3. Creative artists. Advisors who grew up with Legos and the Rubik’s Cube have an advantage in this new era. Their ability to manage investment options and product features will be essential to stretch limited client assets. True wealth management is maximizing assets net of liabilities and income net of expenses. Advisors live on both sides of the balance sheet and income statement. Reducing risk and cost are valuable skills on a par with any investment gains. More new planning and product innovations on the liability/cost front will become necessary as the demand becomes clearer and liability products easier to acquire.

4. Longevity specialists. Most clients seeking advisors are looking for someone who “knows” them—who works with people just like them. Peer referral remains the single leading source of advisory clients. Word travels fast when you start solving tough challenges for clients—and longevity is a robust topic full of issues you can help them work through. Empathy plays a role here, but the real advantage is insight. You know the road ahead and have made the trip with other clients—returning wiser and better prepared to help the next traveler. Before planning, you will need to look at four key life transitions clients will be going through—where they will live, how they pay for health care, how they get around and how they make good financial decisions. All of these issues are dynamic; it takes vigilance to watch clients age and change and help them stay ahead of the risks. Aging is always a journey right to the end, not a decline. Older clients don’t want to be constantly warned about risk; they want to know what they can enjoy. They aren’t as interested in safety as they are in independence.

5. Family therapists. This last role may be the one that trips up even the most purposeful income advisor. The most fabulous clients can have crazy, annoying and harmful family members. Because people are living longer, advisors might be dealing with client families of three or four generations—all of which may have different objectives and conflicts of interest. The good news is that older generations offer learning opportunities to younger family members. Baby boomers are being schooled about longevity by their parents, other relatives and older friends. There is no role more rewarding, difficult, exhausting and appreciated for advisors than helping the family cope with longevity and helping facilitate the success of younger family members. This is the highest calling.

Most clients have scattered their assets across the advice industry during the bull market and are now facing the inevitable challenges of age, so there is already great demand for a role not well advertised or authentically delivered. The advisor who specializes in the needs of “retired” clients and their families will soon be as common and as popular as that sporty SUV that didn’t exist when their parents retired. And the advisors who stay the course of investing and planning for the future will need to find newer, younger clients. And start all over again.

Steve Gresham is managing principal of the Execution Project, LLC, a wealth management consulting firm. He is also chairman of Whealthcare Planning and senior education advisor to The Alliance for Lifetime Income.

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