You know what a Honey is? No, it’s not my wife, at least not in this context. It’s $100,000. Suppose you hit one of those lotteries or publishing prizes and a cool $100,000 is dropped into your lap. And let’s say you or your client (if you’re the financial planner or CPA involved) is between the ages of 62-75. Well, my friend Frank Piemonte, of River Communications, who is a fount of information and has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with the senior community, told me about this new Senior Sentiment Survey from Financial Freedom, one of this country’s largest reverse mortgage lenders. The study explored the financial, social, and quality of life attitudes of older Americans. What were the results? Basically, 55 percent of seniors would bank the windfall. In fact, according to the survey, more than half of those seniors interviewed felt confident that they will have enough income to meet their needs during retirement and 51 percent say that the top two sources of income are Social Security and income from pension plans or other defined benefit plans. Insofar as debt is concerned, the majority (69 percent) do not have, or do not plan to have, any debt in retirement. Of those with debt, 79 percent have more than $15,000 and 23 percent never expect to pay it off. By the way, 40 percent of homeowners plan to still carry a mortgage into retirement. Survey While we’re at it, it’s interesting to note that 79 percent of seniors live in a single family home that is not part of a retirement community. They say that they would drop the $100,000 in a savings account or CD as their top choice, followed by paying off debt, making a charitable donation, and investing it in conservative, low risk investments, So, here’s the way it stacks up: - 55% Bank it (savings account or CD) - 48% Pay off debt (loan, mortgage, etc.) - 41% Donate some money to charity - 41% Invest the money in conservative, low risk investments - 24% Give the money to children/relatives - 21% Make a major change or renovation to home - 17% Invest the money in stocks, thereby assuming a higher level of risk - 15% Purchase a luxury item such as a car, boat, RV, etc. - 10% Use it to underwrite health care costs - 8% Purchase a new home - 4% Become a benefactor and donate some of the money to an alma mater - 3% Retire - 6% Other - 3% Nothing, just hold on to the money Now, as a financial planner, consider where you may come into all of this. In order to build trust among seniors, direct contact is still the key. Seniors are most likely to trust professionals if they deem the person to be of good character (67 percent) or deem the person to be an expert in the field. Bottom line? Become a honey to the honey. Seniors desire personal contact to build trust among professionals.
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