While preparing for retirement, it’s likely that your client will have a myriad of retirement concerns. This is normal, and even healthy, as it shows that they’ve put thought into their upcoming lifestyle. But we live in a rapidly evolving society and the concerns of your past client, or even your clients today, might not be the same as they are in the future.
The Cost of Health Care
Honore Mendoza, a regional consultant for Principal Financial, has seen this shift in concerns first-hand over the last few years:
“Outliving money used to be the primary concern of clients. Now there’s more of a focus on planning for care.”
While the rising costs of medical care might not worry everyone, to retirees they are very real threats to a placid retirement. With amazing advances in medical technology, doctors have been able to keep people alive longer than ever before, but this is not without expense. At a minimum, the longer your client lives, the more money they will need to have to sustain their lifestyle.
Furthermore, as they age, they may require more regular or advanced medical care. Surviving a stroke is a wonderful advancement in medicinal practice, the ongoing financial burden of your survival, however, is something that can turn a peaceful retirement into a fiscal nightmare. Encourage your clients to give thought to living very late in life so that they are at least marginally prepared for it should the time arrive.
Having the Tough Conversations
As an advisor, having these conversations can be challenging, but Fabrice Braunrot, former Vice Chairman at JP Morgan & Chase believes that providing this service as an advisor is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from robo-advisors and other competitors.
“The best practitioners are the ones looked at by their clients as a partner,” says Fabrice, “They don’t provide services or commodities. That’s been shopped away. Advisors provide the most value by helping clients think about big, tough life decisions, most of which revolve around family and getting the family involved. These things have to be linked to finances.”
Cognitive Decline and Technological Advances
Keeping up with technology and safeguarding against modern malices are proving to be concerns as well. No one will be able to keep their cognitive function in high-caliber forever and criminals are well aware. This coupled with new and changing technology for finances makes retirees a prime target. Your clients should have a plan for determining fraudsters or scammers from people who genuinely want to help them. Children, or even grandkids, who are generally more technologically apt, are great resources. Ask your clients if they have a support network of those who can decipher scams before they hit an unwitting retiree.
Criminals aren’t the only threat to someone cognitively declining. The worst enemy might be themselves. As the brain ages, clients may forget to pay bills or service fees. Similarly they may forget to maintain certain things on their property or their own health that lead to large one-time costs that weren’t expected. Have your clients look to identify maintenance issues before they come to a head or plan for a child or friend to keep an eye out for them.
What Once Worked is Not Enough
Finally, its realistic to expect that 401ks and Social Security benefits will not be as useful as they once were. No one can predict the future, but as we enter a new age of economic activity, financial bedrocks like Social Security may change drastically. This particularly applies to women (who tend to live longer) as they will only be able to collect a larger Social Security check of their own or their husband’s check. This will likely not replace the income of two Social Security checks and should be planned for accordingly.
No one has a crystal ball, but if you and your clients are diligent in retirement preparations, they will be more likely to weather the changing world of retirement concerns.