Tammy Butts Equitable Advisor
Tammy built a successful practice providing financial planning strategies and guidance to families and business owners. In 2005, she was promoted to Divisional Vice President. In that role, she hired and developed a successful, diverse team of financial professionals. Recognized for her success, she received several management awards. In 2009 she was promoted to Divisional Executive Vice President managing the Illinois Branch for Equitable Advisors.
According to Genworth’s annual Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Illinois in 2020 was $4,170 monthly, with costs in Northeast Illinois, in- cluding metro Chicago, ranging from about $4,500 to $4,800 per month. On the high end, assisted living in Chicagoland could run $10,000 monthly.
“That’s a lot of money,” says Tammy L. Butts, regional exec- utive vice president and branch manager with Equitable Advisors in Deerfield, Illinois, who adds many older people and their families aren’t prepared for that expense. Many did not save enough. Others retired early during the COVID-19 pandemic, further constraining savings.
“We already had a retirement savings gap. Now you have people living longer and have a cash flow shortage,” she says. “You have this kind of perfect storm.”
Though assisted living’s cost is high, financial experts report there are ways for families to cover costs if they start saving early — and possibly even if they didn’t.
Butts is among those urging getting an early start by saving for retirement and — as a separate expense item — assisted living. One way is to purchase long-term care insurance, which can be used for assisted living if the insured needs help with two or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
or has a diagnosis of a cognitive impairment.
Families should aim to fund part of the cost of assisted living with long-term care insurance, and part with savings. If too large a policy is purchased and the insured passes away before using it, the excess cannot be recovered.
“It’s use it or lose it,” Butts says.
Painting a picture of what retirement looks like is even more important today.