have contacts. Because of the job you’ve done, I think you make more relationships and people see the value. But I think helping somebody get to wherever it is they got to go. There’s a number of people over the last couple of years that have had a lot of health history that we’ve gotten an issue. And I think if we have developed one core competency it’s helping people that have been told that they think they can’t get it. And I think part of that is we have a deliberate algorithm that we use to assess clients insurability. Because we work with all the carriers we know who will take certain cases and who won’t.
Corey Rieck: I can think of one case where… Well, I can think of several, but there’s one case where a client got declined twice. And I went and interacted with the underwriter and her doctor, and it turns out that there was some inaccuracies in the lady’s medical records. And I think the fact that I sold pharmaceuticals and implantable medical devices in the ’90s and the fact that my dad was a dentist, I have an idea of how doctor’s offices operate. And because I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I know what makes underwriters comfortable or uncomfortable. We were able to help her. She asked me when we finished this, she said, “How many people do you think would have quit after I got declined the first time?”
Corey Rieck: And I said, “I don’t know.” And she said, “Well, how many people would have known to negotiate with the underwriter and to clarify the medical history and to tend to get a letter and hand deliver it to the doctor’s office for them to sign on their letterhead and all that?” And I said, “I don’t know that either. I know what I do. I know what I believe my obligation is to folks.” And she said, “Well, how many people do you think would have gone after this when I got declined the second time?” And I said, “I don’t know. What I do know is what we do and we take our role very seriously.” There was a large measure of gratification and getting it right. There was another lady and her husband that came onto my website in June of 2018.
Corey Rieck: And we just got the case done at the beginning of this year. And lot of health changes, lot of health history, busy family. And they really were very, very thankful that we spent as much time as we did with them. I think for her, she was extremely… The wife was extremely healthy. The husband has some challenges. And so we ended up applying there with three carriers for both of them because I wasn’t sure who would take them. Well, the three carriers took her. There was no problem. She was very, very clean medical history. And two of the three declined him. And there was one carrier that accepted him. And so we ended up placing the business with them and she said to me, “Well, how many people do you think would have known to apply with three carriers simultaneously on the front end?
Corey Rieck: And I said, “I don’t know.” It’s a lot more work for us, but it does yield very, very good outcomes. And we’ve got a detailed 10-page document that the client fills out so they know what they’ve told us if they engage our services. Because after talking to them and educating them many times they’ll say, “Well, what’s the next step?” Well, the next step is we got to know everything about your medical history so we know how best to help you. We know if carriers will take you. So we know who the takers are. And then we have someone in our organization that verifies the medical history with the client. Works with the client, summarizes along with the client their health history and sends it out to the market and the market… The carriers will weigh in and say, “Hey, we have interest in this or we have questions about this or that.”
Corey Rieck: And so there’s a person in our organization that does all that. And it lends itself to better outcomes. And so the other part of this is if one of the questions in the carrier application is, “Hey, have you been declined before?” And it’s much easier to apply simultaneously with three carriers at once than it is to go to carrier A and okay, hey, we get declined here and then go to carrier B and you get declined there. And then you’d go to carrier C and then you get declined there and you having to explain that. So it does yield very, very good outcomes.
Corey Rieck: And we seem to have developed a subspecialty with hard to place cases. And we have had a lot of success with that. It’s rare when we miss something. Usually it’s in the client’s medical history, which when we work with clients, our client intake form really contains most of the questions that the carriers want to know the answers to. So it becomes a very good roadmap to fill out the applications for folks. And so it’s geared to doing it right. It’s geared for making sure that we put the clients with the best carrier underwriting wise. I mean, if a client is healthy, they have a lot of options and then it could be a question of how they want to pay or how they want to fund and so on. But recently we had a case where we dual apply to two carriers.
Corey Rieck: One older couple has some health history. One carrier said no right away and just yesterday we got the approval from one of our trusted carrier partners that does a great job with clients with history. So I wonder how many people would dual apply for people that have a lot of medical history. I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that it’s important that if somebody is going to take the time and go through the process, we have to put them in the best position to be successful and to be underwritten. Kind of a long answer to a short question, I’m sure.
