Long-Term Care Calculator

Use our free long-term care calculator to estimate how much you’ll need to cover the cost of LTC in retirement.

Matthew Jones Matthew Jones Writer and Editor

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Not every senior requires long-term care (LTC), but it’s something that many older adults will need at one point or another. According to the Administration for Community Living, a 65-year-old has a 70% chance of needing long-term care. Use our long-term care calculator below to estimate how much money you’ll need to cover care costs.

Types of Long-Term Care

Depending on your physical and mental needs, you may need specific types of long-term care. The most common types of LTC include:

People often get confused by the “long-term” aspect of LTC. Just because you require long-term care does not mean you will need to live in a facility for decades. In fact, the average length of long-term care is just three years.1

Money Tip:

Money Tip: Need help finding LTC that fits your budget? Check out our affordable senior care guide.

How Do I Pay For Long-Term Care?

Paying for long-term care often involves a combination of funding sources. Medicare does not typically cover long-term care, and Medicaid coverage for LTC varies from state to state. For this reason, many people   either pay for the costs out of pocket or acquire long-term care insurance to cover for a part of their care.

According to Genworth, the estimated median cost of long-term care in 2024 is $4,917 per month for assisted living and $9,872 per month for a private room in a nursing home. Even if you have substantial retirement savings and don’t anticipate needing care for an extended period, you should still consider acquiring long-term care insurance in retirement.

How to Use Our Long-Term Care Calculator

Our free long-term calculator is easy to use, but it will require you to make some assumptions about your savings and assets. The information you’ll need to know (or assume) is divided into two categories – age, savings, and LTC needs, along with savings assumptions.

Age, Savings, and LTC Needs

  • Current age
  • Estimated age to begin LTC
  • Annual cost of LTC (today’s dollars)
  • Inflation rate
  • Number of years needed in LTC
  • Value of assets designated for LTC

As you can see, there’s a lot of information you need to provide right from the start. The estimated age to begin long-term care can be tricky, especially if you don’t show any signs of memory issues or don’t currently require help with things like bathing or getting dressed. You may want to speak with your doctor to anticipate future issues you may encounter. This could help you determine the age at which you might start long-term care.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? To be eligible for assisted living, facilities require you to need assistance with at least two activities of daily living (ADLs).

Next, consider the cost of long-term care in today’s dollars. You can use Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey to help you find the cost of certain types of care in your city or state. You can also reach out to facilities and providers in your area for a quote.

The LTC inflation rate is generally linked to the average nationwide rate of inflation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual rate of inflation is 3.43%.

As previously mentioned, the number of years you actually require LTC will depend on your specific needs. That said, most seniors average three years in long-term care.

Finally, you’ll need to input the value of assets and savings you’ve already set aside for long-term care. You may not have any savings for long-term care, in which case you can input zero. If you don’t have any savings specifically for long-term care, you’ll almost certainly need to rely on LTC insurance and any retirement savings you have.

Savings Assumptions

  • Annual return (pre-tax)
  • Marginal tax bracket
  • Annual contribution increases

This category will require you to make certain assumptions about the future of your LTC savings. If you keep your LTC savings in a high-yield savings account or a tax-deferred retirement account, you can generally expect an annual return between 5% and 8%.

Your marginal tax bracket will depend on your income at the time that you need LTC. If you anticipate needing long-term care at 73, for example, you might use Social Security, retirement account distributions, and any other income sources as taxable income. This will help you find your future marginal tax bracket.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Use our Social Security calculator to find out how much you’ll receive in benefits.

If you plan to increase contributions to your LTC savings between now and the time you anticipate needing long-term care, include these increases in your calculations.

Citations
  1. Administration for Community Living. (2020). How Much Care Will You Need?

  2. Genwroth. (2022). Cost of Care Survey.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023). CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Written By:
Matthew Jones
Writer and Editor
Matthew is a freelance writer who has written on a wide range of topics, from personal finance to nutrition. Over the past three years, Matthew has worked extensively on articles and guides for seniors related to Medicare, insurance, and finance…. Learn More About Matthew Jones
Reviewed By:
Matthew Clem
Expert
Matt graduated from Bellarmine University’s School of Nursing and Clinical Sciences in 2011 and began his career in Louisville, Kentucky, as a registered nurse. He quickly realized his passion for the senior population, focusing on the long-term care of chronically… Learn More About Matthew Clem
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