Helping clients from the “sandwich generation” maintain their lifestyles during retirement
By Melinda Woo
As the age of retirement gets pushed later and the standard of living rises in aging societies such as Singapore, we see more senior citizens returning to work during their golden years, or making more sacrifices in their lifestyle due to insufficient savings for retirement.
How can this be avoided? Henry Ang, a two-year MDRT member from Singapore, tells us how he helps his prospects or clients navigate retirement planning.
Preparing for the future
The “sandwich generation” refers to a generation of individuals who are taking care of their elderly parents above the age of 65 as well as their young children below the age of adulthood, or still financially supporting their children who are older than 18. Individuals in the “sandwich generation” are typically aged between 35 and 59 years old, and are quickly approaching the age of retirement themselves. The numerous responsibilities weighing on clients from the “sandwich generation” can cause them to neglect planning for their own retirement.
To get the importance of retirement planning across to his clients from this age group, Ang patiently explains it is imperative for them to start planning as soon as possible to allow them to continue living the same lifestyle as they’ve always had when they are retired, and more importantly, to prevent their children from being the next “sandwich generation”.
As he often meets his clients at a fast food restaurant, he also takes the opportunity to point out elderly service crew who are working at the establishment to further nail down the importance of planning for retirement. Usually, he would tell his clients that “by doing financial planning, we could have a choice to work or not work in our golden years”. For his younger clients, he would use the same strategy, but tweak the message for his clients to think about their parent’s retirement planning as well.
Ang says, “I would explain to my clients it does not make sense to ‘downgrade’ your lifestyle in their golden years.” Choosing to bring his message across in a lighthearted manner, he also jokes that “it’s like taking the public transport during retirement when you have been driving a car all your life”. Once his clients are on the same page as him, Ang then recommends suitable policies for them.
Sharing personal investment strategies
When meeting clients who do not have any investment plans or savings for their retirement, Ang brings up the topic of the high standard of living in Singapore to paint the bigger picture. As reported by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Singapore is ranked the most expensive city to live in in 2022. By ensuring that his client is aware of the rising cost of living in the country, he then tells them in order to maintain their current lifestyles during retirement, they will have to start investing now.
He also takes the liberty to share his personal investments – short-term and long-term – to give clients an idea of how much money is required to start investing. Ang will then inform them that “policies [of today] are rather flexible and clients don’t necessarily have to stay invested until their retirement age”. “This way, it is not so daunting as compared to committing a large sum of money and locking it away for many years,” he adds.
The ”sandwich generation” has worked hard to provide care for the young and old in their families. “By doing retirement planning, we can be the last ‘sandwich generation’ to prevent our children from falling into [the same circumstance],” Ang assures.