Russ Thornton: No, a great answer and more importantly a great explanation. I mean, I think it’s just a testament to the hand-holding that you do and the work and investment that you and Amber make upfront when you’re working with a person or a couple to get them the best outcome. And while I know you said you don’t know what others might’ve done, I suspect the answer is slim to none, but again, I’m just speculating. So those are all great examples and I appreciate you sharing them all with us. You’ve been doing this for a long time. You know long-term care inside and out which is just another reason why you’re such a great resource for those that want to evaluate or consider long-term care insurance for their personal situation. But what surprised you most about your work in the area of long-term care in working with individuals and families to evaluate this need?
Corey Rieck: I think there’s a number of things there that come to mind. One, I think that because it is more out front and more and more people are talking about it, it always surprises when people say they haven’t heard anything about it. I mean, with 1980, they didn’t have social media and they didn’t have the experience and the coverage that is going on now, but it always surprises me when people don’t know anything about it. And it’s probably good for them that they haven’t been through it. And so that’s good, but as we said earlier, prior experience helps people understand it. I’m always surprised when people have not heard anything about it or their financial team has not discussed it with them or they’ve told them that they can self fund.
Corey Rieck: And I think that leads into a discussion of, “Well, how much is enough?” Many people want to know, “Well, how much in terms of assets do I need to have so I don’t need to think about buying this?” And I think it’s a backwards way to look at it. Let’s just say you have a client, Russ, that has $2 million and you’re probably going to allow them to take out what? 4% per year roughly. Would that be right?
Russ Thornton: Yeah. That’s a good rule of thumb or at least a starting point. Yeah.
Corey Rieck: So let’s just say 4% of $2 million is $80,000. When you look at the Genworth cost of care site which is free… For those folks listening if you want to Google Genworth cost of long-term care, there’s an instrument that will measure the costs of care for eight to 10 cities in every state in the United States. There’s an hourly cost of home care number. Usually it’s about $25 an hour in Atlanta. There’s adult daycare which is $120 to $150 a day. And there’s the rental component for assisted living which is around $4,000 to $5,000 a month roughly. And then there’s the daily cost of the nursing home which is $200 to $250. So on average is $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year. And if a client thinks they can self fund with a $2 million nest egg and the worst happens, a nursing home room is $72,000 a year and that goes up 2% to 3% a year.
Corey Rieck: So 4% of $2 million that’s $80,000. That’s before taxes, that’s before expenses. And so the money may not go as far as people may I think. And the other thing that helps people is, “Hey, what measure of risks do you want to take on?” This Genworth tool is very powerful, it’s free. Everybody can go to it, it doesn’t cost anything, but it shows you the cost of care in your area, eight to 10 cities in every state in the United States. So you can have a deep discussion about, “Oh, okay. So if it’s $200 a day as the worst case scenario roughly in Atlanta and right now without any insurance I’m taking on $72,000 a year, well, on an $80,000 a year income, that may not work very well.”
Corey Rieck: And so for several thousand dollars a year, they could take a big measure of that off the table. And sometimes that gets lost. And probably in my experience because long-term care is an awkward, uncomfortable thing to talk about, so people sometimes have difficulty bringing it up and speaking about it. And the best thing that we can do is help people understand and provide an air of comfort and consultative engagement so they can figure out what to do.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. And you mentioned the Genworth cost of care tool. I’ll be sure to include a link to that in the show notes for this episode. It is a great resource for anyone that wants to look up their local or geography-based cost of care in different areas around the country. And I think through our conversation thus far, Corey, I think we’ve made a pretty strong case for the need for long-term care insurance or at least the need to evaluate it, consider it, see if it makes sense in a person’s situation.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Russ Thornton: In your experience, what prevents people from actually following through or following your advice when it comes to long-term care? Is it a financial decision? Is it they just don’t want to face their own mortality or the potential need or is it something else?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think it can be those things. I think a lot of people will say if the average premium is $3,000 or $4,000 a year… Ultimately if a client is healthy, they can determine whatever premium they would be willing to pay. A lot of people will say, “Well, Gee, I have a problem paying in $3,000 or $4,000 a year and never having anything to show for this and never needing the coverage.” And I always say to them, “Hey, that’s a high class problem.” I mean, nobody pays into long-term care wanting to use it, at least nobody that I’ve ever met. However, there are different ways to leverage client money. And sometimes clients don’t realize that you can set the plan up to return a portion of premium to your estate.
