Every financial planner knows that as one ages, financial priorities evolve. Where once the most important thing for a client might have been maximizing stock market returns, now as she’s gotten older, it’s maintaining her quality of life in retirement.
For another client, the priority may have been sending his children to college without accruing student debt. Now, 15 years later, he wants to make sure he always has enough money to visit them when he wants to.
As with any age group, advising seniors requires advisors to use their general knowledge of finance and maintaining financial security, as well as their knowledge of the client’s preferences and tendencies as an individual. Put together, these two pieces of information help you protect your client’s best interests.
But when you’re working with seniors, there are some major issues that must be considered in much greater detail than when working with Millennial or middle-aged clients. Retirement. Long-term care. Estate planning. Becoming highly knowledgeable in these areas of financial advising can greatly benefit you and your practice, not to mention your clients.
Reaching out to senior clients
Many individuals believe that financial planning is only important for the wealthy - even seniors who are struggling to put together their retirement plans may think that working with an advisor would be a waste of time, money, or both.
However, these are precisely the people whom financial advisors should be reaching out to, according to USA Today’s retirement columnist Rodney Brooks. There are plenty of middle-income seniors who could benefit from working with a financial advisor, even if they don’t have many assets.
This is especially true because so many of these seniors will be near or already in retirement, which can be a scary time for many people. Going from generating a regular income to living off of savings requires a mental shift and solid discipline.
If you can provide excellent retirement planning services to seniors of any income, you’ll be offering them a tremendous value, and word will spread, as it always does.
To reach out to these potential clients, consider writing a column in your local newspaper, starting a financial planning blog, or volunteering to offer short planning sessions at a retirement community or community center. These efforts can help you connect with seniors of varying incomes and situations.
Brush up on your knowledge of senior financial planning issues
Retirement planning, of course, is a major issue for not just Baby Boomers but your middle-aged clients, too. As such, you’re likely well versed in this area.
However, one aspect of senior financial planning that many seniors don’t consider thoroughly is long-term care planning. It’s an unfortunate fact that most of us will need long-term care at some point in our lives. It’s also a fact that long-term care is very expensive, and only getting more so.
Without adequate planning, seniors and their families can find themselves confronted with huge bills and few options for paying them.
For example, most seniors aren’t aware that it’s possible to sell their unneeded life insurance on the Secondary Market as a life settlement. Yet this can allow seniors to gain far more value from their policies than simply surrendering them for the cash value. Often, individuals use a life settlement as a strategy for paying part of their long-term or medical care costs.
Long-term care planning, therefore, can be a very valuable area of expertise for financial planners who are trying to reach more senior clients.
Working with senior clients offers a host of new interesting challenges and opportunities for motivated financial advisors. You can learn more about retirement and long-term care planning here on our blog.