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Life Health > Health Insurance

3 critical steps: Help clients win the race against aging

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In a recent Generational Survey conducted by J&K solutions and sponsored by Genworth, a group of American adults (ages 18 to 80) revealed some very important information about what “concerns” are at the top of the average person’s mind.

Overwhelmingly the top two concerns are:

  • Health: 71 percent of respondents worry about that.

  • Financial security: 63 percent of respondents worry about that.

The third issue of concern was mental limitations, which is getting the attention of 46 percent of the respondents.

See also: Eyewitness to long-term care

In that same study, respondents were asked to grade themselves with regard to their health and finances.

  • Nearly 60 percent said that they were healthy, which at first blush seems pretty good; however, results from the 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that over two-thirds of Americans are either obese or overweight, so we may be giving ourselves better grades here than we deserve.

  • More alarming is the 40 percent who are willing to grade themselves say they have failed in their effort to maintain their health.

When it comes to personal finance people were also asked to “grade” themselves on how well they have prepared for their eventual retirement.

Fifty percent give themselves a failing grade.

That’s shocking.

And, remember: Based on respondents’ health grades, it seems that we probably are a bit kinder to ourselves than what the scale or the mirror says.

See also: LTC: Why don’t they plan?

For three ideas about how to act on this data, read on.

Man in a suit jumping over hurdles.

1. Think like an athlete.

For the last 10 years, I have been giving seminars around the country entitled ‘Physically Strong, Financially Sound’ addressing and highlighting the misconceptions of being physically and financially healthy.

From my background as an Olympic gold medalist through my many years as a long-term care insurance (LTCI) specialist, it has always been clear that the priority of a person’s health and financial “well-being” increases as we grow older.

The very same discipline that provides the best chance for “optimal health” is exactly the same as the discipline that increases the opportunity for “financial security”! When I use the term “discipline,” I’m referring to the definition in Webster’s Dictionary: a “branch of knowledge”. For most folks, at the core of learning a new “discipline” is having a great coach or teacher. Actually to me they are one in the same!

I like to think of aging as preparing for a race, because this is a race everyone is competing in, like it or not.

See also: 4 ways for LTCI specialists to reach out


2. Think like the athlete’s coach. 

To successfully win the race of age, you have a monumentally better chance if you have a coach or a teacher and a plan in place starting when you are younger.

Study after study shows even people with a rudimentary plan for reaching retirement goals end up with three times as much money as those without. Coaches provide leadership to learn this new discipline, so much so that the great Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry said “Leadership (think coach, teacher, financial professional) is getting somebody to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.”

See also: 4 ways to help LTC planning clients believe in themselves

An understanding eye

3. Think like the coach’s coach.

In today’s world of vastly extended life expectancies, health and financial issues will continue to become a greater priority. So how do we as financial professionals help coach our clients to success?

The answer is simple although the practice is difficult and begins with active and motivational listening skills.

At the core of coaching, be it health and fitness, or financial well-being, (soccer, chess or anything else for that matter) the fundamental skill a coach must learn and master are those of listening and motivational communication.

Active listening is the first of these skills and builds trust and encourages positive problem-solving skills in the client. Nonverbal active listing skills involve eye contact, using pauses, silence and facial expressions to demonstrate one is listening, as well as appropriate body language.

Of all of these skills, body language is the most important and transmits a great deal of information to the coach! Sitting with arms and legs crossed is the language of closure. The language of openness is sitting with arms open, relaxed eye contact, and a slight bend forward towards the client, which indicates the coach is interested in what the client has to say.

Once you start perfecting these techniques you will be well on your way to becoming a financial professional who can coach and collaborate with your clients to communicate their concerns. You can effectively help them create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.

Sitting with your client and designing plans that may incorporate insurance such as annuities and long term care insurance are critical to help protect their financial goals and to achieving success in aging happy, healthy and with a great sense of well-being. This approach will greatly increase their chances of winning the race against age.

See also: LTC education: It’s never too early


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