My teenage children went on their first scavenger hunt in December. As they foraged around town collecting various trinkets, they were trying to make sense of all the cryptic messages within each new instruction before the other competing teams. When all the trinkets were collected, they were finally able to piece together the final clue that led them to the ultimate prize … pizza.
As we talked about their first experience as scavengers, my daughter said, “Dad, it was hard to connect the dots. But once I did, it all made perfect sense.” By the way, her team won the pizza.
For the Boomer clients many of us are seeking to effectively serve, one of the greatest struggles these individuals face is the ability to connect the dots. In other words, retirement planning is multi-faceted with many moving parts that need to be properly aligned so financial peace of mind can be a reality instead of just an obscure dream.
In our Peace of Mind University adult education series, we have validated a recent study conducted by Greenwald & Associates for the American College. This study, released this past September, highlighted that financial literacy was woefully lacking—especially for retirement income planning. Boomers in general couldn’t “connect the dots” when it came to three significant areas of planning:
1. How to preserve assets in retirement
2. Necessary action steps in pre-retirement
3. Knowledge of financial products
The article also pointed out that (among Boomers) there was a strong level of “false confidence” about financial knowledge. This had the unintended consequence of acting as a barrier to more effective planning, as misinformation made it more difficult for consumers to effectively connect the dots in such a way as to assure financial peace of mind in retirement.
Two things we have discovered in our Peace of Mind University adult education series is that today’s Boomers have a lot of questions that they want answered. Secondly, and more importantly, we are finding that there are a significant number of questions Boomers are not even aware they should be asking.
How can your clients connect the dots when they can’t even see the dots to connect?
Connecting the income dots are important as many of today’s Boomers still do not realize they could spend up to 1/3 of their lifetime in retirement. The vast majority have yet to count the cost of retirement as it relates to both fixed expenses and discretionary spending. For many, it is uncharted waters, and they lack certainty as to what their actual expenses in retirement will look like. But establishing a baseline is essential to crafting a plan to cover monthly expenses in retirement, as well as determining what resources (if any) remain to “play” with.