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How to Help Your Senior Clients Make This Year Their Best One Yet


February 14,17 | 6:17 am

The end and the beginning of the year are times ripe with opportunity to reflect, repair, and improve our finances. As a financial advisor, you know this better than anyone.

Now that the end of last year has come and gone, and we’re at the start of the new one, your clients are probably coming in ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on making this their best financial year yet.

For your senior clients, especially ones who are in retirement, helping them do that may look a bit different than it does for your younger clients. Here are a few things you can focus on.

Review their investment portfolio, or if you’ve recently done so, commit to doing these reviews on a regular basis.

Many seniors want to take a “set it and forget it” approach to their retirement portfolios, judging that since they’re long-term investments, they don’t need too much attention. If your clients aren’t concerned, you may find yourself going longer between portfolio reviews than you normally would.

But if you’re going to help your client truly optimize their retirement accounts, it pays to take a more hands-on approach.

In fact, recent research has found that instead of investing more conservatively as we move further into retirement, we should diversify with higher-risk investments as well. If this represents a change in strategy for your clients, then you definitely need to conduct a portfolio review to reassess goals and performance.

Discuss benefits like Social Security and Medicare.

Clients who are approaching age 62 (the earliest age at which one can start drawing reduced Social Security benefits) may benefit from a discussion of their Social Security benefits and how they can make the most out of them.

Many seniors begin drawing benefits at age 66 or 67, which is when full benefits can be taken. However, if a senior can hold off taking benefits until age 70, they’ll receive more per month – and this is something that plenty of seniors aren’t aware of.

Medicare is another entitlement that your clients may want to discuss. You can help them decide how to reallocate the money they can save from not buying private health insurance, as well as whether or not they need additional coverage.

Be proactive in helping to prevent fraud.

Unfortunately, older people are often the targets of unscrupulous lenders, opportunists, and even outright con artists who want to trick them out of their hard-earned money.

As an advisor, you can take a huge step toward reducing successful fraud by being proactive about potential fraud with your senior clients.

Make sure you’re up to date on any scams that are currently going around and make your clients aware of them, too. In addition, keep a keen eye out for any changes in your client’s finances that seem unusual or odd. Seniors, especially those who live alone or have weak or nonexistent support networks, can be easy targets for “friends” or acquaintances who want to take advantage of their generosity.

Be ready to discuss alternative options, like life settlements.

You may already be familiar with life settlements, in which a life insurance policy owner sells his or her unneeded policy to investors for much more than the policy’s cash surrender value.

But if you’re not, take some time to learn about what this transaction is and how it works – and most importantly, how it can benefit your client.

Life settlements can provide an infusion of cash to retirees who need to pay for long-term care, for example, or who simply need to pad their retirement fund. Most seniors aren’t aware that selling their policies is an option. This results in millions of dollars being left on the table each year.

Instead, your client can work with you and a life settlement broker to get the Fair Market Value for their policy. This can help relieve any financial stress he or she might be suffering from, and lead to a much happier, healthier retirement.

Working with senior clients is especially rewarding, and you have the power to help them make this year their best one yet. To learn more about how you can help your retired clients, read our post “How Financial Advisors Can Better Serve Their Senior Clients.”

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