“Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.”
- Herbert Henry Asquith, British politician (1852-1928)

With November upon us, many families will share a Thanksgiving dinner that would not have been possible in the not-so-distant past- one that includes family members who are 70, 80, even 90 or more years old. As they break bread with their families, these seniors certainly have a lot to be thankful for. After all, many are leading long, active and productive lives well after traditional retirement age.

As such, there is virtually no end to the marketing messages these seniors hear imploring them to take full advantage of their youthfulness. Each day, they are bombarded by images of seniors re-igniting the romance with their spouse, traveling to exotic destinations and participating in rigorous athletic endeavors.

Today’s active senior lifestyle can be a dream come true for our clients, and they should absolutely be encouraged to enjoy it. But, we are also creating a generation of seniors with a growing sense of invincibility- a trend that will likely get even worse as more baby boomers approach retirement age.

As my friend and former Million Dollar Round Table president Brian H. Ashe, CLU, of Lisle, Ill., remarked at the recent MDRT Boomertirement Summit, “Lots and lots of people in the boomer generation really don’t think that risk- for them individually- really exists. The prevailing attitude seems to be that ‘no one really gets sick for very long any more, no one is probably going to die until they’re 100 and nobody really loses money any more.’”

Speaking of us as trusted advisors, Ashe said, it’s up to us to help our senior clients secure their financial futures by communicating the realities of risk more clearly, more consistently, and more dramatically. I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments.

One way we can all do that, of course, is by sharing real-life examples that demonstrate the devastating impact death, disability, long term care, critical illness and other risks have had on other seniors in their community.

We can also provide a wakeup call by sharing real-life facts and figures that can sometimes be shocking to people.

For example, do you think your clients would be stunned if you told them the average age of widowhood is 56, according to the U.S. Census Bureau?

Would it open their eyes a little more if they learned that, according to a McKinsey & Company report, 40 percent of retirees left their jobs sooner than they had planned, and early retirement was usually caused by health problems or loss of employment?

Might they be upset to learn that statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that people at age 65 face at least a 40 percent lifetime risk of entering a nursing home and about 10 percent will stay there five years or longer?

Of course, there’s virtually no end to the amount of statistics and information you can use to drive home the point with your senior clients.

The bottom line is that it’s up to you to protect the financial future for your “youthful” senior clients by putting risk on their radar, and encouraging them into action, just in case.

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