“Are you ready?” my wife murmured to me. I was quick to respond, “Yes, I want to get this shoulder thing figured out,” as I walked towards the door and an early morning MRI appointment at our local hospital.

I am a little embarrassed to say that I wasn’t really processing what an MRI entailed. I just assumed they were going to slap some gel on my arm and wave a wand-like ultrasound type of machine over it to see what the problem was. I had no idea I was going to be slid into a claustrophobic coffin and told not to move for 25 minutes.

It was my first MRI and it was terrifying. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Which is hard for me to say because I’m an old school, hard-nosed football guy who doesn’t flinch at much, but for some reason this one rattled me. Fortunately, I’m not alone. One study I found stated that 14% of MRI patients require some form of sedation to undergo the scan.

For whatever reason, once I was finally in the machine, I was struck with anxiety. I imagined I couldn’t get out or I would be stuck there for days, or like I was being stuffed into a coffin. I wasn’t told to close my eyes or put something over my eyes, and wasn’t offered any music or anything familiar to comfort the situation. I clicked the button to come out.

Truth of the matter is, I see a lot of similarities between my MRI scan and how people head into retirement. This is important for advisors, because as the financial services industry continues to move toward a model where clients want more than financial advice, professionals need to develop new skills and strategies to connect more deeply with clients on the non-financial aspects of retirement.

In this case I am using an MRI scan to help highlight similar fears that people may have about life after work. In fact a recent study by Zety found that 40% of Americans actually fear retirement more than death.

According to the survey, the No. 1 fear Americans have about retirement is having a lack of income, with 87% saying that this scares them. Other fears include losing employment-based healthcare benefits and medical insurance (77%), not keeping mentally active (71%), not keeping physically active (64%) and not having social and friendship networks associated with work (50%).

I want to encourage you to reread those statistics, because for the first time you will start to see that retirement fears go beyond money and insurance to include mental and physical health as well as social well-being. This is why advisors need to start breaking out of their old and outdated mindset that it’s all about helping clients replace their income and figuring out Social Security and Medicare.

Think of this new narrative the same way you help clients understand various financial concepts. Back in my early training days, it was common for clients to ask what a mutual fund was and how it was different from a single share of stock. The analogy I was taught and used was that a mutual fund was more like a multi-pane window whereas a share of stock was more like a single pane window.

As the analogy went, the idea was that a multi-pane window reduces risk, because if a neighborhood kid throws a rock or hits a ball through the window, it only breaks a small piece that can be easily replaced. On the other hand, a larger single pane window would need to be completely replaced and cost more.

First « 1 2 » Next