You can make a difference in people’s lives. These success stories, repeated anonymously can be a great catalyst for getting referrals. Once I share this story, you might think about which current clients fit into the same situation.
I had a longtime client. I really liked her and the feeling was mutual. One day when we sat down for a portfolio review, she explained she really hated her job and gave me her reasons why. Looking over her portfolio (which I was very familiar with from preparing her review) I realized she lived modestly and had done a great job saving and investing over the years.
I explained: “If you can live within the following income parameters and we moved your money around, you can retire immediately. You never need to go back to that job again.” Two weeks later she quit! I think it was at that moment that her life began.
She was able to spend her time doing things she really enjoyed. No, she didn’t blow the budget by booking a world cruise. She loved working on community garden projects. Now she has the time.
You have retirement age (or near retirement age) seniors. The pandemic has realigned many people’s priorities. There’s been talk of “The Great Resignation” as people reorder their priorities.
If you have older seniors with fully funded retirement plans, why are they still working? Should you let them know they are at the point of financial independence, where working is a choice, not an obligation? Here are potential situations seniors might be in:
1. They don’t know they can afford to stop working. We’ve had about 10+ years of good stock market performance. Perhaps your client is a saver. But they don’t pay much attention to their investment and retirement accounts. They are in better shape than they realize.
Strategy: Meet for regular reviews. Ask if anything has changed beforehand. Is their desired income level still the same? Conduct the Monte Carlo analysis showing how long their money would last. If they can realize, thanks to smart savings and investment decisions (thanks to you), they have reached financial independence, they should be thrilled.
2. They would like to stop, but don’t know their options. Your client lives a good lifestyle and hasn’t paid much attention to retirement. They assume it’s off in the distant future, although they are in their nigh 50’s or low 60’s. They have paid enough into Social Security. They would like to stop working if they can.
Strategy: Do some “what if” scenarios. They own a vacation home and rental property. They have a huge wine collection. They own a large house with high taxes. What if they sold the big house and downsized to the vacation house? What if they lightened up on their wine collection, since they own more than they can consume in their lifetime? Give them a roadmap that could raise funds and a plan to reallocate assets towards retirement income. There will be tax consequences, but let them know retiring early is possible.
3. They own a business. Their wealth is tied up in the business they started or inherited. They have grown children who are also involved in the business. The children might likely want to take on more responsibility but don’t want to be seen as pushing the parents out of the firm.
Strategy: Have this conversation with your client. What are their plans for retirement? What’s stopping them? Can the business, through the pension plan, provide them with a comfortable retirement? Could they give the next generation more responsibility and collect income from the dividends the business distributes to the owners? Get them thinking about succession planning.
4. Their spouse is still working. This often happens when both clients on the joint account are in the public sector. Each qualifies for some sort of pension benefits, but they haven’t planned ahead, assuming they will wait until the second person retires.
Strategy: Encourage them to start preparing for that day. What will they do next? Do they have enough income from all sources? If so, what are their early retirement options? Is it really worthwhile to stick it out for a few more years? Would they prefer enjoying themselves now, if they can afford it?
5. They love what they do. This is a great problem to have, isn’t it? You wake up every day thrilled to get to your desk! You have provided for a comfortable retirement, but are in no hurry. There are still job-related stresses, but they can be dealt with.
Strategy: Your client sees two options: Working and not working. If they can afford to retire, help them broaden their options: Retire and do consulting; retire and volunteer; retire and write; retire and teach. Show them they can afford to have more control over their lives. They can have their cake and eat it too.
6. They haven’t considered the health question. They are around retirement age and in great health. They’ve always wanted to travel. Why not retire now, if they can afford it? Do so while they are able to get around easily. There may come a time when one of them becomes ill and the other is their caregiver. Maximize their healthy years together.
Strategy: Health is an asset that isn’t included on their net worth statement. It’s literally priceless. Talk about what your clients want to do in retirement. Ask what they are waiting for?
7. Their children don’t want their inheritance spent. They see their parent’s net worth as their own early retirement plan. They prefer their parents stay in harness and keep saving, not spending. They are greedy.
Strategy: This is a tough one. The kids are unlikely to say: “Stop spending our inheritance!” You can actually buy signs that say: “When you travel, go first class. If you don’t, your kids will.” The parents gave their children great lives and the opportunity for great careers. Your clients need to realize it’s fine for them to enjoy the wealth they have spent a lifetime accumulating. There should be enough left over for their kids.
8. Seniors who rent. A large percentage of seniors rent homes, apartments etc. Today’s rental qualifications requires applicants to earn 3 1/2 times the rent amount to qualify to live in a nice apartment.
Strategy: States must introduce new legislation to remove the senior discrimination in rental qualifications. Person age 50 and up shouldn’t be required to earn 3 1/2 times the rent amount to live in a middle class neighborhood. Contact your local state representative request new legislation against senior housing/rentals.
Retirement is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Help your seniors know when it’s within reach.