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Phil Wickenden: Long-term care needs commitment from us all

Phil WickendenLate last year, in his Commission on Funding of Care and Support, Andrew Dilnot called for action to deal with the “broken” care market, saying a mixture of social insurance and new forms of private sector financial services would help make sure people were better protected.

But while a cap on care costs may help to make private care policies viable for providers and stimulate innovation, advisers can – by their own admission – also do more.

Sixty-seven per cent of advisers we spoke to as part of our Retirement Income research believe there will likely be increased demand for advice on long-term care in the next 12 months. What is more, 64 per cent plan to become more active in the area.

But further exploration reveals that, despite the best intentions, most advisers lack specific plans. It sits waiting on their to-do list.

A recent LinkedIn survey found that over 60 per cent of professionals create to-do lists, though curiously, just 11 per cent said they actually got through everything on them.

Research from IDoneThis, found that, when they had a “to-do” feature, 41 per cent were never completed.

In other words, our to-do lists do not reflect what we actually intend to do. They reflect the things we think we should do, or that someone else has told us we are supposed to do. They contain items that we would tackle in a different universe or if we were different people.

That is all very nice but there is no virtue in setting an assignment for yourself that you intend to ignore.

Putting an item on your to-do list and then not doing it is the same as not putting it on the list in the first place. In a way, it is worse, because it creates the illusion of progress, while simultaneously reminding you daily of how you are falling short.

The real challenge is that pre-funding long-term care is just not seen as important enough for those who have wealth; and for those that do not, there are more immediate calls on their money.

As American scholar Warren Bennis says: “Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and then sustain it.”

Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research

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