Networking up the Family Tree: Helping the Sandwich Generation Can Help Your Practice Thrive

Networking up the Family Tree: Helping the Sandwich Generation Can Help Your Practice Thrive

As you help your clients plan for retirement, there are multiple challenges that can threaten their ability to reach their financial goals. The expense of raising children certainly ranks near the top, but when caring for aging parents is added to the mix, clients who are juggling the responsibilities of careers, college-bound teenagers, and parents in their 70s and 80s can feel like they’re bearing the weight of the world on their shoulders. It’s no wonder they’re called the “sandwich generation.” It’s a confluence of events that can be immensely draining—both emotionally and financially.

For financial advisors, this presents a unique opportunity to help everyone involved. By lending a hand during this challenging time, you can help your existing clients preserve and protect their hard-earned retirement savings. At the same time, you can help the older generation manage the details of their estate to help ensure their own assets last for the rest of their lives and ease the transfer of wealth to their children after death. Here are five steps to help expand your practice across generations:

1. Offer emotional support.

Growing older is inevitable, but it can be difficult to accept the fact that parents are aging. They may feel sad, helpless, and overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for Mom and Dad. Because this added burden often comes just as couples are becoming empty-nesters, they may also feel some level of guilt for not wanting to have to take on this added responsibility. Talk though these feelings and be willing to share your experiences with your own parents. Assure your clients that whatever feelings may come up are normal—and that planning for the inevitable can help ease the road ahead.

2. Introduce the need for multi-generational planning.

Open the door to the idea of multi-generational planning by asking clients if they’ve spoken to their parents about the legal, medical, and financial issues that come with aging. Discuss how a lack of planning on their parents’ part can impact their own plans for the future. Walk through some basic scenarios, including what would happen to their long-term financial security if their parents fail to plan for the inevitable. Suggest that your clients broach the topic with their parents and offer the guide Your aging parents and you to support the conversation.

Related: Worried About Wealth Transfer? It's Time for the Human Touch

3. Become a valuable resource to the whole family.

Not all of the challenges of aging are financial, but nearly all of them have the power to impact the finances of the entire family. Rather than focusing solely on dollars and cents, offer to help your clients and their parents understand how to plan for the future. Suggest sitting down with their parents for an hour at no charge to explore what plans are in place and identify what tasks need to be handled next. Walk through housing options and costs, healthcare expenses and payment strategies, and the importance of having a Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney in place before an event occurs that requires either one. Lastly, share how a lack of planning can create emotional stress and the potential for financial difficulties for their adult children in the future.

4. Suggest a formal financial planning relationship.

If the parents do need additional help, talk to them about how your financial planning services can make a difference—even at this late stage. For most seniors, outliving their assets is their biggest fear, and yet many don’t have a clear retirement income strategy or a plan to tax-efficiently transfer their wealth to their children and grandchildren. Discuss how careful planning can help address both challenges, and offer to work together with both generations to create a clear plan that includes income planning, legacy planning, beneficiary designations, estate planning, long-term care planning, and asset management.

5. Prepare to “serve two masters.”

Once your new client relationship is in place, you will inevitably be faced with serving two masters: your younger clients and their parents. Until the time that a Durable Power of Attorney is executed, confidentiality is key, and you will need to walk this line carefully. To serve both generations to the best of your abilities while also honoring your confidentiality agreements with each party, be clear about which details can be shared—and have that permission granted in writing. To facilitate decisions that will impact everyone involved, suggest family planning meetings. This approach can help you offer valuable guidance without putting either client relationship at risk.

Related: Your Clients Need More Than a Robo-Advisor!

As your clients’ trusted advisor, protecting their wealth is your primary responsibility. For clients in the sandwich generation, this can be a unique challenge. By offering to help your clients’ parents take control of their own finances, you can help reduce the financial and emotional impact of aging for the whole family. Not only can this approach help you build even greater client trust, but it can also expand your reach across generations and, perhaps most importantly, ensure that the wealth of the whole family is protected and under your care for years to come.

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Disclosure: The information and opinions herein are for general information use only. The opinions reflect those of the writers but not necessarily those of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). NYLIM does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, nor does New York Life Investment Management LLC assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Such information and opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security or as personalized investment advice.
Laura McCarron
Building Smarter Portfolios
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Laura joined New York Life & MainStay Investments in 2009, and is currently the Director of Value Add Marketing. She is responsible for the development of investor educati ... Click for full bio

China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity

China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity

Written by: Jeremie Capron

China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.

For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.

You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.

Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.

As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.

Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.

To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.

Related: Smooth Tomorrow's Market Volatility With a Smart Approach to Robotics & AI

Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.

Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.

Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.

Want all the details? Download the ROBO Global Investment Report - Summer Brings Best ROBO Earnings in Six Years or visit us here.

ROBO Global
Robotics and AI
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ROBO Global LLC is the creator of the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index series, which provides comprehensive, transparent and diversified benchmarks representing the ... Click for full bio