Overgeneralizations about baby boomers abound in the literature and though many are unsubstantiated, they often seem to ring true in practice. Some of the assumed attitudes and characteristics of boomers suggest areas where agents might want to exercise additional caution in the sales process to avoid potential compliance issues.
Here are some examples:
Boomers are overly optimistic. They seem to overestimate returns and underestimate the risks of investments. This suggests that an agent should exercise care in describing the historical performance of variable products to avoid reinforcing overly optimistic investment expectations. Overly optimistic expectations that are not met can lead to complaints. Agents should always provide details about the potential for a loss of principal and, in general, the potential risks of investing in equities.
Boomers are impatient. They seem to be unwilling to listen and sometimes overestimate their knowledge of financial concepts. Often they want to speed up the sales process. Though they may be impatient with disclosure and education about what they are buying, the agent should take his or her time to provide all the information and cover all of the elements of the sale. Reacting to boomers’ impatience can lead to failure to disclose information properly, which can come back to haunt an agent when complaints arise.