If you’re a financial advisor with retired clients, you’re probably well aware that retirees today are living longer, healthier lives than those in past generations. But did you know that retirees are spending a lot of time in front of the television or that most retirees are not relocating to lower-tax, warmer-weather states?
Those are just two of the surprising findings of a new study from robo-advisor United Income, called The State of Retirees: How Longer Lives have Changed Retirement.
Too Much TV
The report, based on data from multiple government and private data sources rather than a single online or phone survey, found that retirees on average spend about 4.5 hours, or 30% of their waking hours, watching TV including news shows on network and cable channels.
That can not only increase health problems but also make clients increasingly risk averse, says Matt Fellowes, CEO of United Income and co-author of the report. “Clients are getting too cautious,” which, in turn, makes it harder for advisors being able to “deliver meaningful wealth returns,” says Fellowes, former innovation officer at Morningstar.
He recommends that advisors work to counteract those fears, “getting active in the lives of their clients,” suggesting ways for clients to get more involved in their communities, in creating personal networks and in their hobbies.
“A lot of older advisors are as much a life coach as a wealth manager. They should be aware of the increasing amount of time clients are spending each day in front of the TV, which is blasting increasingly sensational news.”
Retirees are also more physically active, but the time they spend watching TV is three times as much as the time they spend on physical activities. For every 10 minutes added onto the life of a retiring 60-year-old, one minute is spent watching TV and just 20 seconds is spent on exercise, outdoor activities or sports, according to the study.
As the health and wealth of retirees have increased, more are choosing to stay in or near their homes and neighborhoods rather than moving to a lower-tax state or cheaper, more rural areas within their states.
“Retirees are increasingly staying put and living in more expensive suburbs near urban areas instead of less expensive rural areas,” the report finds. Nearly half of retirees are now living in the suburbs of cities, and their numbers have increased by almost 40% over the past 40 years.