As more Australians are spending longer in retirement than previous generations, how are we managing our clients’ longevity risk?
As financial planners, we know the risk of clients’ outliving their retirement savings is very real, however, it’s also a risk that clients often prefer not to face up to. For me, the starting point for managing longevity risk is persuading clients to accept the possibility of outliving their money and then providing them with the strategies, portfolios and behavioural skills to set them up for success.
Behaviour changes: We spend much of our time encouraging clients to understand and appreciate that there is a real risk they’ll outlive their money. When there is an understanding of various trade-offs, most clients need to consider that it’s easier for them to make informed decisions and take ownership of their actions.
Portfolio risk: The portfolio needs to be aligned to the client’s risk tolerance. However, in the case of retirees, we need to be cognisant of the impact a loss may have. The desire to generate healthy long-term returns is also important, so the risk/return trade-off takes on a different meaning for a retiree.
Legislative risk: Social security benefits (i.e. Centrelink) can make up a significant portion of a client’s income and can’t be dismissed. Consideration of tax implications on a client’s finances is also fundamental as we know, tax and social security rules change often, so it’s important to be aware of the impact changes have on a strategy and adapt accordingly.
Strategy and products: Using a range of products can make a strategy more robust and flexible for the future. Providing an element of guaranteed income, whilst maintaining access to capital, is nirvana to some clients, particularly if it also provides an uplift in social security benefits.
We approach client’s longevity risk in a number of ways, however, the most effective strategy is regularly talking to our clients about this issue during regular review meetings, revisiting potential outcomes and empowering the client to make smart decisions for the long-term.
Please note this article provides general advice only and has not taken your personal, business or financial circumstances into consideration. If you would like more tailored advice, please contact us today.