Understanding Baby Boomers’ complex life stages key to providing financial advice


Matt Brown

More so than any other generation, Baby Boomers’ current age bracket spans many different, and complex, life stages. For advisers, it pays to be attuned to the individual needs of each client, alongside understanding the assets and structures that are required for each stage in this period of life.

There are baby boomers currently transitioning into retirement, while others are already there, and some are preparing for care and considering their care solutions. It’s expected some five million Australians will surge into retirement between 2021 and 2027[1] – translating to an elevated focus on retirement issues and concerns including health care, aged care and aged-based financial concessions.

While age often factors into this equation, there’s no exact science for working out where a baby boomer sits along the scale and which of these issues will impact them the most.

For those entering retirement, focus needs to be placed on educating how much they should be saving, while retiree’s need to understand how much they’re able to draw down on capital saved in retirement.

The 2020 Retirement Income Review[2] found that many retirees have a lower standard of living than what they can afford due to concerns about outliving savings, future health and aged care costs, and complex information on how to maximise retirement incomes.

Pre-retirees seem to have the same concerns and may also be over saving based on misconceptions on how expensive retirement is, missing out on a higher standard of living in their working years.

For those boomers who are entering care, advisers need to be confident in preparing them for the transition and establishing structures to pay for required care. Boomers wanting to stay at home may need to free up wealth if they are asset rich and income poor. Alternatively, if clients are seeking to move into a residential community, advisers need to be across the bond required and income and asset assessments to make the transition smooth.

Of course, there’s a school of baby boomers who have neglected to think about financial wellbeing altogether and will need a prompt to ensure they’re able to support their lifestyle through their golden years.

While advisers need to be attuned to the cohorts’ different life stages, it’s also important to remember baby boomers typically like to engage with advisers differently to other generations.

When COVID-19 forced our whole industry to pivot online, with remote meetings and electronic signatures quickly becoming the norm, many baby boomers embraced the changes. But some have been more comfortable with the new processes than others, and those who aren’t may need that extra practical step to feel secure. It could be as simple as a 10-minute call to chat through the electronic signature software – it’s often the small, simple things that make such a difference.

Ultimately, the baby boomer cohort is diverse. Advisers need to cut through the clutter and focus on their client’s individual needs, to ensure they’re comfortably supported as they navigate through their financial needs in older age.

By Matt Brown


[1] https://www.firstlinks.com.au/turning-point-2020s-baby-boom-retirement-surge
[2] https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/p2020-100554-udcomplete-report.pdf

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