Corey Rieck: If you want to pay a little bit more for that rider, you can have just the straight insurance and just take a measure of risk off the table provided you are healthy enough, or you can have a combination product, life and long-term care, annuity and long-term care, which says, Hey, “If you need the services, there’s a measure of money that’s available here. And if you die healthy, there’s a measure that gets returned to your estate.” So sometimes it’s just a question of education and once clients understand that we work with the entire market that will bring them the options to them based on their health and then they can fund it in a number of ways. Another thing that’s missed is… And you notice, clients can write one check and be done. They can pay over five years and be done.
Corey Rieck: They can pay over 10 years or 20 years, or they can do what is called a life pay alternative, which they pay the premium until they go on claim or they pay until they need it. And so there’s just a lot of options. And if the client has their health, they ultimately can determine what budget they’re going to use toward this. Or people like yourselves can say, “Hey, Corey, I need you to solve for this number, this daily benefit, this benefit period and so on.” So I think helping people understand that there’s a range… I mean, people can buy between $50 and $500 a day of coverage. Now in Atlanta pretty strong starting point is $200 a day. We request it, financial advisors and people look at the Genworth cost of care. They can see it for themselves. And they can see what the cost of home care is on average, on an annual basis. So adult daycare, assisted living, or the nursing home.
Corey Rieck: And the benefit period is if a client needs the care, how many years does the carrier pay? Two years, three years, four years, all the way up to unlimited. There’s an inflation component that’s very important. Carriers generally sell 1% compound inflation, 2% compound inflation, 3% compound inflation, 4% compound inflation or 5% compound inflation. And there’s a range there. And then of course the final main planning metric is what we call the elimination period. And that’s another way of saying deductible. And it’s how many days does the carrier pay before the client has to pay? I mean, how many days does the client have to pay before the carrier pays? Is it zero days, 30, 60, 90 and so on? So there’s a range in all of those four planning metrics can be custom built for each client.
Corey Rieck: And many times we do that after underwriting is complete assuming we’ve got a satisfactory outcome. So there’s a tremendous amount of flexibility in plan design, but there’s also flexibility in how the client pays because a client of means may want to pay for five years for their plan or 10 years and be done. Because at some point probably a lot of folks will be on a fixed income. So we spend a lot of time helping people understand it. It’s not for everybody. We want people to just understand what it is. Then if we help them, we feel a deep obligation to scour the market and find out what the options are underwriting wise.
Corey Rieck: And then the plan design is really straightforward and it can be verified after underwriting is complete. And of course funding, because people may not want to pay with one premium payment, but they want to be aware of it. So those are all things that are the steps that we try to take to try to get it right, to put people in the most conservative position. Does that answer your question?
Russ Thornton: It does. And what I take away from that explanation is that insurance in general and long-term care specifically is super complex. I think there’s a lot of value in having an experienced guide to help you navigate the choices, and the considerations, and the decision points that need to be made along the way to help you find the best solution for your situation. And I think the other point I would make that goes hand in hand with that is… I want to reiterate the fact that this is all that Corey does. He’s long-term care insurance all day, every day.
Russ Thornton: And if you’ve got a insurance agent or provider that you’ve worked with in the past, and you’re talking to them about long-term care insurance, just be careful that you’re getting the full scoop and you’re getting a guided experience that’s going to help educate you about your choices and the decisions and the pros and cons of each. I’m not disparaging anyone else out there in the insurance field, but as Corey has already illustrated, there’s a lot of depth and complexity to the world of long-term care insurance. So I think it certainly makes the case for dealing with someone that lives and breathes this stuff day in and day out.
Corey Rieck: We appreciate that. Thank you.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. So, Corey, something I’m always interested to ask folks when I have these conversations is… I deal with a lot of women, their families and their families are important to them, especially their children. So let’s say a listener has a son or daughter in college and they listen to this and they think, “Wow, that sounds really interesting. I have an interest in helping people. I have an interest, maybe a passing interest in health care, in the medical field,” which I think certainly your work all touches on. If a college student were to approach you, Corey, and was interested in learning more or possibly pursuing a career in insurance in general and long-term care specifically, what advice or guidance would you give to them?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think the first thing that they should probably do is speak to people that have been doing it a while and learn the good, bad and indifferent about their experiences. I think one of the most important things I did when I graduated from Iowa in 1987 was I went to work for someone else and I didn’t have any real work experience. I mean, I worked in a factory and I worked you know at a lumber yard helping people deliver construction materials and stuff. But I think the biggest thing that I did was I went out and just got some experience working for someone else, understanding their tools, their evaluations, their techniques, how they did things, expenses. I had two pharmaceutical jobs after two manufacturing-related positions.
