28 November 2022

Every day, I think about why long-term care solutions matter because of my own family’s story. Like many stories in our industry, it involves a bit of luck.

My grandfather, Alex, was from an Italian immigrant family and had to drop out of school at a young age to help support his family. He worked in construction, and by the time he was in his 40s, he had built a financially stable life for his family. He was financially secure enough to indulge in his hobby – betting on horses, including the three races that make up the Triple Crown.

 

In 1977, Alex had a really good feeling about a horse named Seattle Slew – an undefeated thoroughbred – and he decided to go “all in” on his bets. That year, Seattle Slew went on to become only the tenth horse to win the Triple Crown at the time.

To expand his windfall, Alex put together memorabilia plaques to commemorate the horse’s fame. He framed a photo of Seattle Slew with a ticket from each of the 3 races and advertised them in newspapers across the country. Sales went well and he made enough money to buy a piece of land. Taking everything he learned from construction, he built a house on the property, then sold it for a profit. He bought more land, built another house, made a profit, and kept repeating this process until he was able to start his own construction company, which he named Triple Crown Corporation.

While this was happening, Alex’s wife, my grandmother Dona, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She battled the disease for 37 years and significant care was needed over that time – many years of home care and private care in a facility.  

Around this time, I had been with Lincoln for 14 years, and my grandfather was fascinated by our solutions for paying for long-term care. One day he asked me, why hadn’t any of his financial professionals told him something like this existed. He wondered, “How different could my life have looked today?”

My grandfather went on to battle dementia. By the time he passed, our family was paying $30,000 a month for Alex’s and Dona’s care.  Millions were spent over decades.

But, like I said, our family was lucky. Because of my grandfather’s work ethic, ingenuity, and a horse named Seattle Slew, there were resources to pay for the care they needed.

Still, I think about the kind of legacy my grandfather would have preferred to leave – the philanthropy that could have helped others who started out life in a similar position to his. I think about everything he would rather have spent those dollars on.

Now, as we recognize Long-Term Care Awareness Month, I encourage everyone to consider if you and your family are prepared for what’s ahead and your long-term care needs. If not, connect with a financial professional about building a long-term care plan that works for you so that you can take luck out of the equation.

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About the author

Kellie Szabo joined the Lincoln Financial MoneyGuard team in May 2008.

In her current capacity as MoneyGuard Specialist in Michigan, Kellie helps financial advisors create strategies to reduce the impact of long-term care expenses on client assets.

Kellie holds FINRA Series 6 and 63 registrations, and state life and health licenses. She received a BS in Business Administration from Elon University in North Carolina.

Kellie lives in Royal Oak with her husband, Kurt Hahner, her 4 year old daughter, Gabriella and 2 year old daughter Josephina. In her free time, Kellie enjoys lots of family time, traveling, hosting friends and seeing live music.

About Lincoln Financial Group

Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help people take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, approximately 16 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, and guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $270 billion in end-of-period account values as of September 30, 2022. Lincoln Financial Group is a committed corporate citizen included on major sustainability indices including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and FTSE4Good and ranks among Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies. Dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, we are included on transparency benchmarking tools such as the Corporate Equality Index, the Disability Equality Index and the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. Committed to providing our employees with flexible work arrangements, we were named to FlexJobs’ list of the Top 100 Companies to Watch for Remote Jobs in 2022. With a long and rich legacy of acting ethically, telling the truth and speaking up for what is right, Lincoln was recognized as one of Ethisphere’s 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies®. We create opportunities for early career talent through our intern development program, which ranks among WayUp and Yello’s annual list of Top 100 Internship Programs. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Sign up for email alerts at http://newsroom.lfg.com.