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Prepare for clients to live to 120: Edelman

Washington – Advisors will need to accept and embrace massive exponential technological change to stay relevant, according to Ric Edelman.

For example, financial planners can expect to see tech breakthroughs dramatically impact retirement planning as life spans lengthen. Citing research from futurist Ray Kurzweil — albeit with a touch of hyperbole – Edelman asserted that a number of life threatening diseases would be eradicated by the year 2030.

“If you’re alive in 2030, you’ll live to 120,” the CEO of Edelman Financial Services told advisors at Charles Schwab’s annual Impact conference.

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As a result, traditional retirement glide paths are out the window and advisors will have to rethink how long their clients’ money will last.

And that’s just the beginning.

Quote - "If your clients live to 120..."

Disruption driven by new technologies will also impact traditional planning strategies for career planning, college savings, estate planning, life insurance, annuities, long-term care and even car ownership, according to Edelman.

“Nobody knows where the dominos will stop falling,” he explained. “Advisors need to know more than their clients. Advisors need to look ahead and anticipate what’s going to happen in a way we’ve never done before.”

Planners will have to do something different.

Financial advisors who rely on a traditional value proposition of price and performance will become obsolete, Edelman predicted.

“You will have to do something different,” he said. “Learn about exponential technology and apply it to your client. Advise on career planning and the need to save for life-long learning strategies.”

As for portfolio strategies, Edelman said advisors should focus on “thematic exposure” to exponential technology, not individual companies.

“Tesla is dead, but electric cars are here to stay,” he said.

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