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Differentiate Your Practice by Asking the Right Questions

Differentiate Your Practice by Asking the Right Questions

There are trillions of dollars surrounding the nearly 80 million baby boomers who are set to retire in the coming years. Such a vast quantity of wealth is undoubtedly going to attract massive competition from the financial management sector. And with the rise of robo advisors, there’s more and more competition for the pre-retirement crowd, too.

With so much money and so much competition, do you have a plan to set yourself apart from the crowd? More importantly, can you address your clients’ concerns with confidence and accuracy?

Asking the Right Questions

The main question most clients have is “will there be enough?” For many financial planners, this can be a fairly daunting question. They don’t know what the future holds, how many years their clients have left, and what level of care they will need in those remaining years. What if you had a different answer? What if you could give your clients a better financial picture of their retirement years and accurately predict how much their care will cost in the future?

Genivity’s HALO (Health Analysis & Longevity Optimizer) can help you do just that. ​Built by trusted experts with backgrounds in computational genetics, data science, and health IT, HALO pinpoints a client’s risk so the advisor can help the client plan for it. The HALO assessment also provides firms with rich and insightful client data. Firms can use the data to spot trends and needs among their clients and prospective clients, which in turn helps them better understand what types of products and solutions their firm should focus on offering.

The opportunity presented by accurately predicting future healthcare costs is unprecedented. With HALO’s analysis, you can give directionally accurate healthcare cost and mortality projections personalized to the client – something that your competition can’t do.

What can HALO do for you?

There’s no reason to believe that health-care related costs will go anywhere but up, wouldn’t you like the opportunity to tell your clients how much money they will need moving into retirement? HALO brings science and financial planning together to reveal critical aspects of a client’s financial future they never considered before with the eye-opening ability to accurately predict future health care costs. These are the questions you need to be asking and this is the tool to set you apart from others in your field.

If you’re interested in working with a cutting-edge healthcare cost prediction solution, read our case study to see how Genivity can benefit your firm as it has so many others already.

Genivity’s Heather Holmes on BMO Harris Podcast

Genivity’s Heather Holmes on BMO Harris Podcast

There’s no debating that with life expectancy going up, money and other resources will have to last longer and be more effective than in generations past. With this new standard, it’s important that financial considerations are taken seriously so that clients can spend their retirement with peace of mind.

Heather Holmes, founder and CEO of Genivity was recently interviewed by BMO Harris magazine to discuss our startup Genivity,  life expectancy, misconceptions about the financial planning process, and Genivity’s HALO assessment that marries health and family history to better assess how to plan for care costs in retirement.

In this podcast, Heather talks about Genivity’s unique approach to assessing the golden years of your life. The conversation covers a broad range of topics from health habits and how they will play out in your later years to identifying which children will be the best at caring for their parents in retirement. This is a productive look into the changing world of retirement, financial planning and how health plays a unique role in making sure clients prosper in their final years.

Whether you’re a long time client of Genivity or just scratching the surface, this talk is a great overview of the company, the values we hold, and the mission we are trying to accomplish. We’d like to thank BMO Harris for taking the time to sit down with Heather and shine a spotlight on the important work we’re trying to do.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Genivity’s Approach to Security: An Interview with Heesh Naim

Genivity’s Approach to Security: An Interview with Heesh Naim

Today we welcome the Genivity CTO, Heesh Naim, to the Genivity blog to tell us a bit more about himself, explore his stance on security, and how he fosters growth within the organization. Heesh comes to Genivity with a wealth of experience in both enterprise security and startup growth. He worked for 12 years at Motorola in IT security and then spent time working with one of the fastest growing Insurtech companies, Snapsheet.

As the Chief Technology Officer, Heesh is the technical wiz that powers Genivity. But aside from all things technology, he also enjoys being involved in the other aspects of Genivity as a business. “That is one of the reasons I joined the team. I have the ability to be involved and integral to everything from driving individual product direction and decisions to proposing new products and solutions to driving the overall company direction and interacting with investors.”

