Longevity Series - Blog #1 (4-minute read)

A personal story from Ashar Group’s Senior Director, Bill Clark.

This is personal. If you’re not paying attention to clients like me, you’re missing out on a huge growing segment of the financial planning arena driven by baby boomers. At my age (74), I’m on the leading edge of the boomers.

In September of last year, I broke my back when took a Superman flight over the handlebars of my mountain bike. I knew immediately this was different than my previous accidents where I was sidelined for several weeks because of torn muscles and ligaments in my shoulders. This time, I couldn’t walk for a while and my thumb and two fingers on my right hand were numb. This one really scared me.

Rethinking my health and financial future

This kind of accident can easily take you out of the game if you’re over age 70. Over the next several weeks, I lost significant muscle mass in my legs. I started physical therapy and sold my mountain bike and bought a recumbent trike with a motor assist so that I could stay active and keep up with my wife on paved trails. Until recently, I found it impossible to get up off the floor without assistance. I’m fortunate to be married to a health nut that still rocks her mountain bike at age 65. I was healthy before the accident and determined to get even healthier now with her help and the example she sets. Peter Attia, author of the New York Times #1 Best Seller “Outlive” is now one of my health mentors. His video is a real eye opener. Be sure to click on the pdf link below the video. This morning, my Garmin watch told me that my fitness age is now down to 71.5 years and my VO-2 max is increasing. I’m shooting for a fitness age of 67 within the next year.

I work in the life settlement market where 87% of settled policies are on insureds age 70-100+ (Source: Ashar Group). Clearly, this is a market that gives the advantage to retirement age clients. Many of these insureds have shortened life expectancies due to health issues or increased longevity. Health arbitrage is a key factor influencing the value of a policy in the settlement market. I own a 20-year convertible term policy that is reaching the end of its term shortly. You can bet on the fact that I’m going to check to see if it has any value on the secondary market before my term period ends. Secretly, I hope that it doesn’t have any value because my life expectancy will be too long. God willing, I hope to be a centenarian in good health and enjoying life to its fullest.

It’s a good practice to make sure your client never surrenders a life insurance policy without first checking for life settlement value.

The focus of my financial planning has now switched to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle until the angels come calling. Joseph F. Coughlin, founder of the MIT AgeLab and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Longevity Economy, provides the insight business leaders and financial planners need to serve the growing older market: a vast, diverse group of consumers representing every possible level of health and wealth, worth about $8 trillion in the United States alone and climbing.

“Oldness: a social construct at odds with reality that constrains how we live after middle age and stifles business thinking on how to best serve a group of consumers, workers, and innovators that is growing larger and wealthier with every passing day.”

BTW, I recently purchased an all-road bike and got back on two wheels, but not on mountain bike trails. It works a whole new set of leg muscles, and nine months after my accident I was able to get off the floor this morning using only my legs. I thought I might never see that again. Pay heed to the financial needs of “boomers” who are bound and determined to live longer and stay healthy and active. Because of increasing longevity, they need to reset their financial planning horizon with your help. Gotta go now. Amazon just delivered a new piece of fitness equipment to my doorstep.

Bill joined Ashar Group in 2006. He has been instrumental in helping financial professionals understand longevity planning to better serve their clients.

Ashar Group is a nationally licensed life settlement firm representing the best interests of policy owners by creating a competitive policy auction to deliver the best value to the seller. Ashar Group does not sell life insurance, management assets, or purchase policies. We are an independent resource for fiduciary advisors and their clients specializing in life insurance valuation for planning purposes. Contact us today.

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