If you’ve ever heard Ken Dychtwald, founder of Age Wave and visionary gerontologist/psychologist/author, speak about the concerns of mature adults today, you know that he often sees things from a unique perspective.
His latest book, Retirement at the Tipping Point, followed more than 2,000 people over time, resulting in a look at people’s attitude and experience before and during the current financial crisis. It contains some insights that may prove interesting to all of us who provide services to baby boomers and the elderly.
Financial concerns top the list of issues. This certainly isn’t a shocker, but realizing the depth of people’s concerns is certainly enlightening. With 60% of American’s losing money in their retirement funds, concerns about delay in retirement or unexpected expenses is at the forefront of today’s boomers. Interestingly, 81% of the people studied said that the most important piece of financial advice parents can give their children is to “live within your means;” up from only 69% who responded in this way before the market drop.
Lesson for providers? Emphasize, more than ever, the financial wisdom of your product or services. You not only need to demonstrate that you provide value for the dollar; you need to be prepared to discuss how your product or service will comfortably fit within the means of the prospect.
Values are shifting from wealth to relationships. Relationships within families are becoming increasingly important as families support members financially and emotionally. Twice as many respondents identified that “loving family and relationships” are more important than being wealthy.
Lesson for providers? Include family members in conversations whenever possible. Point out ways that your product or service can enhance relationships, especially if you offer personal care services that can allow the family to focus on relationships instead of tasks. Point out how your service can offer family peace of mind, as well, especially if you can emphasize areas where you exceed the usual standards, for example in the training or qualifications of your employees. Frame your benefits in terms of building and nurturing the relationships among the family or friends of the prospective client.
Retirees are seeking to make a difference. They want meaningful work or volunteer opportunities, even into later life. They’d rather not just be stuffing envelopes, either.
Lesson for providers? Be sure your activity and enrichment programs, if you offer them, include opportunities for clients at all levels to continue to contribute. Crocheting hats and scarves for kids or the homeless is something nearly anyone can do, for example.
Overall, Americans are resilient and resourceful, reports Dychtwald. Today, they’re more focused than ever on benefits that have meaning – and fit financially – in their lives.
Friday, December 16, 2011
1 year ago