Heesh believes that being well rounded allows him to make the best technology decisions to foster the growth and success of the organization.

He sees the Genivity HALO solution as an evolution of years of discovery, research, and development. That evolution will be ongoing in order to keep the solution at the forefront of the industry, offering both an easy yet comprehensive solution to planning for health expenses in retirement. Part of that evolution will be the creation of complementary and augmented solutions, providing an option to meet the financial planning needs of every client, advisor, and organization.

Security has been a focal point for tech companies, especially in the fintech sector, in recent years. Heesh has worked tirelessly to ensure user security for HALO users, as he views ” cyber attacks, data breach, and unforeseen outages are amongst our top security concerns.”

The first two of which really revolve around privacy, meaning that customer data is anonymized and protected. Heesh and the Genivity team as a whole go to great lengths to ensure this privacy as it is designed into our solutions, gathering mostly non-personally identifiable information, yet still specific to give the best-personalized recommendations.

“Behind our solutions are also a host of security mechanisms in place to detect and prevent a data breach. We also utilize an auto-scaling, geo-redundant, cloud-based solution to protect ourselves from unforeseen outages.”

The foundation of a secure system begins with the client. As such, there are several things financial advisors should be aware of as they think about the security and privacy of their client information.

Heesh believes there are two major aspects that provide the foundation for the security of a financial advisement practice. First, the vast majority of financial advisors are utilizing 3rd party software to enter, pull in, or aggregate financial information for their clients. Your overall security is only as good as your weakest link. If any of those aggregation points is insecure, all of the data is vulnerable.

“The second follows the concept of the weakest link, where my message to the financial advisor would be, don’t be the weakest link. The majority of information leak or data breach is due to someone taking information from a secure environment and housing it in an insecure environment. For example, a printed document that isn’t disposed of properly or sending secure information over insecure channels. Don’t open suspicious emails, don’t store sensitive information insecurely on your laptop, overall educate yourself on best practices for your information and apply that to your practice.”

Beyond security, Heesh sees several other areas at the top of the Genivity development list.

“Modularity/Extendibility of our solutions is a big concern in the development of all Genivity products. We are trying to create a baseline solution that plugs a significant gap in financial planning software today, however, there isn’t a one size fits all type of solution that will work across the board.”

In order to meet these needs, it’s of Heesh’s view that we must develop our product to be agile in the way it can fit with current and future financial planning solutions. We are creating a suite of options that an advisor or organization can customize the solution to best plug into their systems and fit their needs.

Genivity could have a profound effect on the financial advising industry because of our focus on health and how it relates to wealth and a client’s legacy.

“Our solutions help the industry by providing smarter data-driven recommendations that better prepare their clients for retirement. Naturally, the financial advisor industry is recommendations based. The difference is our recommendations center around health and longevity and branch outward from there when traditionally the approach has always been financed based. To me, our approach seems very intuitive as the saying goes “you have nothing if you don’t have your health,” and the data shows the largest unforeseen costs center around health issues, so how can you create a plan you have confidence in if you aren’t taking into account the “heart” of the plan, pun intended.”

Heesh urges everyone he interacts with to talk to their financial advisor about how health and longevity are factoring into their future. If they don’t have a good answer, ask them about HALO from Genivity and let them know that you want to take into account your personalized health outlook when planning for retirement.

In the News: Decoding Client Biases

In the News: Decoding Client Biases

Behavioral finance is an emerging topic in the financial planning sector that has many in the industry wondering how they can best approach the topic with their own clients.
As a recent Financial Planning article points out, “At the leading edge [of behavioral finance] are tools that help clients manage their cognitive biases. Big data, artificial intelligence and even blockchain, to name just a few, will allow firms to create deeper personality profiles of clients and overcome their predispositions.”
While the author admits that there’s no one solution to address all of the cognitive biases clients have, there are solutions that are tackling the issue head-on, including Genivity.
The way that Genivity’s HALO collects health and lifestyle data and generates recommendations based on AI-driven algorithms is of great interest to those in the behavioral finance space. Says former LPL chief Mark Casady, “Technology-driven human assessment will take off as AI takes hold in wealth management.”
To learn more about how AI is driving behavioral finance, read the entire story.
The Science Behind HALO: An Interview with Dr. Emily Chang, PhD

