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Save Clients From Owning an Anti-Annuity: Idea File

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Financial professionals can’t give clients much happy news these days about the stock market, about bond yields, or about how eager life insurers are to provide high minimum annuity crediting rate guarantees.

But professionals can recommend that clients take care of themselves, in an effort to keep chronic health problems from turning into income-eating anti-annuities later in life.

Nationwide’s content arm, the Nationwide Retirement Institute, has come out with survey results suggesting that many U.S. consumers are taking the idea that “health is wealth” for granted, and, possibly, squandering opportunities to protect and increase that form of wealth.


  • A collection of the new Nationwide survey results is available here.
  • An article about Nationwide long-term care planning survey results is available here.

The institute commissioned an online health care survey in May. The sample included 1,940 adults ages 24 and older.

The survey team classified survey participants ages 24 through 39 as millennials; participants ages 40 through 55 as members of Generation X; and participants ages 56 and older as baby boomers.

The millennials in the sample were only somewhat more likely to say that were in good or excellent health as the other participants: 79% of the millennials said they were in good or excellent health, compared with 78% of the Gen X participants, and 72% of the boomers.

The older participants weren’t setting a great wellness example for the millennials and the millennials were even less likely to be taking steps to protect their health.

Health Neglect Numbers

Here’s how likely participants in the three major age groups were to have gotten flu shots in the past year:

  • Boomers: 69%
  • Gen Xers: 43%
  • Millennials: 31%

For survey participants in all age groups, the most common reason given for not getting basic preventive care was, “I don’t know.” The “beats me” response percentage was 43% for millennials, 49% for Gen X participants, and 39% for boomers.

Among millennials, concern about the cost of basic preventive health services was just the third most common reason for not getting the services: 18% of millennials said the cost of those services is too high, and 9% said they weren’t sure whether their insurance covered those services.

About 20% of the millennials said, “I don’t think these types of services are necessary.”

Meanwhile, 83% of the millennials said that they would like to do more to prioritize their health, and that health and wellness were a top priority.

The Financial Professional’s Role

Nationwide has already been encouraging agents and other financial professionals to see Medicare planning, long-term care planning, and general post-retirement health care cost planning as great topics for starting conversations with clients and prospects.

The company’s retirement institute website offers tools such as health care and long-term care cost assessment fact finder.

Nationwide has also worked with the National Council on Aging to offer an NCOA My Medicare Matters Medicare plan option guide.

Kristi Rodriguez, the leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute said Monday, in an interview, that typical financial professionals may not be in a great position to recommend specific preventive health services, such as getting flu shots.

But “most Americans realize their health would impact their financial stability,” Rodriguez said. “It is such a significant cost in retirement.”

Financial professionals can help clients see that having a primary care provider and following that provider’s preventive health recommendations may be a good way to increase their post-retirement finances, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said she believes the new survey and other recent surveys show that many consumers are more interested than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic came along to talk to financial professionals.

“Individuals just want some engagement,” Rodriguez said.

— Read Nationwide Invests in Caretech Firm, on ThinkAdvisor.

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