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After working through a lot of numbers, it came out that the magic number was about $1 million. If you had that you'd be best off by self-insuring.

How can there be one "magic number"? I would expect that number to vary significantly from person to person and couple to couple depending upon a lot of factors such as their health, life expectancy, total assets, amount needed to sustain their lifestyle through their expected lifetime, cost of living in their area, just to name a few.

We need more than $1 million to be able to sustain the lifestyle we plan to have in retirement for the number of years we expect to live in the area in which we currently live, and so that number most certainly doesn't work in our case.

We've had this discussion before on this board, and it seems to me that folks sometimes only look at what happens for one person, but to me, the thing I am insuring against is leaving an impoverished spouse. It costs us around $3600 per year to insure both DH and me for LTC. FIL spent about 2 years in a nursing home, and his estate owes Medicaid close to $200,000 to pay for that, so the numbers get large in a hurry, and seem beyond what I wish to self-insure.

My step-mother's first husband was in a nursing home for over 10 years because of Alzheimer's, and she ended up with nothing after paying for his expenses after he died, and that included having to sell the house to pay for his expenses.

I'd rather pay for the LTC insurance instead of having to save enough to pay for one of us to have adequate nursing home care and not leave the survivor impoverished.

Other folks will make different choices based on their own situations, but I don't expect there to be one solution for everyone.
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