Financial advisors, often lauded for protecting investors’ financial health, should make sure their clients’ physical health is protected as well, a survey released Monday by Nationwide Financial found. Failing to discuss how their clients will pay for their health care costs could cost advisors their clients, the survey found.
The report, conducted by Harris Interactive for the insurer, found about 80% of advisors know they can keep their clients if they help them plan for the cost of health care. However, of the 501 advisors surveyed more than half said they find it challenging or very challenging to talk about their clients’ health, despite 58% saying their clients want to have those discussions.
The key to getting clients to talk about health care and how they will pay for it in retirement is for advisors themselves to feel competent and comfortable talking about it, John Carter, president of distribution and sales for Nationwide Financial, told AdvisorOne on Thursday. “Advisors need to be more knowledgeable and comfortable with this complex topic,” he said. “It can be overwhelming if you don’t educate yourself.”
The survey found almost three-quarters of advisors say their clients don’t appreciate how important discussions about health care are to their financial plans. Advisors were also found to be somewhat complicit in clients’ reticence. More than half of advisors surveyed said they point out the topic’s importance before changing the subject. Just 4% insist on discussing health care with their reluctant clients.