“We have to recognize that what we are going through is unique in world history.” – Dr. Alan Greenspan
Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Dr. Alan Greenspan spoke these words at the Boomertirement Industry Summit, held in New York City in late April. It was my distinct honor to interview Dr. Greenspan as part of the Summit. His explanation of the challenges – and opportunities – facing baby boomers truly helped put everything in perspective.
During our conversation, Dr. Greenspan noted, “Retirement is a relatively new phenomenon. As a society, we’ve dealt with it successfully in the past few decades, but we’ve never had such a huge group of individuals going into the system at once and then living so long in their retirement years.”
Dr. Greenspan said that the government will find it increasingly difficult to keep all of the financial promises it has made through Social Security, Medicare and other programs in the coming years. He added that the longer we wait to deal with these key issues, the more difficult they will be to address.
This is where our role as trusted advisors comes into play – and the solutions apply to seniors of all ages, not just baby boomers. We must educate our senior clients that maximizing their quality of life during retirement requires them to take action on their own behalf, and “concern” them into immediately taking the appropriate steps.
Consensus among Boomertirement participants was that advisors must encourage such action by:
- Listening to our clients’ lifestyle goals and persuading them to plan and save for the 20 to 30 years they will live in retirement.
- Influencing them to maximize their life income by effectively accumulating – and distributing – their assets.
- Leading them to implement insurance solutions – “life boats” – that will protect their current lifestyle and future life income for themselves and their families.
(Note: Although space does not permit me to go into more detail, more in – depth explanations of all the solutions and issues discussed at Boomertirement are available at www.boomertirement.com).
As professionals we must face the reality that our accountability for leadership on this issue must not stop there. As individuals and members of associations, we must join together to encourage action by our government.
By becoming active in the political conversation and process, we can help create an environment in which our political leaders will address critical retirement issues by strengthening programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, and enacting policies that encourage and make it easy for individuals to build life income and life boats for retirement.
The current retirement situation may be unique, yet there is hope for boomers and all seniors looking to retire with financial dignity. It is up to us. We must ignite action today, for tomorrow may be one day too late.
Suit up – you’re starting.