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Longer lifespans are going to affect planning for young clients, too

SAN DIEGO — “I’m not going to live that long.”

That phrase is not uncommon for advisors to hear when they discuss how to ensure clients have sufficient retirement resources into their 80s, 90s and beyond, a session at FPA’s annual Retreat conference revealed.

Andrew Sivertsen, an advisor with the Planning Center who spoke at the FPA event, believes the attitude underpinning it needs to be taken seriously by financial planners.

Financial advisor Cicily Maton stands next to apodium at the Financial Planning Association's annual retreat on May 8, 2019.

The need for more detailed, probing conversations about retirement and aging is growing in tandem with Americans’ lengthening lifespans. The number of Americans ages 65 and older will increase to 98 million by 2060 from 46 million in 2016, according to the Population Reference Bureau, a think tank. The median age is projected to rise to 43 from 38 in 2018, according to the Census Bureau.

But it’s not just the elderly who will be affected by this demographic transition; financial planning for younger clients will change too.

“The longer we’re living, the more likely we’re going to be having transitions” between stages of life, said Cicily Maton, an advisor at the Planning Center who was speaking alongside Sivertsen.

Impacts may include young adults facing a tougher job market, with fewer positions open as older workers stay in their careers longer, Maton and Sivertsen said.

Clients with both kids and elderly parents could end up caring for both groups at the same time, the advisors said.

At the same time, living longer could also present new opportunities. Clients may want to explore a so-called encore career, start a business or travel more, the advisors said. There are surprising possibilities, Maton added. “I’m 82 years old and I’m still going to conferences to learn,” she said. We’re all going to be lifelong learners, she added.

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