It’s official. Not everyone assumes that age 65 will mean fishing, gorgeous sunsets, a thick, perfectly tousled head of platinum hair and a spouse who has aged equally well.
If true, then why do we consistently (and relentlessly) paint this picture of the ideal in our communications to consumers? Is it realistic that everyone can actually achieve that? Is it realistic that everyone would actually want that? Is it realistic that people aren’t going to work full time after age 65?
The recent study released by LIMRA and Maddock Douglas around the language of our industry suggests that consumers are looking for us to be more authentic…more “real.” Authenticity leads to greater trust, particularly when you consider that today’s self-directed consumers are forming impressions of your company before they speak to an advisor.
One of the six components of authentic communication is about being “down to earth.” People are looking for images that are realistic and attainable.
When we asked consumers to describe how they felt about the images our industry portrays, they said things like:
- “People just look too damn happy and healthy.”
- “In order to plan for your own retirement, you have to be in a certain economic class…they promise we can have this lifestyle once we retire, and I don’t think that’s realistic.”
- “It would be nice if everyone didn’t look like they were living in a spa their whole lives.”
In fact, only 13 to 15 percent of consumers associate the phrase “retirement investments” with vacations and relaxing. More than 60 percent associate these words with simply having enough money. There’s a big difference between living a life of leisure and just, well, living.
So it’s time for us to rethink the image of retirement as we create communications that face the consumer, because the study shows that the current impression is right smack in the middle of “down to earth” and “downright impractical.”
So how do we change? A starting point would be to get some inspiration from outside the industry.