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With people living longer, advisors make sure you don’t outlive money

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Alfred Abraham has had colon cancer, prostate cancer, open heart surgery and his left eye removed.

Yet at 100, he’s still alive and well. Every day, he and his partner Brian eat fruit and salad and go for walks. He and his family were planning a big party to celebrate his becoming a centenarian this past April, but the pandemic wouldn’t allow for it. 

“At the present time, I’m doing very nicely despite what’s going on,” said Abraham, a former CPA and bank executive who lives in New York. 

One big part of why he’s doing so well is his financial advisor, he says.

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“He’s doing a very good job for me,” Abraham said. “We talk at least once or twice a month to discuss my investments and financial plans.” 

There were more than 450,000 centenarians in the world in 2015, a  number that is expected to balloon to more than 3.6 million by 2050.

Although life expectancy has actually decreased slightly over the last few years, due to a rise in drug overdoses, suicide rates and liver disease, it’s becoming more likely that people make it into their 80s, 90s and beyond. A 65-year-old woman today has a 50% chance of living to 85, and a 25% chance of crossing into her 90s, according to the Schwab Center for Financial Research. 

One of the biggest concerns investors have is outliving their money – and it’s often their financial advisors who work with them to make sure this fear doesn’t become a reality.

As a result, financial advisors are increasingly accounting for the real possibility that their clients could be around for very long time. That includes finding ways to stretch out their savings and to protect their money from the risks and expenses associated with old age.

Amy Irvine

Source: Amy Irvine

“When we’re planning for clients, we’re planning to 95 or 100,” said Amy Irvine, a certified financial planner at Rooted Planning Group in Corning, New York.

“Many of our retirees are still in great shape,” she said. “They’re living longer, and requiring resources for longer.”

Stretching out clients’ savings 

Carolyn McClanahan, a CFP and director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, said too many advisors don’t think about how long their clients could live. 

“If you have a client who lives a very healthy life, and especially if they have longevity in their family, you should be planning to age 100,” McClanahan said. 

And sometimes the planning needs to go in the opposite direction, she said. 

“If you have clients who are absolutely not taking care of themselves, say they’re obese and have diabetes and smoke, you shouldn’t be using age 100 because you’re going to make that person not enjoy their money because they’re worried about running out,” she said.