at the Million Dollar Round Table, Court of the Table Session,
in New Orleans last Sunday, foremost US authority on lifestyle,
Ken Dychtwald, referred to the longevity patterns that have
emerged in modern society as the age wave.
He developed a new adulthood construct showing
how the number of years spent in retirement have increased
His statistics show that currently, adults spend some 20
to 25 years in retirement; that 22 per cent of them are
almost broke, and 32 per cent of them are actually low net
worth individuals; and that 40 per cent all retirees are
financially involved in caring for aged parents.
He urged financial advisers to focus on that age group,
since they are most in need of help, saying that our job
is to help people envision dreams and see to it that
the dreams are funded.
He cited that 70 per cent of the US population die without
a will, so they die without leaving behind a family legacy.
But, perhaps the most significant statistic was that the
54 per cent who are broke or almost broke were headed in
that direction from the age of 30 years.
He said that those who seek out a good financial adviser
are likely to end up two-and-one-half times wealthier than
those who did not!
Copy cat society
The reason is that financial advisers are professionals.
A professional is a person who has spent a significant number
of years studying the subject. She would have passed several
written examinations after the first year in the business.
Locally, insurance agents enter the business with a provisional
licence, which is valid from one year. During that year,
state exams must be passed, in order to renew the licence.
But that doesnt make a professional. The profession
actually begins when the agent begins to pursue courses
in financial planning.
Currently, the T&T Association of Insurance and Financial
Advisors administers courses and examinations for the American
College, in the US. The American College is an established
institution, which delivers courses in insurance and financial
planning. These courses include subjects such as the theory
of life and health insurance, contract law, business practices
It takes about three years of part-time study to complete
all six courses that constitute the basic programme of education
necessary for the insurance sector. After that, further
courses must be pursued in order to gain designations such
as the Chartered Life Underwriter Diploma, the Certified
Financial Planner, or Registered Financial Consultant. This
may require another three years of part-time study, on average.
These qualifications, together with a practice characterised
by sound ethical conduct constitute the hallmarks of the
Dychtwald made the point that 42 per cent of all retirees
needed a new blend of work and pleasure, simply
because they now have more time in their retirement years.
He said that 74 per cent of the US population is likely
to be in the 55-64 age group within a few short years, and
that would climb to an alarming 53 per cent of US population
over the age of 65 in a few more years.
I do not know that our life style is dramatically different
from the US lifestyle, in terms of eating habits, alcohol
consumption, and modern medicine, to name just a few factors
that are relevant to longevity, but our copy-cat society
is bound to bear some stark relation so the US scenario.
They call New Orleans the Big Easy, and as I write while
overlooking the Mississippi River, I fear that the implication
for our workforce, and the savings ethics they must adopt,
is big but certainly not easy!
To be continued next week.
n Raziah Ahmed is a registered financial consultant