A large part of your job is advising clients to take action in their best interests. While there are certainly many rewarding financial client planning meetings, there will always be a few uncomfortable ones. Talking to your clients about long-term care insurance and, ultimately, death, is one of those meetings that no one wants to have, but are crucial for your clients in order to enjoy the autumn of their life.

Long-term care isn’t always needed, but the conversation around it is. Simply put, you need to bring up this subject if they don’t. You’re aware that it is in their best interest, you know that it has to be discussed, and it’s clear to you that their finances and lifestyle will be impacted if the dialogue doesn’t take place before it’s too late.  

How to start the conversation

While approaching the conversation is difficult, you can always reassure them that many people don’t need long-term care and those that do don’t necessarily stay in it for the rest of their lives or for a long-period of time.  It has to be made clear, however, that if they do need it and do not have a plan in place to pay, they will be sacrificing their financial security and quality of life.

This shouldn’t be just a passing conversation either, it should be a thoughtful, in-depth discussion of all the aspects surrounding long-term care. These are some questions you need to answer during these meetings:

  • What happens if they need long-term care?
  • Who will take care of what if they are admitted?
  • What happens if a client dies while in long-term care?
  • How do they plan on paying for it?

Questions like these may make you shift in your seat, but everyone is better off clearing the air and having the conversation. Try to think of a way to ease the atmosphere before or during these conversations. Think about providing food or drinks during the meeting or have the conversation outside on a pleasant day. Get creative with a way to lighten the mood around a somber topic. If nothing else, put yourself in a frame of mind that allows you to confidently approach the topic and deliver what your clients expect and need.

It also helps to have solutions in place within your practice, such as HALO, that allow you to have data points that can provide a dose of reality to the conversation.

Focus on the outcomes

Nick Dragan, a financial advisor with Mass Mutual, believes that education and technology go hand-in-hand to create the experience that clients now demand from their advisors.

The days of just selling products are over. It’s all about the counsel you provide – including education on a wide variety of topics such as LTCI. Technology and financial planning solutions become tools we use to provide the right advice that is quantitative, objective, and opens up the conversation of where things fit into their plan.

There may be more rewarding aspects to your job than having these conversations, but they are a necessary part of building a strong relationship with your clients. Not every client will be difficult and some might have no problem discussing it at all. Explain thoroughly why the conversation is necessary and why it is in their best interest and both parties will be satisfied with the outcome.