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Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Urgency – The Reformed Broker

One in 100 Americans aged 65 and older has died from Covid-19. That’s quite a statistic. This has all taken place inside of a two year timeframe.

New York Times:

As the coronavirus pandemic approaches the end of a second year, the United States stands on the cusp of surpassing 800,000 deaths from the virus, and no group has suffered more than older Americans. All along, older people have been known to be more vulnerable, but the scale of loss is only now coming into full view.

Seventy-five percent of people who have died of the virus in the United States — or about 600,000 of the nearly 800,000 who have perished so far — have been 65 or older. One in 100 older Americans has died from the virus. For people younger than 65, that ratio is closer to 1 in 1,400.

There’s been an increase in urgency in the wealth management business. A noticeable pickup in estate planning and an acceleration in people’s desire to spend now, enjoy now, give gifts now. Why wait? Stock market returns have been supportive of this activity. The lack of an interest rate on cash savings has also been supportive.

Americans above 65 are 87% vaccinated – the most vaccinated group in America. Hopefully they’ve gotten their boosters as well. The pragmatism with which they are approaching their wealth – and when to make use of it – might be one of the few silver linings we’ll emerge from the pandemic era with. Very few activities are more fun at 80 years old than they’d be at 68. Very few gifts to the next generation would be more appreciated after death than they’d be within the lifetime of the giver.

The importance of having a financial plan in place – and then periodically revisiting that plan’s assumptions and objectives – cannot be overstated. “Why are we doing this and what are these investments for?”

The answer cannot be “More money.”

More money for what? When?

And it’s not just the deaths. The pandemic brought about a mass isolation (is that an oxymoron?). It’s been a secondary plague of loneliness for the oldest Americans. A forced period for introspection. The Great Reality Check. This isn’t how I thought I’d be living…

They’re emerging from it, but it was an unexpected episode late in life that has now forced many to reconsider how they’re deploying their financial resources and what they’d want to do differently. Move closer to the grandkids? Closer to the equator? Back and forth seasonally? Money for first class tickets? A guest house on the property? A kid-friendly retirement community? 

We’re not talking about skydiving, getting a tattoo or some other cartoon bucket list activity. We’re talking about everyday living situations. Thee real shit.

There is an urgency to figuring these things out. It’s why we’ve been swamped with a record number of inbound client inquiries – well over a thousand families – this year. It’s why we’ll be staffing up all year in 2022. This is the moment. It’s like someone flipped a switch. The urgency has become obvious to everyone.

Now is the time to get it together. Who knows what tomorrow might bring.


As U.S. Nears 800,000 Virus Deaths, 1 of Every 100 Older Americans Has Perished (New York Times)

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