Today’s senior women are faced with unique realities that illustrate the need for all women to accumulate sufficient assets and make certain that those assets are protected.
Women, on average, live longer than men. That, plus the fact that the divorce rate in our country has risen significantly over the years, means more women than ever are living out their senior years alone. About 85% of women die alone. Currently, more than half of women over age 75 who don’t have a spouse are living in poverty.
For most of these women, Social Security is not the answer. Many of them have either never worked, or have not worked for enough years to receive the maximum Social Security benefit. Studies show that women have only half the personal savings of their male counterparts.
These statistics illustrate how important financial planning is for women. Producers not only have an opportunity to boost business but to provide a much needed service by seeking female prospects and educating them on preserving income for their futures.
Fortunately, female baby boomers have an opportunity to plan adequately for their retirement and beat the grim statistics of the current generation of senior women. Many baby boomer women, having had a career, possess a greater understanding of retirement and financial planning, and can appreciate and understand their unique paradigm. Advisors can add value by addressing their needs:
Sustained Income. Because of their forecasted longevity, women need to find ways to make their money last as long as they live. This means careful analysis of their resources and asset allocation, as well as providing insurance products to ensure their assets are not eroded in the event their spouse requires expensive medical care.
Leaving a Legacy. For some of the more affluent, leaving a legacy to children or to a favored charity also will require professional planning. Charitable giving can provide both tax advantages and emotional gratification to clients. If you are not experienced in this area, align yourself with other professionals who can co-advise clients.
Estate Planning. Whether extensive estate planning is a factor or not, there will always be a need to reserve assets to settle the miscellaneous expenses associated with death. Be prepared to discuss these items with your clients at the beginning of the fact-finding process.
Personal Savings. You also should be certain to address the form of Social Security that will be available to younger boomers. Changes in the system are inevitable and will likely include modifications. One thing you can be sure of is that clients will want to maintain their standard of living.
The only way they will achieve this is through personal retirement savings. Again, the need to protect those savings is crucial, especially in light of the current uncertainty respecting Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
Modify Your Selling Style. Women make decisions differently than men, so it’s important to approach them differently. Women want advisors who can teach them what they need to know about planning for retirement income.
Compared to men, women generally take longer to make decisions; the “hard close” works less effectively with them. They are seeking an affinity with an advisor and trust is an element that is very important to them.
Women don’t like aggressive tactics, but they can be motivated to take action once they have been informed sufficiently. If you can be the one to provide them with this education, then you will likely earn their trust and their business.