Working with senior clients to ensure the longevity of their finances can become a complex task for any advisor. Pairing seniors and annuities is sometimes a no-brainer; however, other times we must ask ourselves if annuities are really the right product for our client. Our job is to adequately help seniors, and all clients, understand what they’re purchasing when we explore annuity options with them.
Many times senior clients can be suffering from slight cases of Alzheimer’s, dementia or other related conditions, preventing them from fully comprehending the recommendations a financial advisor may be suggesting. This can lead to a number of tricky situations, including a client who forgets the logistics spoken about during a meeting, or a client who even forgets the details of a product or policy they have purchased.
Video or audio record meetings
There are a few things we can do as advisors to ensure our clients not only understand what they are purchasing, but also feel confident we have their best interests in mind. One thing I’ve found helpful is videotaping or audio-recording each session with senior clients. Let your client know annuities can be a complicated product. Recording these sessions allows both of you to remain confident the details will not be lost in the conversation.
If your client isn’t comfortable with video or audio recording options, be sure to take copious notes during each meeting, and offer to make copies for the client to go over themselves or perhaps with their children. Encourage all advisors in your office to adopt this practice, allowing everyone to have records of what exactly is taking place in client conversations, whether they be senior clients or not.
Having a client’s children present at a meeting is another helpful tactic. For example, with indexed annuities, even someone who is in their 40s or 50s may have trouble remembering all the finite details of the product. How can we expect someone who is 75 or older to recall all the facts discussed in meetings? Having a close family member there with them allows clients to feel at ease and helps assure clear communication.
While working with senior clients is complicated, taking the correct precautions will assure you do not get caught in a difficult situation. As with all products, having transparency when dealing with seniors and annuities is imperative. Keeping your clients’ best interests in mind, whether they are a senior client or not, remains the most important factor in being a successful financial planner or advisor.
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