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Ric Edelman: Your Clients Are Going to Live to 100. Are You Ready?

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Longer life expectancy is remarkable but clearly not without its challenges. For the financial advisory profession, just what does the longevity revolution imply?

“If you’re alive in 2030, you’re likely to live to 100 or beyond,” Ric Edelman says in a podcast interview with ThinkAdvisor. “That means we have to approach financial planning and investment management very differently than we have in the past. Most advisors aren’t aware of this and are not making the necessary adjustments.” 

Such adjustments demand acquiring expertise in digital assets and blockchain technology, which will offer “astonishing investment opportunities that are truly going to be transformative for people’s ability to achieve retirement and financial security,” he says. 

But advisors “for the most part, as of right now, are oblivious [to that],” says Edelman, who was interviewed at ThinkAdvisor’s LUMINARIES awards gala on Nov. 9 in New York.

By year-end, he is set to leave the RIA he founded with wife Jean in 1986, which merged with Financial Engines in 2018 and created the nation’s biggest independent financial planning and investment management firm. The combined entity, Edelman Financial Engines, now manages assets of $300 billion, Edelman says.

Today, the industry veteran — who served as a judge for this year’s LUMINARIES awards — is focused on educating advisors and consumers about digital assets, blockchain and other exponential technologies.

Another significant, if not shocking, change advisors must address, according to Edelman is that “about half of the occupations in America — predominantly white collar [ones] — are going to be eliminated within the next 15 years.”

He believes advisors “need to recognize that [change] from a financial planning perspective. They really need to understand this because it has huge implications for the advice they’re giving clients.”

Edelman, 63, has already launched several brand-new companies essential to his next career, most prominently the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, an educational organization focused on the new technologies advisors and others can incorporate into their practices.

He’s also busy with a new radio show, “The Truth About Your Future,” plus video, TV and podcast projects, he’ll roll out in early 2022.

Plus, Jean and Ric Edelman are prioritizing their time around issues like health and longevity. One of their new companies is developing a tool to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. They have also invested in a firm that will introduce a robotic dog to help Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. 

“It’s projected that by 2030, there will be 50 million Americans with Alzheimer’s,” he says. “Patients need 24/7 care at an annual cost of $120,000. Since most are over the age of 65, Medicare and Medicaid are footing the bill, at a huge cost to taxpayers.” 

“If we don’t solve this [Alzheimer’s], it will bankrupt those systems, with a huge impact on the federal budget,” he says. “We must increase our government’s support of Alzheimer’s [research] if we have any hope of eradicating it.”

Edelman discusses these and other critical issues in this podcast interview.