When it comes to retirement planning, financial advisors shouldn’t forget to factor in the roof above their clients’ head. According to a recent survey of 506 advisors by Legg Mason, just 14% of advisors said they’ve helped their clients develop specific plans to address their future long-term housing needs such as downsizing, moving to a retirement community or preparing for advanced care.

Conversely, 45% of advisors said they’ve “personally considered other housing options” for their own retirement.

So what’s the holdup when it comes to dealing with clients’ long-term housing needs? The main reason, advisors said, is that clients don’t ask about it. And 26% of advisors who don’t help clients plan for housing in retirement said they don’t feel knowledgeable enough about the topic to address it.

Advisors said the top three aging-related challenges they work on with clients are having enough money in retirement (65%), wealth transfer (34%) and retirement plans––i.e., think “bucket list” (24%).

That said, advisors indicated in the survey that they expect a large number of clients will be moving during their retirement years. Among the respondents, advisors said 27% of their clients will downsize from their current home and will likely do so when they are 70 years old, while 25% will move into a retirement community around the time they are 74, and 22% will move into a facility that provides a level of medical care around the time they are 79.

“Planning for the financial implications of housing choices should become a much higher priority for aging investors and their advisors,” said Kathleen Pritchard, managing director, head of advisor business development at Legg Mason. “Every decision around housing has significant economic implications.

If someone wants to age in place, chances are they will have to substantially modify their home to make it age-safe. Moving to a retirement community, assisted-living community or nursing home can deplete savings if the appropriate planning has not been done. Unfortunately, many people are forced to deal with the issue when it’s too late––when a fall or ailment takes the choice out of their hands.”

Seeing a need to help advisors work with their clients and plan for their long-term housing needs, Legg Mason collaborated with the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing to create a new advisor education program, including a 108-page workbook, called Aging and Its Financial Implications: Planning for Housing.

The program and workbook provide insights and research on aging provided by Johns Hopkins University––which has done extensive work on the subject––with practical, useful tools and techniques designed for advisors to use with their clients and their clients’ family members.

The Planning for Housing program includes in-depth analysis and helpful checklists on many different aspects of the issue, such as assessing housing needs; the cost of housing options; preparing for aging in place; explaining various housing options including case studies and worksheets for each; and a 12-page home safety assessment checklist.

For more information, or to download a copy of Legg Mason’s Aging and Its Financial Implications: Planning for Housing workbook, please visit www.myleggmason.com/aging.