How old are you right now? It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior, baby boomer, part of generation X, Y or Z. When did you start thinking about retirement? Was it right now (because I asked the question) or was it 30 years ago, because you were financially savvy?

In the end, it matters when you started thinking about it. But what matters even more is if you were proactive enough to protect your retirement funds and plan ahead. I can think of a million things I want right now, like a $70,000 Tesla S model car, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy them at this moment. Without action, thought means very little. 

My point is this: If you’re thinking about how to reach new prospects, how to become their financial advisor, you have to put yourself in their shoes and ask the right questions. And I’ll share a little secret: most of us “young’uns” get tricked into thinking (by our own brains, no less!) that retirement is SOOOO FAR AWAY. It is eons away! “I’ll have time for that. I’ll make more money next year. I can always make more money later down the road. I’ll save later.” These are some of the thoughts that go through our minds … if we’re even thinking about retirement at all.

So, how do you reach these people? Ask them what they know about retirement. Ask them what they would do if an accident happened right now that prevented them from working for the rest of their life. It’s a terrifying thought, but — as you well know, being in the income protection business — it can happen.

Remember that old saying, “Ignorance is bliss.” The only time ignorance is bliss is when you’re not about to retire, and you’re young, and there’s always “later.” But when you’re nearing the retirement age, that ignorance is replaced with an all-consuming fear that you’re going to be working “until I die,” as I’ve heard some people say, people I’m not naming here for obvious reasons. I know some people who are almost 60 and want to retire, but can’t because they have no financial backup.

Other than having a plan in place for retirement, your clients should also think about planning for their health. You can have $2 million in the bank for your retirement fund, but if you don’t have your health, well … it’s not going to be like one of those retirement experiences that you see on TV, usually by the beach and with your significant other. Or, if you don’t plan financially for health complications that might arise later into that retirement period, that $2 million could be spent in a short amount of time.

Data seems to back up the fact that health is worth everything: 81 percent of retirees said that health is the most important ingredient for a happy retirement, according to a Merrill Lynch Retirement Study. The study also found that 58 percent of retirees had to retire earlier than expected, possibly due to an unexpected health problem, compared to 38 percent who retired on schedule and only 7 percent who retired later than expected. You can view the study here.

In my case, I would love to retire right now, though I’m “young” and I love working. But in order to do that, I might need about $5 million right now to live a somewhat “comfortable” life for the next 40+ years. Well, there goes that “dream.”

See also: Retirement reality for Gen Xers [Infographic]