What Boomers Want In An LTC Advisor

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Boomers are looking for financial planners who have expert knowledge and make the process and products understandable, Ken Dychtwald said recently.

“Financial services speaks like the CIA,” he said. “Most people dont get what it means.”

The noted Age Wave gerontologist spoke at LIMRA Internationals annual meeting in Chicago.

“Advisors need to be good at navigating lifes course, not just life and death and complicated products,” he said. He added that boomers “may get their research from the Internet, but they need and want a person to relate to them.”

Long term care insurance agents who spoke with National Underwriter largely agree with this assessment.

Lowell Halpern, a New York Life agent in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., says he keeps in contact with his boomer clients throughout the year.

“I believe its appreciated,” Halpern says. “They know Im there should they need me.”

Maintaining communication with boomers is critical because they base their decisions to buy on whether they trust the person selling to them, he says. Trust is earned through both ongoing contact and product knowledge.

Boomers will not make a buying decision based on a mailing that tells them which product they need. Rather, they will ask their advisor about the product and act on his recommendation, he says.

William C. Gelberg, principal, William C. Gelberg, Delray Beach, Fla., agrees that boomers want to work with someone “whos sharp in financial planning with a lot of experience and an objective opinion.”

These qualities in an advisor are essential for boomers because they are notoriously poor savers, experts say.

Savings made on the recent home refinancing spike has been spent rather than saved, Dychtwald said at the meeting.

Boomers “need a financial wake-up call,” he said, particularly because, “the average household today has more parents than kids.”

And, although “exposure to long term care insurance is starting, boomers still think its something that wont happen to them.”

The answer is for an advisor to be the person boomers need him or her to be, Dychtwald suggested: someone who can help them visualize their future and help decide what products they need to manifest that vision.

Having covered what boomers respond to in an advisor, Dychtwald also discussed what advisors should know about boomers.

One of the biggest realities many advisors overlook is that women boomers are different from the generation of women that came before them, he said.

“The women of this generation are managing the household; more and more they are bringing in the bigger paycheck,” Dychtwald said. “They do the finances. They do not count on their husband for a paycheck. They are talented at multi-tasking. They are raising a new generation of kids.

“And, there are 15 million single older women not helped by an advisor,” he said.

A mistake the financial services industry often makes is assuming the boomer generation has the same attitude toward retirement their parents have, Dychtwald said.

“The aging of the population will not mean more old people, it will mean people living longer,” he said. “People will go back to school, retire, reinvent themselves. Theyll fall in love again if theyre widowed or divorced.

“Currently, financial planning assumes the client will live in three phases: education (young), work (middle-age), leisure (elderly),” he said. “Older people will have a cyclical, blended life.”


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 21, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.