Creating a Financial Plan with Baby Boomers

How are you selling to baby boomers?The U.S. is currently faced with the largest generation in its history to reach retirement. And while the baby boomers broke records due to the massive population spike, that doesn’t mean the should reinvent the age to retire.

The Great Recession was a huge speed bump that prevented some boomers from retiring as quickly as they hoped, but many are getting back on track now. Though the first wave of the generation have begun to retire, many more are still reviewing their finances to make sure they will be able to enjoy their golden years and the quality of life they were hoping for.

That’s where you come in. As a financial planner, you know that even high net worth individuals have concerns when it comes to retirement planning. Of course, every person is different, but there are certain, undeniable trends that can be spotted from generation to generation. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you meet the needs of your baby boomer clientele:

Stick to the facts

Raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression only to bring up their own kids through the Great Recession, baby boomers in general are a generation who value hard facts. They don’t want to feel as if they’re being pitched a hypothetical idea. Rather, present them with empirical data and hard facts to get the best results overall. As a financial planner, you should give them a few solid options with clear pros and cons regarding each choice.

While your clients will probably react well to hard facts, resist the temptation of pointing to authority figures who are supposed to influence their choices. When the baby boomer generation was coming of age, they were steeped in anti-authoritarian rhetoric, something that may have stuck with them to this day. Instead of quoting industry experts, just stick to relevant data.

Point to longevity

Baby boomers are poised to be the generation with the longest lifespan in history. That is a fact that should be emphasized when it comes to retirement planning. Sure, the average life expectancy is somewhere in the upper 70s for most U.S. adults, but according to the Social Security Administration, a man turning 65 today can expect to live until nearly 85, while a 65-year-old woman has a high statistical likelihood of reaching 87. The SSA predicts that one out of every four 65 year olds will reach 90, and one out of 10 will pass 95.

So if your clients are in their mid-60s, it’s your job to make sure it is very clear that they likely have another few decades ahead of them, and they need to plan their finances accordingly. There are plenty of instances of retirees outliving their savings, not executing an estate plan properly or failing to invest in long-term life insurance and finding themselves in a dire financial situation at the end of their lives.

Understand their circumstances

Baby boomers are unlike any generation in the past in more ways than one. Many belong to the “sandwich generation” because they are not only stuck caring not only for their aging parents, but their struggling children, or even grandchildren.

While this certainly doesn’t describe every baby boomer, it is highly unlikely that they have a huge amount of leisure time they’d like to dedicate to estate planning. With that said, many of your clients will give thanks when you ditch the long-winded presentations in favor of a streamlined planning process.

Let them lead the way for communication…

There are more ways than ever for you to communicate with your clients. While some still prefer face-to-face communication, others are skilled with mobile technology and like to text or exchange brief emails. Of course, as with any client, it’s best to let him or her lead the way when it comes to preferred mode of communication. If they primarily contact you via phone calls, assume that is the best way to reach them back, as well.

…And formality

Baby boomers may have worn suits to the office in the early part of their careers, but many have evolved with the increasingly casual nature of office culture that we see today. While you should always present yourself as an authority and industry expert, your clients may prefer you not use formalities. If they insist you call them by their first name and want to make small talk with you before getting down to business, adapt to that. However, some may prefer to maintain a formal business relationship that involves formatted letters, and that should be fine by you, too.

In short, though each individual is different, doing your best to meet them on their level will help make their financial planning experience a positive one.

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