The Myth of That “Nice Long Life Ahead” at Age 65

The Myth of That “Nice Long Life Ahead” at Age 65

Probably I’m not the only one who has seen the deluge of ads on TV for Medicare supplement insurance.
 

One that really bothers me though is the bit with the actress saying she’s only in her 60s and “I’ve got a nice long life ahead.” She’s so smug and so sure she’s just fine and will stay that way.

The ad taps into the belief most people cherish, which is that impairments happen to other people and that they will just keep being fine, at any age. People say they want to live to be 100. Their imagination is that they will be perfectly capable in all ways and will not need any help at 100. That is belief, not truth.

What makes a “nice long life” anyway? No one ever wants to think about infirmity and cognitive decline. And yet, by the time we reach that nice old age of 85 at least one in three of us, and maybe even one in two will have Alzheimer’s disease. Not so nice. And oh, by the way, that supplement insurance the actress is promoting doesn’t pay for care if you need it at home long term. Neither does Medicare.

Every financial planner who has a client over age 65 needs to be considering that the “nice long life” that is part of our cultural fantasy is indeed dreaming for most people. It’s not about longevity. That we’ve probably got. It’s about good health in old age. That, we have definitely not totally figured out. As 10,000 people a day are now turning 70, it’s time to get past fantasy and consider how to make that long life a lot safer financially.

Are your client’s assets enough to pay for the care they are likely to need? If not, you, the client and her family must engage in the essential discussion about who will care for the client as she ages and how much it will likely cost. One must do the math. The cost of caring for someone with dementia at home is staggering. And the advisor needs to calculate it. This is not considering the usual figures thrown around about “the average couple at age 65 will spend “x” dollars on out of pocket medical expenses for their lifetimes”. None of those commonly used figures consider what it may cost to pay for a person with Alzheimer’s disease who lives for 7-20 years with the disease. Help from someone will be absolutely necessary for anyone with dementia.

Your portfolio review with a client at retirement is a good time to talk it over and bring up the actual, not fantasy prospects for the future. And here’s hoping you will not be influenced by stupid TV commercials about what the future may look like. Longevity can be wonderful, yes, and you can help make it financially safer for your older clients. A nice long life is certainly possible. And a long life with accessible assets to cover long-term home care near the last phase of life is ideal.

Dr. Mikol Davis. Ed.D
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Dr. Mikol Davis, Ed.D, is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in geriatrics and the emotional challenges of aging. He has been a mental health provider for 40 years, ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, April 17-21, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!


1. Market Keeping You up at Night? Look for the Right Hedge


Like so many others in the industry, I was wrong. For years, I was certain that the bull market was nearing its end. I thought the market was over-extended, and that, surely, the wild equities run was coming to an end. But everyone else was bullish, and perhaps rightfully so. And while I’ve watched equities continue on their spectacular rise, I do think now is the time (really!) to put a hedge in place. Here’s why. Here’s how. — Adam Patti

2. How to Manage Bond Market Pain and Seek the Gain When Rates Are Rising


The realities for fixed income investors have changed. How is this being reflected in markets? Bond investing has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. Markets have been heavily distorted by ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as by extreme risk aversion in response to the global economic crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. — Nick Gartside

3. Seven Reasons You'll Fail as a Financial Advisor


Is being a financial advisor worth it? I am an optimistic person and I encourage other people to keep a positive mental attitude (shout-out to Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone). However, by taking a good, hard look at the negatives in life, we can successfully pivot towards the positive aspects that will help us achieve our goals. — James Pollard

4. The Secret to Turning Every Prospect into a Client


How do you treat one of your most valued, existing clients? Here’s a list of some things that come to mind. — Andrew Sobel

5. Why Do Clients Change Advisors?


According to many advisors I speak with, the only clients that leave are those who have died. And while attrition may not be a big problem in this industry, I have to assume that at least a few clients change advisors without doing so via the funeral home. — Julie Littlechild

6. Why You Should Focus on Getting Referral Sources


I was talking with an advisor last week about how to get into conversations about what he does. He was relaying the story of going jogging with a friend who could be a good client but is, more importantly, connected to a large network of people who fit this advisors ideal client description. — Stephen Wershing

7. How Big Picture Thinkers Seize More Opportunities in 7 Steps


Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate. — Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini

8. 5 Actions to Build Your Reputation


Your reputation is who you are and how you show up, Monday to Monday®.  Many of us take our image and reputation for granted.  Give careful thought to the kind of reputation that you would be proud of Monday to Monday® and that would resonate with your purpose and priorities. — Stacey Hanke

9. How Are You Poised to Begin Welcoming GenZ to Your Workplace?


The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. — Shirley Engelmeier

10. Are Price Objections REALLY Price Objections?


Next time you hear your prospects give you price objections, it’s not because of the price. The give price objections because they don’t know the full value proposition that they’d be paying for. And it’s not based on their need, or your features and functions. It’s based on the buying criteria they want to meet internally. — Sofia Carter

11. Understanding the Economic Value of Transition Deals


Last week we wrote about the economic rationale behind going independent vs. moving to another major firm as an employee. As a follow-up topic, we thought it prudent to analyze transition packages attached to big firm moves and peel back the layers of the onion to show the components of these deals. — Louis Diamond

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio