Retirement as we know it isn’t dead yet. But for attendees at Financial Advisor’s Inside Retirement conference in late September, it was difficult not to come away thinking that the 20th century notion of one’s golden years was an anachronism.

Virtually all of the keynote speakers—Roger Ibbotson, Maddy Dychtwald, Mitch Anthony and Ric Edelman—addressed this from a variety of angles.

Ibbotson himself is a perfect example of what the ideal client of the future may aspire to do. After he sold his pension consulting business to Morningstar, he could easily have retired. Instead, he runs a hedge fund company, Zebra Capital, teaches as an adjunct professor at Yale, and serves as a consultant designing annuities, among other interests.

Baby boomers are “revisioning” retirement right before our eyes, Dychtwald told attendees. In 1986, when she and her husband, Ken Dychtwald, started Age Wave, 50 or 60 was considered old. Today, old is “older than I am,” she said.

Advisors understandably are focused on helping clients create a retirement paycheck. That’s their raison d’être.

But Age Wave’s research reveals that other concerns are more pressing for people approaching or in retirement. Significantly, pre-retirees fear that the absence of reliable income will be their biggest problem in retirement. Once they stop working, however, the lack of social connections becomes the top problem.

Only 29% of people surveyed by Age Wave want a traditional retirement, whereas most prefer some form of flextime. Fully 39% want to work part time and another 24% want to cycle between work and leisure.

To make the second half of life meaningful, people will need financial independence. For many Americans that goal remains elusive, but for a large cohort of financial advisors’ clients, it’s within reach. Anthony predicted that it will become something of “a badge of honor” to be working because you want to at age 85.

Going forward, advisors are going to need to transition their businesses to serving as life coaches, Edelman, an investor in Singularity University, told attendees. Advances in medicine are coming faster and faster, and he predicted that anyone who is alive by 2030 will live to 110 or 120.

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