Edmond Walters, chairman and chief executive of eMoneyAdvisor, Conshohocken, Pa., sees a lucrative new business opportunity opening up as the U.S. population ages.
Increasingly, financial advisors will provide services to senior clients who feel overwhelmed by paperwork and money-handling chores that hamper the pleasures of retirement, Walters predicts.
Seniors from middle-income to wealthy increasingly will look for help in mundane cash-flow tasks such as paying bills, balancing checkbooks, filing insurance claims and scheduling medical appointments, Walters says.
His company, a subsidiary of Commerce Bancorp Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J., provides financial advisors with an Internet-based financial planning and advisory service platform so they can link to their customers over the Web.
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He expects many financial advisory businesses to add specialists in elder care to their staff to provide what he terms “retirement management services.”
“This is not something that is going to happen; it is happening,” he says flatly.
Not only seniors but also their boomer children are asking for such assistance. The “sandwich generation,” caught between obligations to their own kids as well as their parents, is looking for relief, he says.
“They can’t afford to leave their job to do this,” Walters says. “They complain they’re helping their parents out so much, it’s affecting their time with their children.”
Early entrants into the market are targeting seniors earning at least $75,000 to $100,000 annually and having a net worth between $1 million and $5 million, he says. It has become economical to service clients in that relatively modest financial range because recent developments in technology allow firms to scale down their practice, using software and Internet-based tools.
“For example, you can create a family page for a client that lets you aggregate the family’s assets and update the data every night. Whereas in the old days it would take 3 to 5 administrators to take care of 10 clients for, say, $2,000 each, technology lets you take care of the finances of as many of 20 clients using only one administrator for just $1,500 each–and still make money,” he explains.
Advisors will evolve services analogous to the family office that some ultra-wealth families set up to manage their complex finances, Walters believes.
Dan Taylor, chief executive of Parent Care Solutions, Charlotte, N.C., trains advisors to be what he calls “parent care specialists.” Many are financial advisors, although they don’t need an insurance or broker license to provide such services as bill paying, checkbook balancing or even management of certain long term care needs.