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Jackson’s Cure for Retirement Planning Paralysis: Go-Karts

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What You Need to Know

  • Dan Starishevsky, a Jackson marketing executive, has been talking about the power of play for years.
  • The company now offers clients a play wellness program to make retirement planning seem less overwhelming.
  • Alison Reed, a Jackson distribution executive, says the program can help clients think more clearly about their retirement goals.

Jackson has a solution for retirement planning clients’ inability to focus: Get them to ride go-karts.

Or, run through sprinklers.

The company now offers clients a play wellness program to make retirement planning seem less overwhelming.

The Lansing, Michigan-based annuity issuer sees inflation, rising interest rates, technology and Congress as some of the major forces shaping the market for annuities and retirement planning services now.

But Alison Reed, chief operating officer of the company’s Jackson National Life Distributors unit, said in a recent email interview that another factor affecting the retirement planning market is clients’ haziness.

She blames the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since the pandemic began more than two years ago, a lack of clarity seems to exist among Americans in general, including those planning for retirement,” Reed said.

Dan Starishevsky, a Jackson marketing executive, has been making presentations for years about a “Play on Purpose” approach to reducing retirement clients’ stress levels, and getting clients ready to plan.

Reed said she thinks the pandemic has increased the need to address planning clients’ stress levels.

“The pandemic has made our futures uncertain,” Reed said. “With that, financial planning can seem even more overwhelming and out of reach.”

Clients nearing retirement age have been so focused on overcoming pandemic-related challenges that “they have lost sight of finding their purpose in retirement,” Reed added.

Jackson now sees play as being about as important to clients’ overall health as eating well and exercising, she said.

How to Play

In a presentation on the Play on Purpose strategy, Starishevsky suggested that clients could cope with stress by acting more like children — by breaking minor rules, trying new things and finding reasons to laugh.

Starishevsky cited a 1981 study of eight mean ages 70 through 80 who were told to act at least 20 years younger for five days. The research team reported that trying to act younger improved the men’s eyesight, hearing and memory test results.

Starishevsky included a list of rule-breaking activities that included:

  • Running through sprinklers.
  • Riding a roller coaster.
  • Jumping in a puddle.
  • Riding a go-kart.

His list of new activities included taking a cooking class, competing in an escape room, and ax throwing.

Annuity Awareness Month

Reed has been helping Jackson participate in this month’s national Annuity Awareness Month effort, in an effort to promote the role of annuities in the retirement income plans clients create when they stop ruminating about how difficult everything is and start planning.

During a time of inflation, “equity exposure can help sustain and potentially grow retirement planners’ assets,” Reed said. “A variable annuity with optional downside protection can help those planning for retirement gain meaningful equity exposure while guaranteeing a reliable stream of income and protecting against market downturns.”

(Image: Nomad_Soul/Adobe Stock)