Corey Rieck: And then I sold implantable medical devices, dental implants from 1996 to 2000. And I think having that 12 or 13 years of experience really helped me understand activity is certainly an important precipitator or determining factor in results and so on. But working for someone else, if nothing else, you find out what you like, you find out what you don’t like. I had always had this idea that I would build something on my own. I just never knew what it would be, but I thought, “Hey, if I had operational and manufacturing experience, that might be useful. If I had sales experience that might be useful.” And managerial experience and all of that has helped. But I think when I was discussing this with my mom 20 years ago, this is something that is really personal to me, right, wrong or indifferent.
Corey Rieck: And I think if I’m able to help somebody with my experience even if they don’t do the business with me, or even if they don’t do anything, I think I would have helped them on some level. But probably somebody thinking about this should talk to somebody else, multiple people, “Hey, what are the bad things about what you do? What are the good things?” Tell me what your typical day is like. Tell me what you’ve learned. Tell me what you’re prepared for. What surprises you? What gets you out of bed in the morning?” Those kinds of things, and then get some experience. The financial services industry it’s harder than I think what people maybe think. And when I started 20 years ago they said I think the survival rate beyond five years it’s 15%, maybe it’s a different number now.
Corey Rieck: But you have to really want to survive in this, to survive. And that’s really anything that I think that somebody… That you start on your own. So I would tell somebody that was looking at this, get different perspectives, maybe talk to somebody that sells pharmaceuticals in a company. Now that’s health-related. Talk to somebody that sells individual insurance-related plans or talk to somebody that sells group-related plans and maybe do an internship or two. So those are some thoughts that I would have on somebody if they had interest in exploring this further.
Russ Thornton: Again I think you’ve said it. I think that’s great advice for anyone regardless of what they want to pursue. But I appreciate you sharing that. Corey, I think you and I could probably easily talk for another hour or two, but I do have a couple more questions. Are you okay on time?
Corey Rieck: Yes, sir.
Russ Thornton: So this is called the Women’s Retirement Radio podcast. Everything that I do ties back to retirement planning for women, their families, for the people and organizations that are important in their lives. When you think about the word retirement, what comes to mind for you personally?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think I’ve talked to a lot of people about retirement and how some of my friends and clients that are retired and I always ask them, “Is it a big adjustment? What was your game plan? What do you do every day?” And I find some people are enjoying just not having to do anything on a daily basis. Others have said, “Hey, I think it’s important for a person to have a place to go when they get up in the morning.” And the overriding factor is my wife and I have raised money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society with the marathons and the races that we’ve done with them over the years. That speaks to me. Veterans, I’ve had a fair amount of experience raising money for those folks, that speaks to me.
Corey Rieck: I think I would need personally something like that that speaks to me to go to a couple of mornings a week. And of course our business that you and I are in, I mean, you can set it up in such a way that you could work two or three days a week and do other things the other couple of days. And so for me, I think it’s about choices. I turned 57 last Thursday. I still really love what I do and I like the process. I enjoy helping people and helping them get good outcomes. And retirement for me might mean slowing down a little bit. Maybe working three days a week and not five. I haven’t really defined it and for others it might be about the money and the assets and all that stuff.
Corey Rieck: And for me, it’s not about that. It’s, “Okay. Well, what really should I do with my time?” And I think kind of where I’m landing is I’m going to need probably to do something raising money for organizations that speak to me like the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, like veterans. A couple of years ago when the Superbowl was in Atlanta, I was on committee that raised almost a million dollars for St. Jude, that’s a tremendous organization, something for kids. So I think I would have to have something to do a couple of days. I think helping an organization get money and for causes that I think are good. So again, a long answer to a short question, but that’s where I’m at right now with it.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. Well, first of all, happy belated birthday. But I think that’s a great perspective and one that I largely share. I mean, what I heard you say, at least today it doesn’t sound like there’s a point in time where you imagine just shutting down The Long Term Planning Group and doing nothing or shifting completely from that to some of your charitable interests or things like that. It sounds like it’s maybe a transition. And I often frame it as the fact that people are often unprepared to transition from full-time work to full-time living. And I like how you said that they need to have something to move to.
