The senior population is growing fast, and with it, a growing body of knowledge about what it takes to be truly fulfilled in our golden years. What’s become clear is that even the most well designed financial plan can’t ensure happiness on its own; we also need good health, social interaction and a sense of purpose in life. As a trusted advisor, your challenge is to help clients plan ahead for each of these aspects of retirement.
Even before this year’s pandemic, the fear of running out of money was a leading source of stress among retirees. That fear has grown as the effects of COVID-19 have increased economic uncertainty. Advisors can calm client fears by helping them identify their financial goals, budget for future spending, and establish income streams to cover retirement costs. With a solid plan in place, your clients will be better able to pursue the other elements of life necessary to their overall well-being.
A range of recent studies have shed light on what it takes to stay healthy as we age, and that generally means exercise, eating well and social and mental engagement. In spite of what we now know, however, research shows that the path of least resistance for seniors is to become more passive, and to spend increasing amounts of time at home alone — a trend that has only been exacerbated by social distancing. By contrast, clients who are able to find ways to stay physically active will tend to think more positively and live longer.
There is a well-documented epidemic of loneliness taking place in the U.S. As people age, loneliness can lead to poor physical and mental health, and ultimately to a shorter lifespan. By contrast, strong social connections can protect against loneliness, poor health and cognitive decline. To combat isolation, your clients need to be intentional about being socially active, with a goal of participating in at least four activities per week.