How To Talk To Older Clients About The Current Economic Crisis
By Michael P. Sullivan
Financial representatives need to understand how to communicate with older adults about todays difficult economic times.
Uncertainty and fear often cause older clients–those in their early 50s and up–to panic or be frozen into indecision about their investments.
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Older clients represent the lions share of wealth in this country and usually dominate the book of business for most financial advisors.
Psychological research shows that these older adults make investment decisions on a different basis than younger individuals. The latter rely mainly on analysis based on the facts and logical reasoning. Older adults rely mainly on their experience in life.
The problem confronting older clients today is that their experience does not appear relevant in the present crisis and, therefore, they have no basis on which to make investment decisions.
The fact is, however, that older clients do have life experiences that are highly relevant. Financial reps need to remind their older clients of this when presenting investment options and directions.
Put current events into an historical perspective, for example. This helps them use their own lifetime of experiences to put things in a larger picture. You might say:
“I know these are uncertain times now and, like everyone else, I am as concerned as you are at times. When I begin to get upset, I remind myself of history.
“During the Great Depression, when unemployment reached 25%, Franklin D. Roosevelt said something we all remember to this day: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Things today are nowhere near as bad as they were then. America, including the economy, is stronger in every way. We got through it.