Why It Matters:
Generation X clients are at peak productivity and significant turning point to affect longevity.
You can help them address three key areas: health, social connectedness, and financial security.
Now’s the time to lay the foundation for a happy 20, 30, or 40 years in retirement.
Generation X is at a major intersection on the path to a long and healthy life, and the Stanford Center on Longevity says financial professionals stand to provide pivotal influence.
In this toolkit series brief, “Life Planning in the Age of Longevity: Insights for Gen Xers,” Research Scholar Steve Vernon outlines three major areas that can impact a long and happy life: healthy living, social engagement, and financial security.
This is where you come in.
As a financial professional, you’re in a key position to help guide these 30- to 50-somethings as they prepare for the journey ahead at a time when decisions they make — and behaviors they maintain — can dramatically shape their lives for years to come.
Gen Xers are in their peak producing years, sandwiched between child and parental care, while money challenges loom. They can be stressed, but they still have time to design a longer, better life, writes Vernon.
After all, he continues, they’re estimated to live another 40, 50, or 60 years, so it’s important to realize they’re not saving for a retirement like the one their grandparents experienced.
So, how can you guide your Gen X clients today? The brief offers some crucial suggestions:
Encourage them to optimize their health
Longer, better lives hinge on maintaining and adopting healthy behaviors, and ditching the risky ones. The stats don’t lie — Gen Xers have room for improvement. More than a quarter of them smoke, a third are obese, half of them don’t exercise enough, and only a quarter of them eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Remind them that social portfolios are important, too
Good news here: Gen Xers have the highest rates of marriage and partnering, so there’s a healthy foundation of social engagement. Your job here is relatively simple: Encourage them to maintain their social portfolios, and continue to grow them as time moves on. Yes, it’s challenging later in life, but new connections can be developed beyond jobs, friends, and family. Why? Loneliness can be as risky as smoking.
Help them make important financial decisions
Gen Xers face a trio of financial challenges: maintaining cash flow, growing assets, and protecting what they’ve saved. Vernon says this is where they might need the most help. And it’s not their fault — complex situations abound, not the least being generating college tuition for kids, supporting aging parents, pursuing new skills, and maintaining a career. Use Vernon’s list of nine financial decisions for Gen Xers to help them focus on what’s important.
Vernon’s Insights for Gen Xers brief is a valuable resource that discusses these topics in depth so you can start conversations with clients who are hot on the tails of aging Baby Boomers. Use it as a reference or share it with your clients.
Tap into experiences with your Boomer clients, who are changing the face of retirement as we speak, and apply them to your Gen X clients, some of whom haven’t yet reached 40 years old. For those on the older side of Gen X, talk about catch-up contributions and ways to protect what they’ve already accumulated.
By combining this brief from the Stanford Center on Longevity with your personal experience, you can provide critical insights to your clients and help them shape the next generation of longevity.
Things to Consider:
Download the Stanford Center on Longevity brief, “Life Planning in the Age of Longevity: Insights for Gen Xers”
Share the 9 financial decisions Gen Xers face.
Building skills, pursuing a passion, financing college, and making friends are all keys to a long, happy life.