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Guest Thinkers

Navigating Longevity: Managing Complexity & the New Future of Financial Advice

Old age is not what it used to be.  Pensions were defined and assured. Not for all, but the ‘dream’ of retirement was a sunny day at the beach. The time between end of work and the ‘inevitable’ was reasonably short. Today, it is very possible that you have at least two-plus decades or more of life after what is called retirement age today. The problem and the opportunity for societies around the world is that we have yet to write what the new future of longer life is going to look like, what you will be doing, what you’ll need, and frankly how much it will cost? 

These questions and the inherent ambiguity of two-plus decades of uncharted living is the new opportunity for financial advisors – among a large number of other professionals. Financial planning firms, advisers, and wholesalers who develop new products should view the new complexity of longer life as a call to innovate.

Many of the challenges associated with longevity have been noted in a previous post (Managing Complexity & Innovating an “Easy Button” for Old Age). 

Given the vital importance of how well an individual or family can manage that complexity is to quality of life, my MIT AgeLab colleagues and I are executing an extensive research agenda around the future of advice and information seeking for the 45+. This work touches on health and well-being, financial services, and all the big and little things that often go into old age and caregiving. I will be writing and speaking extensively to business and government on this topic in coming months.

Some of my preliminary thoughts on how the next generation of retirees – the baby boomers – will change the future of financial advice is captured in a recent interview with Elizabeth Wine in OnWallStreet Magazine. Click here to read the Five Questions interview with OnWallStreet which touches on how financial advisors will change, the real needs and attitudes of consumers today, what future retirement products may look like; and, is the new future of retirement the end of sunny strolls on the beach? 


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