Filed Under:Life Insurance, Sales Strategies

3 essential screenings for a financial checkup

Opinion

We all need checkups. As a financial professional, you have meetings with clients that are little different from the preventive visits they have with doctors. They have chosen you to help them navigate what can be rough seas and develop a trusting relationship that will last for many years to come.

Sometimes financial professionals miss the mark and neglect three fronts that would serve their clients better, strengthen their relationships and grow their bottom line.

If you've been involved with long-term care (LTC) planning for years, you know the drill. If you're just starting out in this area, how diligent have you been about giving your clients these three screenings?

pink piggy bank health cost

1. Assessing their state of health and long-term care cost literacy. 

Your clients need to learn the facts about health costs ahead of time, so that you can work together to help formulate the right plan for their needs. Here’s a staggering statistic to break the ice: A 65-year-old couple retiring this year needs an average of $220,000 to pay for medical costs throughout their retirement (Fidelity).

That figure doesn’t even include long-term care costs which continue to grow. Add that to the fact that two-thirds of working households age 55-64 with at least one earner have retirement savings less than one times their annual income, which is far below what they will need to maintain their standard of living in retirement (National Institute on Retirement Security). You can see that now is the time to start this discussion candidly with your clients.

See also: LTC: The financial impact

Is long-term care insurance right for everyone? Not necessarily, but the conversation is imperative and if your clients don’t receive it from you, they will find it elsewhere. Time and again, I see financial professionals lose out when their clients buy long-term care insurance on their own because the subject was never broached with their financial professional.

Get to know the cost of care in your own community which varies substantially from region to region (the annual Genworth Cost of Care survey by state is a good starting point). Above all, don’t delay... there is too much at stake for you and them.

lifesaver

2. Verifying whether your clients who are women, or are related to women, understand how women fit into the planning equation.

You owe it to all your clients to develop well-rounded strategies... that’s why they choose you rather than the next financial professional. Yet, I see half of all clients are often left out of financial discussions and decisions right in their financial professional’s office! More than half of women (51 percent) seek advice and/or prefer to rely on outside experts to manage and monitor their retirement savings (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies).

See also: The real market

With many marriages ending in divorce and 70 percent of women outliving their husbands (Administration on Aging) and becoming solely responsible for their finances, it’s imperative that you understand and address the needs of your female clients rather than become another statistic: a staggering 70 percent of widows leave their financial professionals within three years following the death of their husbands (Fidelity Investments).

Start by understanding their unique role as caregivers. Think about the women in your own life -- how many of them have spent time care giving to their children, spouse or parents? Chances are they all have. In fact, one in three women (31 percent) expect to provide financial support for aging parents or another family member (Transamerica Retirement Survey).

Adding to this issue is that women outlive men on average, and often by many years. Not surprisingly, the most common concern for them is outliving the savings. Don’t neglect your female clients, even if they aren’t used to discussing these topics.

father and son

3. Looking to see whether younger clients have thought about both their parents and their children.

Be sure to address your younger clients' and working clients’ plans for their own aging parents and the costs associated with caring for parents.

Life insurance is another no-brainer that covers its beneficiaries in many ways from paying off debts and mortgages to funding education and burial expenses.

Do all of your clients have life insurance? Male and female? Working and stay-at-home?

Families are often ill-equipped for the financial cost of everything from child care and homework tutoring to caring for a spouse or parent in old age. If you have clients who are raising their own families, do not delay conversations about these topics.

See also: The chilly season

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