On January 1st, 2011, and every day since, 10,000 baby boomers have turned 65. This trend is expected to continue for the next 18 years. According to the Urban Institute, these baby boomers have lost up to 10% of their retirement savings since the crisis of 2008. Despite the financial crisis affecting the majority of people with investments in the stock market, many seniors have been unsure how to adapt their financial plan in response to recent market changes and losses. With over 30% of U.S. investors maintaining more than 80% of their 401k investments in equities, there could be devastating impacts for seniors if another crash occurred. With over 70% of baby boomers invested in the stock market prior to 2008, even if their savings weren't substantially affected, most boomers are at least thinking about their retirement more carefully. The critical opportunity here involves education, such as an in-depth analysis of how finances have been affected and how they can be repositioned to meet client financial needs.
Now more than ever, members of the public are concerned about their retirement security. In a 2011 survey by Lake Research Partners, 88% of voters expressed concern about maintaining a comfortable standard of living in retirement, and 52% of those responders were very concerned. In October of 2009, approximately one year after the beginning of the financial crisis, 58% of affluent Americans were concerned about the economy's impact on their ability to save. Since 2009, this number has shrunk to only 49%, despite recent claims about economic improvements and stock market stabilization. The number one fear of today's baby boomer generation is their loss of independence. More and more retirees are realizing this potential threat to their retirement. Many of these people purchased life insurance at some point in their working years. Most financial decisions occurred at targeted points in a person's life: marriage, home purchase, birth of a child, retirement. As more people transition into the retirement ages, it's time for another financial conversation about whether their products still meet those needs.
Life expectancies are rising alongside healthcare costs. Of recently surveyed seniors, 62% identified health care as their top concern and felt unsure about how to incorporate that into their retirement plans. Additionally, 61% of seniors are uncertain about the ability of their assets to match their income needs in retirement, leading to increased concern about whether they will be able to pursue the retirement lifestyle they had hoped for. In the early years of their retirement, more seniors are aware of the impact that rising healthcare costs have on them. Many are interested in obtaining cash to pay for that healthcare now.
Some seniors are working longer, too. Many feel unprepared to enter retirement based on their savings and now continue to work past age 65. When faced with the opportunity to reduce that retirement age through the sale of an unneeded life insurance policy, a life insurance settlement can provide peace of mind and a more comfortable retirement. That supplemental cash could significantly boost a nest egg. For example, a 71 years old planning to continue working another two years would likely welcome the opportunity to stop working now and use the life settlement proceeds to serve as retirement income.
Many seniors and retirees are considering cashing in their life insurance policies to provide increased financial security. In the golden years, there is less of a need for a beneficiary payout, since many people purchase and maintain coverage during their working years to protect spouses and children. It's likely that children have finished their education and left the nest, so there is less immediate concern about providing support. Seniors are now more likely to be concerned about their own well-being entering retirement given the recent turbulence in the stock market.
Older policies are seeing significant increases in the cost of insurance, making premium payments less affordable. More seniors are weighing the benefits of paying these higher premiums to maintain coverage they may no longer need. Some seniors simply choose to let the coverage lapse, eliminating premium payments, but losing the value of the policy. Open the conversation by meeting your client where they are at. Discuss how they are affected so far and what options they have for becoming more financially secure in the short and long-term. This is your opportunity to help clients understand the benefits of a Life Settlement.
Life settlements present a unique opportunity to dispose of unwanted policies and address current needs. If you are an adviser, position yourself to help assuage the concerns over lost independence. With an average offer from a life insurance settlement at 24.41% of the face amount, settlements are a highly viable option when compared with an average cash surrender value of 4.09%. Using this information to leverage your client's concerns about financial security, retirement, and increasing health care costs is an excellent opportunity to reevaluate their financial needs.