4 Facts and 4 Actions to Change Your Practice

4 Facts and 4 Actions to Change Your Practice

By now, you’ve heard that we’re seeing the largest shift in the workforce with 10,000 Americans retiring every day over the next decade (and longer). However, that number has been around for several years – since the first baby boomer reached retirement age. Hopefully, you’ve been changing the way you interact with clients for some time.

Income is the new outcome for those retiring. It’s no longer about saving and investing – it’s about making sure those assets last for the rest of our lives. More importantly, the shifts in our demographics should force us to rethink how we deliver value to our future clients.

The Facts

Below are some key changes in United States demographics that you should be considering: 1

  1. The number of Americans age 65 and older will more than double by 2060
  2. The older American population is becoming more diverse; the non-Hispanic white population will decrease 78.3 percent to 54.6 percent from 2014 to 2060
  3. Education levels are increasing, with 25 percent of the over age 65 population now having a bachelor’s degree or more
  4. A higher percentage of women are living alone later in life; 42 percent of women between ages 75-84 are living alone – this increases to 56 percent for age 85 and above

The Action

  1. The higher percentage of older Americans will add pressure to an already stretched entitlement and benefit system. We must recognize that our future state is unlikely to remain static as it will not be able to sustain itself indefinitely. Planning adjustments are prudent, especially for younger clients and beneficiaries.
  1. Our industry will have to adapt to cultural changes more than we have in the past. Those cultural differences will create new planning challenges as we see some cultures (and generations) lack the trust to care for loved ones, live in multi-family settings, and take pride in caring for the elderly themselves. Supporting the retiree plus those caregivers is a paradigm shift that we are just starting to feel.
  1. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the fact that more women are living alone. It’s less about living longer than their male counterparts. Instead, the divorce rate has climbed in conjunction with living longer. When you care for yourself, the need for long-term care will only escalate, regardless of males or females outliving their counterparts.
  1. Finally, our over age 65 population is getting smarter. Many of the baby boomers have attained advanced degrees. With technology, they have access to unlimited information via the internet and they know the right questions to ask in many situations. As a financial professional, your role should be more of guide as opposed to salesman. The currency of the future is education and information, not product sales. Our industry needs to rethink how we sell to this more educated group while delivering the value they need.


There is no doubt that the makeup of the United States is changing. We have to think about how our practices are going to adapt to the changing demographics. Otherwise, we will get left behind by wave. And, the size of the wave is enormous.

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1 Population Reference Bureau, Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States, January 2016: https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now – learn more at www.freethrowsforpros.com.