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‘Going in Style’ Shows What People Really Think of Banks, Retirement

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Want to retire in style?

For many Americans, one of the few ways to do so is to rob a bank.

That’s the clear message in “Going in Style,” starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin.

These ex-steel workers no longer have pensions. The steel firm they worked for did a big M&A, is closing down its U.S. plants and moving everything to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the character played by Caine, Joe Harding, has a home that he refinanced and is about to go into foreclosure because he can’t make the payments.

“You acknowledged the disclosure,” his banker says with a smile.

This same bank has been hired by the steel company to take the steel workers’ pension fund money and use to pay off any outstanding bills.

The three older gents know what must be done. The banks (not the broader economy or financial system) have “screwed their retirement,” they say. It’s payback time.

Hollywood Image

The heartless portrayal of a character in the financial world brings to mind the character Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street.” Greed first, people second.

But the reality is that even if the trio still had pensions, health care costs and other expenses are killing them. (High food prices lead them to attempt to rob a grocery store early in the film.)

The movie could be a good starting point for conversations advisors should be having female clients and prospects – many of whom, surveys show, fear they could become bag ladies – and men who wonder what bench they could end up sleeping on.

These fears are held by people of lots of economic classes.

And savings or no savings, pensions or not, retirement is a long, costly process.

Finding a “special way” to score a million dollars may resolve some issues. But as “Going in Style” shows, friendships are what really make your life rich.

For many Americans, there’s no “Going in Style” solution to their retirement problems.

Advisors with the courage, compassion and ability to do some straight talking with about these issues have a lot to offer – as long as they don’t act like a callous banker, pushing products while ignoring people’s best interests.

“I want to retire with dignity,” says Freeman’s character Willie, whose health is failing.

The bank’s taken dream from him and his buddies, so why not give the institution a taste of its own medicine?

See the film. It’s just what the doctor ordered.  


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