In an earlier post, we mentioned MIT’s AgeLab founder and director, Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin’s recent post, “Why Baby Boomer Retirement Will Be An Improv Act” and how retirement and aging is being redefined every day. Retirement has shifted away from being a time of dependence to one of blind independence. Gone are the days of depending on your family members, your employer and your government for support. Now, retirees have to fend for themselves, but aren’t exactly sure how. According to Dr. Coughlin, “People tend to learn from examples or from stories handed down from previous generations – but there are few stories to navigate the new context of aging and retirement for the baby boomers.”
This requires boomers to become spontaneous improv artists as they navigate their Golden Years 2.0. We believe it is even more important to understand your life goals and financial plan in order to successfully pull off this new version of retirement.
That may seem daunting, but good planning can help make these decisions feel less blind. As Coughlin predicts in his recent post; organizations, technologies, services and professions will change to accommodate this improvised retirement. It is obvious to me that the financial advisor is definitely one of these professions, and Coughlin agrees. Not only does he believe that the wealth management profession will change, but he also predicts that financial advisors will become “conversant in non-financial matters of longevity planning, e.g., health costs, aging-in-place services, care giving, extended work life, etc.” in order to better serve their clients’ financial advisory needs.
At Laird Norton Wealth Management, we’ve always believed this to be true, which is why we try to encourage the growth of both human and financial capital. In fact, we have a dedicated ‘Elder Planning Group’ that has expertise in the issues associated with aging. Instead of improvising their way through the six main retirement concerns outlined in Coughlin’s post, we help our clients plan for and ultimately live the retirement they expect.