Like the rest of America, the advisory profession is experiencing a changing of the guard as many among the first generation of advisors exits into retirement and their successors take over. What that next generation does is a story remaining to be written.

This month’s cover feature on Young Advisors To Watch, which we compile every May, provides a glimpse of what those future chapters will look like. Some young advisors will seek to help their high-earning contemporaries build wealth while many others are more interested in empowering middle-class folks and helping them find their way off the weekly treadmill when they feel there is no way to get ahead or achieve financial independence.

Several young advisors pointedly note that serving wealthy, older males who already had a net worth of several million was not rewarding to them, which is understandable. One might also question the widespread assumption that the current generation of boomers will really leave the projected $80 trillion to their heirs, as the financial services business currently anticipates.

Laura Carstensen’s book A Long Bright Future raises the prospect that today’s 65-year-olds could live to their late 90s or longer, and it’s not a certainty that affluent retirees with even $5 million today will be able to leave these big legacies behind. Increasingly, retirement is looking like a new front in the inequality phenomenon. Fortunately, there are a growing number of young advisors who want to help the middle class.

If there is a glimmer of hope here, it’s that labor force participation today is surging among Americans in their 70s and 80s. The flexible U.S. economy is running low on workers, and many retirees are running low on savings or getting bored after a few years of inactivity and isolation. For myriad reasons, the concept of retirement that existed in the post-World War II era is largely a relic.

One of the privileges of editing Financial Advisor is working with some of the serious thinkers on these topics. And this month we’re lucky to publish an article entitled “All-Cap Withdrawal Magic” by Bill Bengen, father of the 4% rule and a contributor to this periodical since its early days. Bengen is one more example of someone who has remained vital for years after retiring.

His article sheds some light on what many advisors have experienced—namely, that the 4% rule works and most retirees who stretched the rule a little over the last 90 years have been fine. Needless to say, past results are no guarantee of future outcomes. And counting on the stock market to bail out clients and advisors is a dicey proposition.

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