The face of retirement planning is changing.  It is becoming broader with increasing needs, wants, and expectation across multiple topics. Retirement is becoming more colorful and vivid with retirees seeking more meaning, purpose, and challenge given increased longevity and wealth.

In Part 1, I summarized recent research about the changing face of retirement planning. Each of the following three studies provides wonderful insights into why and how retirement, and planning for this transition, is evolving.

Beyond Finances: Holistic Life Planning Trends Among Advisors
This study was sponsored by Equitable and produced by IN Research.  It looks at the importance of holistic planning. As the study notes- the relationship with clients is evolving from one where the advisor was primarily focused on managing money to being a life manager. Conversations with clients are getting deeper and broader.

The Future of Client-Advisor Relationships
This study was a collaboration between AIG Life & Retirement and MIT AgeLab. It examines the role advisors play as clients seek more than portfolio performance, financial expertise, and good service. It is divided into two parts.

As the authors point out, this may pose a challenge for financial professionals, but even more so an opportunity to broaden and deepen their client relationships- to satisfy and retain older clients, and to attract and delight the next generation of clients- by better understanding the changing needs, expectations, and relationship preferences at each age and stage of the financial lifecycle.

The Four Pillars of the New Retirement
This study was produced by Edward Jones and Age Wave.  They sought to more deeply understand the retirement-related hopes, dreams, and fears of their clients, their families, and our communities. As the authors explain, they explored a new, holistic framework with a deep examination of the four central “pillars” for living well in retirement- health, family, purpose, and finances.  Three of the four pillars are not focused on money.

They go on to note: Understanding the way our clients are viewing retirement improves our ability to serve them in a human-centered way and help them each achieve what’s most important to them and their families.

This landmark study reveals that, more than ever before, retirement is far more than a destination or an end point; it’s the beginning of a new journey filled with twists and turns as well as new possibilities and new questions.

In Part 2, I highlighted the similarities and common themes among the studies, what is missing in the studies, and point out how understanding these changes can benefit financial advisory firm clients as well as the advisor/company.

In Part 3, the demographic trends are examined to point out the strategic benefits from providing valued-added services to this group of clients.  Whether your firm is large or small, helping clients navigate the non-financial side of retirement can be implemented in your firm.

Let’s us look at the strategic advantage of focusing on the specific needs of age 50+ clients.


The book What Retirees Want points out that currently in the U.S., people over age 50 represent 35% of the entire population and 44% of the adult population. This age group controls 76% of the total net worth of U.S. households. Only ten years from now- Gen-Xers will turn sixty-five, the first Millennials will turn fifty.

It has also been noted that Boomers will represent more than 80% of financial industry profits over the next 15 years.

Take a moment to think about the market that holds this wealth!

How will you differentiate the services you provide for this group?

As the demographic trend and proportion of assets illustrates, the needs and wants of pre-retirees and retirees discussed in Part 2 need to be addressed now.  The value and importance of planning for both the non-financial side of life in retirement as well as issues relating to longevity in retirement will only continue to increase.

In a 2019 Schwab Study advisors were asked two questions about future firm growth.

Question 1: Thinking about the growth of your firm over the next five years in terms of net new assets, what percentage do you expect to come from existing and new clients (organic growth), and what percentage do you expect to come from outside investments or transactions (inorganic growth)?

Advisors Response: 84% of growth from new and existing clients. 48% from new to firm clients. 36% from existing clients

Question 2: Which category (age demographic) best represents most of your new-to-firm clients?

Advisors Response: 64% would be Boomers. 30% would be Gen X.

Combining these two responses together, it appears advisors believe much of their near-term growth will come from new and existing Boomers.

If your firm’s goal is to increase net new assets- and the 50+ age group represents 44% of the adult population, 10,000 people are reaching retirement age per day, and nearly 20% of the U.S. population will be age 65 and older by 2030…

Where will firm growth come from and how will this happen?

What age group will likely make up a large part of your client base?

Further, it has also been reported that there is approximately $2.5 trillion in retirement plan assets owned by participants aged 55 and older. Positioning oneself to capture the rollover will be the impetus for who will be prepared gather and serve more clients. Providing the right mix of services for this group will put firms in an enviable position to seize this market.

What services do you need to provide to get this group to want to work with your firm? What do/will they need, want and expect?

What separates what you do for clients from the firm down the street?

It is clear where growth and profitability lies. But what if markets do not continue to drive a portion of your growth going forward like they have in the recent past- where will your growth come from?

If growth isn’t of primary concern, providing services that assist clients in planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives shows a level of caring and concern.  This helps develop client/advisor relationships that are more trusting and satisfying.  Your value to clients increases.


From the studies highlighted in Part 1 & Part 2, the research in my paper, and the demographic and wealth distribution shift, the picture becomes clear that financial advisory firms would benefit from providing additional non-financial services to this group.  Clients are seeking this type of guidance and the financial advice industry is in the perfect position to benefit from providing this guidance. Innovative and forward-thinking firms will take advantage of this opportunity.

Examining the demographics and where growth and profitability will likely come from, the pre-retiree and retiree market is ripe for the evolutionary change in retirement planning that the research in Parts 1 and 2 (and thus far in Part 3) highlighted.

In Part 2, it was noted that the studies pointed to increased client trust and satisfaction in their financial advisor when conversations go beyond money topics. Deeper relationships come about when money is not the focal point of the relationship.

Clients want to discuss these non-financial topics if the advisor is willing and able to discuss them.

Advisors need to equip themselves with the right tools, resources, and team to make sure these non-financial conversations and planning take place.

Stay tuned for Part 4 which I will share how your firm can implement non-financial retirement lifestyle planning highlighted in Parts 1 & 2.

Contact me to begin the conversation of how to create a vibrant retirement for your clients that will benefit both your clients and your firm.