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Life Health > Life Insurance

Aging myths and their impact on your practice

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Boomers continue to influence life stages and impact your practice as they age into this next phase of their life. They will influence how retirement is viewed and experienced. By 2030, 20 percent of the population is projected to be over 65 years of age and Americans over 65 are the fastest-growing population segment.

In the last century, Americans over 65 increased from 3.1 million to 37.9 million while an American turns 60 every seven seconds 70 percent to 80 percent want to continue to work to stay young.

They are searching for a purpose through:

  • Relationships;
  • Education;
  • Leisure time activities; and
  • Serving others.

So what myths do you run into in your practice every day and which ones are not true?

Older adults can’t adapt to change.*

Debunking the myth:

  • Adapting to change is more about temperament than other factors;
  • Listening and feeling empathy helps people accept change; and
  • Find a way for them to contribute to the mission.

Older workers aren’t as effective as younger ones.*

Debunking the myth:

  • They bring experiences, loyalty and stability;
  • Physical strength changes so manual labor is more difficult;
  • Often older workers have good reflective and creative skills; and
  • New research indicates brains become more creative with age.

Older adults experience significant memory loss.*

Debunking the myth:

  • Less than 10 percent of people over 65 have major memory loss;
  • Most memory losses result from disease or negative effects of medication; and
  • Memory impairment isn’t a characteristic of normal aging.

Older adults can’t learn new information.*

Debunking the myth:

  • Enhance older adult learning by determine individual’s pace, creating a good environment for hearing and seeing, and motivating them to learn.

Older adults want to relax and live a life of leisure.*

Debunking the myth:

  • Most want to be involved in meaningful and productive activities;
  • Many want to volunteer but have trouble matching skills and experiences with opportunities;
  • Retirement is not purely about leisure, and if we fail to recognize this, we will lose an army of people who can make a tremendous difference.

What myths have you carried into your practice that limited your growth or the services available for your senior clients? Think about predictable buying behaviors, those products and services your senior clients are going to purchase anyway, many of these behaviors are predictable. And since we already know what they are most likely to purchase, when they will make these purchases and where the funds to pay for these services will come from it is best to have a full understanding of the aging issues your clients will experience going forward, for them and their spouse. You already know the three things your clients aging into Medicare will do, almost without exception:

  1. Sign up for Social Security;
  2. Automatically be enrolled in Medicare (even if they will continue to work for a time they have to opt out of Part B); and
  3. Some 80 percent will purchase a supplement plan of some type.

And where will they get the funds to make this purchase, from the money they have been spending on health insurance for the last 30 years, even if they have an employer plan they have most likely been paying dependent coverage. They will reposition these funds to pay for the supplement plan. When they do this they will also have to then get the nonMedicare spouse some type of health plan, possibly with a critical illness and/or accident rider. Then a few years later as she ages into Medicare she will drop these coverages and purchase a supplement – after she does two of the three predictable behaviors listed above.

It is during these buying decisions that issues like retirement options from work, IRA, 401(k) and other financial choices will be made such as:

Reduce expenses

Cash balance plan

Reverse mortgage

Assisted-living /nursing home

DB/DC plans

Benefit elimination periods

Simplified employee pension plan

Living will

Profit-sharing/stock ownership plan

Durable power of attorney

Money purchase pension plan

Do not resuscitate order              

Remember these are not new or unpredictable behaviors, they are known behaviors that will occur during specific times in the seniors’ transition to this next phase of their lives, are you prepared to identify the myth and have you debunked these myths in your own practice? Which of these predictable buying behaviors have you encountered with your clients and which one’s did you miss that another adviser picked up on? Is that what you were planning?


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