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When 80 is the new 65

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Often when we consider the shifting market for wealth management, we think of the up and coming generations, the millennials and beyond. We try to predict what kind of products and services these new investors will want or expect and what new delivery platforms they will embrace.

But there are demographic developments on the other end of the age spectrum that have important implications for wealth managers and investors as well. According to the UN, in about a year, the global number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5 for the first time in history. In the developed world, the number of people aged 65 and over surpassed those under 15 years old back in 2011 and are expected to outnumber those under 20 years old by 2025.

Declining fertility rates and improvements in health and technology that have dramatically extended life spans are creating increasingly larger cohorts of the elderly versus younger ones. Modern medicine is also improving the quality of life for those living longer, allowing them to be more active and engaged. And, these trends appear to be accelerating not slowing down.

Forward-looking wealth managers need to understand the implications of these novel demographic developments. This may mean refashioning approaches to retirement and estate planning, including reworking portfolios to meet needs generated over a longer time span. It may also mean devising new marketing efforts and value propositions that specifically target these “new” market segments.