, of which almost half have not had any meaningful conversations about retirement or how to save for it. Are these going to be the “lost generations” for our industry? I certainly hope not, but our challenge lies ahead in connecting with these groups. A recent study revealed that 51% of Millennials were calculating their retirement based not on sound financial calculations, but rather, on what they called “an educated guess.” The Gen Xers didn’t respond any more favorably about this issue, with 55% of them saying that “they will somehow figure it out once they get there.” Not real encouraging for the long term growth of our business. Is it too late for these two groups? Of course not. There is still ample time to correct their misconceptions and get them on the right track to planning for retirement. I like to use real life experiences in writing as it seems to hit home a little better. I have two sons that are Gen Xers and each has chosen very different paths in life. Even though they are going through life on different paths, both have come to the same conclusion about saving for retirement. My youngest son who is in our business took it to heart right away that he needed to plan for the future. He is preparing for his future where he won’t be able to work or will want to stop working and needs to set aside funds for those circumstances. He is on a good path, even though he has small children, college expenses and possibly weddings to pay for in the future. He put a plan in place and has stuck with it. Not easy sometimes, but discipline won out. My oldest son, who became an educator, was never very interested in having discussions about their financial future or how they would get there. I learned to not push too much with him about this issue as his take on things varies considerably from mine. He recently changed careers and asked me to sit down with him and put a plan together for him to continue saving for their future. I was amazed at what he had done on his own without any meaningful advice from me about saving for retirement. I had always thought that this kind of “stuff” just wasn’t important to him. Guess what, it is. Different paths, but the end results come out close to the same for each of them. Sometimes it is the little off-the-cuff things we say that have the most meaning. I did no formal push with either one of them about saving for retirement, but always made sure they knew what I was doing and why. Sometimes I was more frank than other times, but they always got the message. Maybe we have to do the same with our clients. Over time it might be the little frank things that we do or say that will make the difference. These are generations that have a much skewed view of Social Security and its health. We need to make sure that they are getting the message, either formally or off-the-cuff. Our industry’s future depends upon it.
We are all financial professionals and our role is to fit the proper product and planning to the problem the client is trying to solve. When positioning an annuity, sometimes we think the product with the most options available is the proper tool, when often it’s not the best approach. Nothing is free and riders typically have a cost that can impact the ultimate solution that we’re trying to provide. With improper planning we can end up with the “never gonna use” riders (I call them NGU’s). In many situations, the simple, “vanilla” indexed annuity can benefit your clients and avoid the cost of the NGU riders. With all the moving parts in annuities today, we can narrow down our carrier and product choices by simply finding out the end goal for the asset. Are they simply trying to protect retirement funds from market losses, trying to provide lifetime income today or in the future or just re-positioning CD/money market funds for a short period looking for a better return? Finding out the answer to those questions certainly narrows down the choices, provides a better product fit and gives you more credibility today and in the future. I can help you navigate the wide-array of product choices and find the solution that makes the most sense for each client-specific situation. Give me a call today at 800-397-9999!