Russ Thornton: And I think the earlier people explore and identify those things, the better. Because I think people that just want to escape a job that maybe is just sucking the life out of them and they just want to get across that finish line, but don’t really have anything on the other side of it, that can actually lead to mental decline, physical decline. There’s a lot of research around this. So I think that’s a great answer. So I appreciate you sharing that.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think that there is a… I think that having different things to do… For me, being a tourist, I’m a creature of habit. I like early morning exercise. I like large amounts of black coffee in the morning. I like getting to the office early. I like being able to adapt and be flexible, but I think having different things to do… If I knew that I had to go raise money two days a week and I was going to work three days a week because our businesses are businesses where if you have clients and they’re paying clients, the money is there forever. And so that has its advantages. And I’m sure I could probably sell the company, but right now I don’t have any… No plans to do that because I enjoy what I’m doing too much. That’s the real reason why I’m continuing to do it.
Russ Thornton: Sadly I think that’s increasingly rare that people actually love their work and find fulfillment and joy from it. So kudos to you for doing something that you have passion around and clearly you’ve got some personal history around as well, but I think that’s fantastic. Again, along the theme of retirement and specifically retirement for women, what do you think is one of the biggest challenges women face when they’re planning for retirement? And part B to that question is how does your work with The Long Term Care Planning Group and around long-term care insurance… How does that impact women and their families as they’re preparing for that transition into retirement?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think most women are more open to this than men. That’s been my experience. And I have found a great deal of success working with women just because they realize… I just think they’re more realistic. I mean, a lot of men for whatever reason, they don’t want to deal with it. “Don’t you see the S on the chest? Don’t you know I have the red cape?” A lot of men have difficulty dealing with physical demise, mental demise, things of that nature. And I think women are just… They’re just more open to it. And I think they realize, “Okay, if I’m married or in a committed relationship, and my significant other spouse has an issue, I’m not only need to become a caregiver, I may need to make more money.”
Corey Rieck: And so it’s a two-fold issue. And we found a lot of success working with women because I think they’re just more open to it. And I think in my experience they’re better caregivers than men. And they are open to hearing about ideas that might make it easier for them. So we enjoy the work that we do with women because we found that in most cases they’re much more open to this, Russ.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. And I can speak to that personally based on the couple of recent cases where you and I have worked together on behalf of a couple of my clients and have had good outcomes. And the women in particular seem very engaged throughout the process. At least that’s my take, you might feel a little bit differently, but yeah ...
Corey Rieck: Oh, no. Your clients are extremely engaged and that’s one of the reasons we really enjoy working with you. Your clients know why they’re coming to us, they do what you tell them, they’re highly engaged and it’s just a real pleasure to help them. So that’s been our experience with you.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. Well, listen, as we start to wrap up the conversation today, I want to thank you again, Corey, this has been great. And again, I feel we could easily talk for another hour or two if we had the time.
Corey Rieck: Sure.
Russ Thornton: But before we wrap up, why don’t you share with our listeners… I know you’re a busy guy running a business with your family, things like that, but when you’ve got an hour or two to yourself, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
Corey Rieck: I enjoy hard exercise. I enjoy swimming, not so much running anymore because of what I said earlier. I have a NordicTrack that I use and I’m able to catch up on some of my shows that I watch. I think exercise helps me process things that I could have done differently that day or things that… A lot of times it generates ideas. So my wife likes to also exercise, so that makes it easier to go do that. And we exercise two or three mornings a week at the Y where… Close to where we live and then we’ll run our neighborhood and things of that nature. And my wife is an excellent cook. We like to cook.
