With more and more Baby Boomers living longer and the senior population increasing faster than younger generations, we are entering the age of longevity. It's crucial that advisors help clients plan for this new chapter, said Louise Schroeder, a financial advisor and owner of Personal Financial Solutions, Inc.
Schroeder spoke about how advisors fit into the age of longevity in the Tuesday morning session, Helping Clients Plan for Aging Successfully: What's it All About?, at the FPA's annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.
The most critical issue affecting aging and the need for long term care is the health status of our nation, Schroeder said.
She pointed to some of the most common health conditions among aging populations including hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and obesity related cancers, and said advisors should become a source of influence to educate their clients about these conditions and how to prevent them.
When asked about clients' receptiveness to advisors bringing up such a personal matter as health choices, Schroeder said she hasn't had any negative reactions yet because she starts the conversation by talking about the costs of health care. Though clients don't always take the advice immediately, at the very least she has started the conversation and can keep coming back to it, she said.
But successful aging isn't just about physical health.
"Aging successfully is all encompassing, it's social, intellectual, physical, it's all of those things. It's really a time when we need to sit down and think about what our quality of life is like," Schroeder said.
And in fact, successful aging, as Schroeder described it (according to the book Successful Aging) has three components - avoiding disease and disability, remaining engaged with life and maintaining physical and cognitive function, which is necessary to remain independent.
Because many advisors aren't aware of all the resources available for things like health care networks and housing options, Schroeder suggested advisors educate themselves about aging as much as possible and develop a network of specialists to help when it comes to planning for elderly clients.
And if advisors can help with some of these aspects of aging successfully, "There is a possibility to prevent the need for long term care," Schroeder said.