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Retirement Planning

Clients afraid to retire? Here's how to help them get over fear of the future

You may be focused on preparing your clients for eventual retirement, but do you know how they feel about retirement? It may come as a surprise that many Americans report a fear of retirement — and among those, 40% say they fear retirement more than death.

As a financial professional, you are in a position to understand why your clients may be fearful about retirement and help guide them through and beyond those fears.

Reasons clients may fear retirement

Why do people have uneasy feelings about retirement? While a general fear of the future is common, specific fears about retirement are often based on concerns about finances, social interaction and health issues.

For example, in the survey by Zety:

  • 87% said they are most afraid of a lack of income during retirement
  • 70% are most afraid of losing healthcare benefits or not staying mentally active
  • 50% said they are most afraid of losing social and friendship networks

As a financial professional, you can help your clients plan financially for retirement, and that may help alleviate some of their concerns. But working effectively with clients to create a successful plan will require more than just tactical planning. You'll also need to tap into soft skills to convince your clients that you hear them, understand their fears and are willing to partner with them to overcome the challenges ahead.

How to help clients face fear of the future

You may know the most common reasons people fear retirement, but remember that every individual is unique. You have the opportunity to spend time with your clients and talk through any concerns they have and to help equip them to face those concerns.

To make a difference for your clients (and earn their loyalty and referrals), you need to be able to connect with them emotionally. This means understanding their point of view and helping them to take steps to help alleviate their fears.

1. Check in regularly and listen carefully

Make sure you have regular check-ins with clients about their retirement goals, but during those check-in meetings, don't just talk about finances. Make time to ask your clients how they're feeling about retirement, whether they have any worries or fears surrounding it, and if so, what worries them most. Don't assume you know what they're thinking. Focus on listening carefully and responding to what they actually say.

2. Be flexible and empathetic

When a client seems to be especially worried or fearful about retirement, be willing to pause your planned agenda and talk through those fears. Try to empathize with their situation and offer potential solutions, or suggestions, which may help put their concerns at ease.

For instance, if a client is resisting some of your suggestions, consider whether fear may be influencing them. Take time to ask how they're feeling about the recommendation and talk through how it's tempting to make decisions based on emotions like fear, but how that is unlikely to result in a satisfactory or positive outcome.

3. Provide education, resources and encouragement

It's possible for clients, and indeed anyone else, to retrain their brains to make different types of decisions than they have made in the past. Using empathy and education, you can help your clients start the process of renewing their thinking to avoid fear and focus on taking proven steps to avoid potential negative outcomes.

Get to know your clients' interests, what motivates them and what they need in retirement beyond financial stability. Make connections in your community and arm yourself with resources you can provide to clients that combat the non-financial fears they have.

It's also important to remind clients that while they should plan for the future, they should enjoy the present. Encourage clients to focus on their health and well-being, to stay mentally and physically active and to remain connected to friends and family now and into the future.

Want to continue making a difference for your clients? Learn how to help them reach their financial goals without fear.



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