Corey Rieck: I like to use the Big Green Egg. So we like to entertain a fair amount as well. So those are all things I don’t… A hodgepodge of answers, but I think what helps me unwind is exercise. And I like ESPN. I like The Sopranos and The Soprano shows are about 45 minutes. So that’s a good workout on the NordicTrack. And I can watch another episode and feel good about exercising and watching what I think is a great TV show at the same time. And then at the end, I can process what happened that day, or things that I should have done differently and so on. And then I can let go. I think the most important thing… One of the most important things that you and I can have is a short memory. And that’s a short memory as to things that happened that were not good or unfortunate or even great because every day is a new day and it’s a clean slate. So exercising helps me unwind, helps me process things, and I think makes me better for the folks that I interact with, hopefully.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. Just curious, what’s your favorite thing to cook on your Green Egg?
Corey Rieck: Well, I think it is really an unbelievable instrument.
Russ Thornton: I don’t own one. I know people that love it and they can’t stop talking about it. So I’m just curious what’s your-
Corey Rieck: I think it’s the process. I think my wife really likes the pizzas we make. We make a thin crust pizza that you cook it about 600 degrees for five to six minutes, and then we have people over and they put their own toppings on it. I think the process of getting the grill going, the process of catching up on our days… The Big Green Egg store, they have cooking classes. And we’ve learned a lot over the years taking classes from them about how to cook hamburgers and steaks and how to smoke ribs and pork shoulders and things of that nature. I think steak is right at the top of my list. And we just enjoy the whole process. It’s right out in the backyard and it does take a while for the grill to get going, but it gives my wife and I, and/or our guests a chance to catch up and talk about any sort of goings on.
Corey Rieck: But I think steak would probably be at the top of my list. I mean, my wife loves fish and the pizza. Those things probably would be at the top of her list. I found that if I can tell time and I pay attention that the results are always pretty good with whatever you cook on the Big Green Egg. If you don’t pay attention to the temperature and the time, you get outcomes that aren’t good, like dry food or food that’s burnt. It’s been fun to learn about it. I mean, I don’t know as much as a lot of my friends do, but I’m enjoying learning it at my pace and seeing the guests that we have over and how they look at the food and how they comment on the food once it’s done right. It’s like getting a good outcome with somebody that has a lot of health problems with long-term care, getting them covered. It has the same effect for me.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. Well, I think anytime you’ve got a good excuse to grill a steak is time well spent.
Corey Rieck: I’ll second that.
Russ Thornton: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, thanks for sharing. So Corey, we’ve covered a lot, we’ve talked about the ins and outs of long-term care insurance. We’ve talked about underwriting health history and a ton of other related topics. But if there were one thing that our listeners could take away from our conversation today, what would you want that one thing to be?
Corey Rieck: I would say just whoever your person is, your financial planner, your advisor, talk to them about long-term care, start the education process. The timing may not be right. It may not be right for you, but the timing for education is always right and just talk to someone. That would be my input.
Russ Thornton: And with that idea in mind, I’m sure people are going to listen to this and are going to want to learn more themselves, or maybe pick up the phone and reach out to you, or certainly go to your website. And we’ll include a lot of this information in the show notes, but what’s the best way for people to learn more, to get in touch, to reach out if they want to have a conversation with you, Corey?
Corey Rieck: Well, they can call me directly. It’s (678) 814-5088. They can go to the website at www.thelongtermcareplanninggroup.com, or they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but any of those. It’s probably easiest to call or email me and then we can take the next steps and see about getting their questions answered and helping them learn more about this.
Russ Thornton: Yeah. And I cannot encourage anyone listening enough to start your own educational journey around long-term care. Certainly reach out to myself or reach out directly to Corey if you’ve got questions or want to dive into that topic further. And as I said, we’ll share all of Corey’s contact information and links and phone number and that sort of thing in the show notes for this episode. So Corey, thanks so much for joining us. Today I’ve enjoyed our conversation as I always do. I appreciate you sharing your expertise and experience around long-term care with our listeners.
Corey Rieck: Russ, thanks so much for having us on your show and you do a great job, and it’s a pleasure to work with you. And to anybody out there that has questions about their planning or the finances or managing money, Russ is a great guy to talk to.
Russ Thornton: Well, thanks, Corey. I appreciate that. And for everyone listening, thanks for joining us. Again, this is Russell Thornton with Women’s Retirement Radio, and we look forward to catching up with you on our next episode.