NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Raymond James is launching a new education campaign to arm the firm's advisors with tools and techniques based on research from MIT's AgeLab.
"It's about spreading best practices," says Patrick O'Connor, senior vice president of wealth retirement and portfolio solutions at Raymond James.
The calculus of retirement planning is changing with the baby boomers now in their 50s and 60s and looking at longer average lifespans than any previous generation.
There were about 43 million Americans over age 65 in 2012, according to U.S. Census data. That number is expected to nearly double to 83 million by 2050.
Joseph Coughlin, founder and head of AgeLab, says that increasing longevity is requiring advisors and clients to plan for a new reality.
"How do you help me plan for longevity, not plan for retirement?" Coughlin asked attendees at a Raymond James & Associates conference in here on Thursday.
He recommends advisors focus on helping clients understand the new normal and the costs associated with longer lifespans.
"Start telling a narrative about the things that you should anticipate over the next 20 or 30 years, and by the way, this is what it's going to cost," Coughlin says.
Raymond James will roll out its campaign in six stages over the next nine to 12 months. The initiative will also include tips on leveraging social media to engage clients on topics about longevity. Executives say they will refine their efforts as they receive feedback from advisors employing their new training.
"We're not claiming that no one has ever thought of this. The real difference is in the execution," says O'Connor.
He says that part of the effort will focus on training advisors on how to make events more interactive and extending that onto social media, hopefully spreading brand awareness to new clients in the process.
O'Connor also says that the firm is exploring partnerships with organizations to help advisors tap local resources that clients may need as they age, such as contractors that can retrofit homes or make them easier to navigate for the elderly. But such partnerships will require a high level of due diligence, he admits, because advisors need to be sure of the quality of the services they could be referring clients to.
"We're not just saying, 'Hey, it would be cool if you were connected with people in your community," he says. "There may be more to announce there down the road."
Coughlin adds that he hopes such efforts will be a catalyst for improving the quality and availability for such resources.
"Resources for old people are painfully fragmented," he says.
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