Experts at the inaugural Later Life Adviser Conference today outlined how advisers could respond to the changing landscape of ageing by being a trusted friend and single-entry point for older people.
Topics at the conference, held in Gloucester, included how those advising clients on later life financial issues could broaden their range of services to cover a much wider range of needs.
Tony Miles, who runs his own consultancy business Miles Associates Ltd and works with the Personal Finance Society on later life issues, said those in retirement now face a far longer “transitional journey rather than a specific retirement marked at a moment in time”.
He argued that the concept of ‘retirement’ would increasingly be viewed as a 20th Century concept, which would be replaced by periods of employment, leisure and care.
Mr Miles said: “The three-stage traditional period of life – education, employment and retirement – is being undermined by a series of forces of change.
"These include the transfer of risk from the state to the individual, increased longevity, technology and legislation which all add a deeper layer of complexity. Pension freedoms in particular has been a game changer in terms of how people manager their assets and retirement income.”
He said that advisers should be providing a ‘single-entry-point for later-life advice, rather than just silos like pensions, mortgage or equity release advice, and suggested the next big move would be to holistic life planning covering off not just financial advice areas, but legal, care, accountancy, and many others.
He added: "An increasing number of clients transitioning into later life will be on a much longer journey than perhaps they anticipated. Clients will need advisers help in a slightly different way and taking the ensemble approach means working hand-in-hand with other specialists.”
Sophie Andrews, chief executive of national older people’s helpline charity Silverline, said later-life advisers could play an even broader role, as “trusted people” who are able to put lonely and vulnerable elderly people in touch with groups, charities and support that make their lives better.
Ms Andrews said: "The prompt to call us is often through a trusted person like an adviser and there may be triggers that cause you to give out our details.
“Often those triggers are losses, like the loss of a partner, but also not so obvious losses like the loss of a pet or a driving license that cause people’s circumstances to change. We would urge advisers to sign-post people to Silverline when this occurs.”
The conference was hosted by later-life services firm Answers in Retirement, which partners with Silverline, a confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK that is open every day and night of the year.
Stuart Wilson, group managing director of answers in Retirement Ltd, said: “As advisers we shouldn’t forget that our visit or call may be the only time that client has spoken to someone that day, and it’s important we recognise this in our dealings with them, and also to highlight that charities like Silverline exist.