new-years-resolutionsHow are you going to make 2017 an even better year for you and your practice than 2016 was? Are you going to expand your client services? Educate yourself about a new financial area? Work harder at bringing in clients of multiple generations?

There’s no better way to lay out your plans for the year than by making a good, old-fashioned New Year’s resolution. Here are a few for 2017 that you might want to consider.

Learn about life settlements.

The life settlement market continues to grow, and yet a surprising number of financial advisors - and most seniors - still aren’t that familiar with it.

A life settlement - in which a life insurance policy owner works with a financial advisor and a life settlement broker to sell their policy to investors - can be a major help to seniors who need an influx of cash to cover medical bills, assisted living costs, or simply to pad their retirement fund.

There are lots of ways to learn about life settlements. You can start by reading our post “How to Tell if a Client’s Policy is a Good Prospect for a Life Settlement.” If you have a client whose policy you think may qualify, you can take our quick, 7-question policy quiz here.

Be more proactive in finding out about clients’ family situations so you can give them the best possible advice.

According to the Pew Research Center, a record number of Americans - 60.6 million - lived in multigenerational households in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.

Much of this increase is attributable to the Great Recession, which saw millions of adult children and elderly parents moving in with family members to save money. What’s surprising to some, however, is the degree to which this phenomenon has continued, even though the recession is over.

This new dynamic can have a major effect on your clients’ finances and investment choices. It’s important to ask questions about your client’s family situation so that you can help them make the best financial decisions.

After all, a retired couple living on their own might have very different concerns about the future than a retired couple whose child and grandchild are currently living with them.

Plan for the effects of increased longevity and the need for long-term care when helping clients plan for retirement.

Your senior clients today are facing a double-whammy when it comes to their retirement.

First, they can plan on living longer than their parents and grandparents, which means they could spend many more years in retirement than previous generations.

Second, healthcare costs are continuing to go up, and most seniors can count on needing some form of long-term care at some point in their lives. This is partially due, of course, to increased longevity.

These two things together mean that many seniors may not be as secure in their retirement as they think they are. Should they become terminally ill, or suffer an acute injury like a fall, they may not have the funds available to cover hospital bills or the cost of a long-term care facility.

For clients who are already retired, one potential solution to this problem is a life settlement. Another is to consider a return to the workforce on their own terms, as a consultant, for example.

For those who are approaching retirement, or are in their middle age, you may want to encourage them to commit to a strong savings plan that allows for contingencies like the need for long-term care. That way, you can ensure that they’re on track to truly having enough money to live the retirement life that they want.

The new year is a perfect time to decide how you’re going to serve your clients even better this year than you did last year. Whether that means taking some continuing education classes, reevaluating clients’ savings plans, or getting to know your clients better, we at Ashar wish you the best of luck and a happy New Year!