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Non-Profit Coalition Aims to Improve Financial Dignity for Boomers

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As both the housing market and stock market have declined this year, they’ve taken a big chunk of retirement assets for the baby boomer generation with them. That only adds to the woes of a generation that many experts say has done a poor job planning for their future. To help boomers better understand and address the unique financial challenges they’ll face in retirement, 11 non-profit financial associations, representing more than 200,000 financial services professionals around the world, have formed an unprecedented collaboration called The Partnership for Retirement Education and Planning (PREP).

“Unfortunately, the boomer generation as a whole has not planned well for what is likely to be a lengthy retirement for most of them,” says Philip E. Harriman, CLU, ChFC, past president of the Million Dollar Round Table and spokesperson for the PREP coalition. “Recent research shows only one-third of retirees are very confident they will have enough money to take care of basic expenses. Current market dynamics increase their anxiety.”

Harriman says the non-profit PREP associations are working to better educate their members on the unique challenges facing the baby boomer generation; providing members with communication tools and resources to help them communicate with boomers; and encouraging them to conduct community service education targeted at local boomers, regardless of their financial status. He says, in addition to the sheer size of the boomer generation, this group faces financial challenges no previous generation has encountered, including pension terminations, skyrocketing healthcare costs, uncertainty about government programs such as Social Security, decreased personal savings rates, and significantly increased life expectancy.

Dedicated to improving financial literacy for Boomers, members of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and the Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP) have founded PREP and are working in a concerted effort to provide awareness and education that will help boomers take action in preparing for retirement. Other organizations, including the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), Association of Health Insurance Advisors (AHIA), GAMA International, Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA), Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA), and Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS), also have joined in support of PREP.

According to PREP members, boomers should make retirement planning a priority by considering the lifestyle they wish to lead during retirement, determining the life income they will need to sustain their lifestyle for 20 to 30 years after retirement, and creating lifeboats, such as disability insurance or life insurance, to protect them and their families from the unexpected. Since it is never too early to begin preparing for retirement, younger generations also should learn from the challenges boomers face.

Finally, all PREP members have endorsed a Financial Dignity Bill of Rights, which dedicates them to helping provide financial education to the boomer community.

The Financial Dignity Bill of Rights holds that individuals must create and protect their own financial well-being, supported by the right to:
oParticipate in employer sponsored plans, if offered.
oReceive government benefits, if eligible.
oReceive ethical and honest counsel from trained and capable financial professionals.
oFinancial solutions involving appropriate plans, products and fair, ethical practices from providers of financial services.

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