As Americans age at a rapid rate (by 2025, there will be 65 million baby boomers, ranging in age from 61-79, and making up 25 percent of the population 16 and older), producers who are just hitting their professional stride might be asking themselves – where is my next generation of clients going to come from? Current high schoolers will soon be heading off to college, and once they graduate (or turn 26, depending on the life path they choose), they’ll be ready to choose a few insurance policies of their own. But what types of risk factors will they be facing? As it turns out, quite a few.
According to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most high schoolers engage in behavior that puts them at an increased risk of dying. The study, conducted from 1991 to 2009, analyzed risk behaviors. The most common causes of death involved motor vehicle crashes, and expected teen risk behavior such as smoking cigarettes (19.5 percent), drinking alcohol (42 percent), and being sexually active (34 percent, and 40 percent admitted that their last sexual encounter had been unprotected) were common. However, the most frequent risk factors noted over the course of the study related to health and wellness.
In the week before the survey, 78 percent of the students had not eaten fruits or vegetables more than 5 times per day, and 29 percent had consumed soda at least once per day. Eighty-two percent of students were not physically active for at least an hour a day each day for the week before the survey. Only a third attended physical education classes daily, and 12 percent were obese.
Couple the fact that high schoolers lead relatively unhealthy lives with the fact that they seem completely unprepared to deal with their own financial futures – a test by the Jump$tart Coalition measuring aptitude for managing such financial resources as credit cards, insurance, retirement funds, and savings accounts showed an average score of only 52.4 percent.
Fortunately, there are resources out there. The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, the Million Dollar Round Table, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors worked together to create NextGen3, an interactive program which includes lessons, games, and videos designed to appeal to a younger demographic. This is part of an ongoing – and growing – push to spread financial literacy at a younger age.
As insurance agents, do you think it’s your responsibility to help the younger members of our society understand financial matters and live healthier lifestyles? Do you do anything to reach out? Comment below and let us know! Or, take our poll on the ASJonline.com homepage!