For so many years baby boomers have been excitedly planning their retirement; looking forward to trips around the world, being mortgage free, upgrading the car and so much more. This is the scenario that financial advisers are faced with when beginning their relationships with boomers.
How can advisers deliver difficult news, provide encouraging advice and retain these clients? Importantly advisers need to realize that boomers are becoming increasingly aware that they face an unsure financial future; but much has contributed to this current dilemma they face,? not least of which is, as some commentators note, the 60% lost value in investments because of the economic crisis.
According to statistical information provided by the Administration on Aging report, the age-65-and-older population grew 18 percent between 2000 and 2011 to 41.4 million senior citizens and the numbers are expected to continue to rise.
A study byAmeriprise Financial found that 93% of Boomer parents report providing financial support to adult children, 71% helped with college loans and tuition, and 53% helped them buy a car. However, only 24% describe their financial situation as putting away money for the future.
Emily Brandon writing in USA News? (Retirement News) says the following in her article, The Baby Boomer Retirement Crunch Begins:
“The boomers will be the first generation to overwhelmingly not receive some sort of guaranteed benefits from employers,” says Ken Dychtwald, president of the consulting firm Age Wave and author of “A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement, and Success.” “We now live in a 401(k) world where people are responsible for our own savings, and baby boomers have not done a very good job. It’s a generation that is going to struggle in old age in the absence of reliable anchors and support systems.”
How can financial advisers prepare for the boomer client?
- It is very important not to believe everything you read/have read about baby boomers. Not all will have enjoyed fully the fruits of their labor as they earned it so dont be tempted to make assumptions and deliver one size fits all advice.
- Be behaviorally smart; ask the right questions; spend time finding out what their plans have been for their future; ask them about their family and any financial promises they have made to them i.e. clearing childrens mortgage etc; get them to describe the future they see for themselves.
- Remember that you too will one day be facing this age group. Limited finances will not be their only concern. Empathy is a key here. Confronting this season of their lives and their uncertain investment returns together with facing the potential of losing their longed for dreams in their retirement make the relationship a tricky one for advisers to navigate.
Behaviorally smart advisers should invest quality time into the boomer generation. They too will have read the doom and gloom prospects written about their financial future. Its a key strategy for you as the financial adviser to identify the real gap between their current/future financial positions and determine whether the gap is as big as they imagine in terms of the dreams they have for their retirement future.
Carol Pocklington is a Human Behavior Solutions Analyst at DNA Behavior, assisting with the research and development of behavioral products. DNA Behavior helps grow behaviorally smart businesses and financial advisors worldwide to increase competitive advantage using the most reliable behavioral discovery and performance development systems on cutting-edge technology platforms. Solutions are delivered in the areas of client experience management, financial personality management and human capital management.