We’ve all seen them—the glossy photos of a retired couple on their sailboat, skimming through crystal Caribbean waters, or sinking a putt on a pristine green in their crisp golf attire. Many ads geared to the 55+ age group would have you believe that everyone is living these clichés.

But it’s not the reality for the majority of retired Canadians. If anything, Canadians—and particularly the baby boomers—are redefining what it means to be retired. They’re trying new things: returning to school, working part time, travelling, volunteering, spending more time with family members, or taking up a new hobby. That’s why Sun Life Financial’s new Money for Life campaign—launched September 29—pokes fun at the old retirement clichés. It then shows advisors helping Canadians plan for their own vision of retirement.

Retirement reality

The new generation of retirees is also living longer. It’s expected that 25 per cent of 65-year-old women and 17 per cent of 65-year-old men will live past age 95.1 This means that they could spend a third of their life in retirement. This is great news if clients’ plans factor in the risks they may face—such as emerging health needs—as they age and the increased risk of outliving their savings.

With such a varied and complex retirement landscape, we in the financial services industry have the opportunity and a responsibility to help clients of all ages build a financial and retirement plan that meets their changing needs. It all starts with a conversation about Money for Life—Sun Life Financial’s customized approach to financial and retirement planning.2 Have a more meaningful, plan-focused conversation about where your clients are today and how their needs will change over a 20-, 30- or even 40-year retirement.

Here are some key principles to discuss with your clients and prospects:

  1. Starting early helps – Canadians need to start saving sooner and protect their families and their savings. We need to help them balance the expenses of everyday living, debt management and saving for a projected longer retirement. It’s becoming a riskier game to play catch-up later in life.
  2. Make your clients’ money work hard in their working years – If their workplace offers contribution matching, help them take advantage of these programs as much as their budget allows. Demonstrate the value of obtaining insurance while they are young and healthy, when premiums are affordable. During their prime income-earning years, the probability of a 50-year-old experiencing a critical illness is:
    • 60% for a man,
    • 48% for a woman, and
    • 79% for one member of a couple.3

    It’s important to discuss the ways they can protect their ability to earn an income and their retirement savings from unexpected illnesses.

  3. What does retirement mean to them? – Have a candid conversation with your clients about what they see themselves doing—and spending—in retirement. Do they want to stay in their current home as long as possible? Are they looking to downsize or move locations entirely? How do they expect to cover their health-care costs? Many Canadians believe that the government will fund all their health-care needs before and after retirement. This is not the case, and in fact, Sun Life Financial’s 2013 Canadian Health Index shows many Canadians aged 45–54 experienced a financial hardship after a health event. Some were forced into early retirement due to health issues, decreasing their income-earning years and increasing a possible 30-year retirement by up to an additional five years.

Living longer may mean clients need to adjust their retirement plan so that they can enjoy retirement their way—without worrying about outliving their money. Your advice is invaluable in helping clients make the most of today and start planning for tomorrow.

Take advantage of the award-winning Money for Life tools and resources to help you start more meaningful conversations with clients. To learn more about helping Canadians plan for a longer retirement and Money for Life, contact your Sun Life Financial sales director or visit moneyforlifeadvisor.ca.

Life’s brighter under the sun.

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1 Canadian Institute of Actuaries, 2013

2 Only advisors who hold CFP (Certified Financial Planner), CH.F.C (Chartered Financial Consultant), F.Pl. (Financial Planner in Quebec), or equivalent designations are certified as financial planners

3 Source: Munich Re, 2013