The Science Behind HALO: An Interview with Dr. Emily Chang, PhD

Genivity’s HALO is an important risk model for financial advisors and their clients. Our HALO risk model offers personalized reporting on health and wealth factors that can affect retirement planning. These factors are used to predict one’s time spent in retirement and the expected cost of maintaining their health in their older age.
To give you an in-depth understanding of our risk models, we asked our Chief Data Scientist and co-founder, Emily Chang, to explain the science. Here is what she had to say on the topic.

Our Chief Data Scientist and Co-Founder

Emily Chang’s focus revolves around “data and science aspects of the company, such as creating and updating algorithms for predicting longevity and years of disability, evaluating scientific literature and data sources, and communicating the scientific and technical aspects of Genivity to others.” She loves to see the world through numbers, which as she states, makes the world “richer, deeper, and more captivating.” What draws her to this field are the challenges like lifespan algorithms and the potential benefit her work has toward individuals. “Giving people numbers and guidance as they face the most important questions surrounding retirement is rewarding, knowing that people who use our tools will be better prepared for their futures” states Emily.

The Process of Algorithms and Genivity’s Data Practice

Emily explains that the creation of algorithms depends on the “needs and wants of customers, and responding to changes and developments in the research world.” As she puts it, “customers may request more detailed and personalized estimates for health care premium payments. Such an update would involve a review of the literature surrounding different healthcare premium plans, creating a model for capturing the various plan options, and writing specifications for the developers on how that model can be enfolded into the preexisting algorithms.”  
However, Genivity does not only focus on creating new algorithms. We also update our existing risk models. As Emily says, “When a new and important paper relating to any of the many parameters in our algorithms is published, we evaluate the study. If the study is indeed sound, we update the parameters and model as needed.”
That leads us to ask: How do you analyze data and determine its value? Emily states that there are a variety of ways to analyze data. One type of process is evaluating the data herself. “In choosing a study to use, I look for large sample sizes, good study design, and the tier of the journal of publication (or quality of government or other data source).” Another process Emily uses is to evaluate the quality of the risk model projections. This involves “comparing the distribution of our estimates and intermediate results to published findings, as well as graphing the generated data and doing simulations.”

Risk Model Limitations

Risk models have limitations. Science and data can only predict to a certain extent. As Emily puts it, “The future lifespan of a healthy athlete may be short (think of the proverbial bus), whereas an obese smoker may live to age 100 for reasons we don’t understand.” However, that does not mean that all hope should be lost. Every individual varies from general information, but with personalized input, a better estimate can be created. Emily puts it better: “What we can do is provide estimates, averages, and likelihoods that are as personalized as possible. These probabilities and likelihoods are a starting place for financial planning, and are more customized and powerful than the estimates provided by standard actuarial tables.”


Emily’s work with Genivity has created new tools to improve and help plan the lives of many individuals during their time in retirement. The time and effort placed into our risk models under the direction of Emily will have a great impact on the lives of your clients.
“I hope that the work I am doing helps people, with the help of their financial advisors, approach this question with more confidence and certainty.  With early and careful financial planning, my hope is that individuals will have less stress and uncertainty around what their old age will bring.”
Telemus Capital Spotlight on Genivity HALO

Telemus Capital Spotlight on Genivity HALO

One of our Genivity HALO clients, Telemus Capital, was featured on ABC News Detroit for how it uses HALO to determine a client’s longevity. The story discusses how the financial advisors at Telemus utilize the HALO solution to help clients better prepare for health care costs in retirement to set them up so that they invest for the true cost of health care based on their personalized HALO report.

You can watch the full story here or below.