Recently, we have been asked by many what do we mean by Financial Longevity? So the current edition addresses this question with our very own proposed methodology. You are invited to provide us with your feedback, as we are always open to learning from others. What is missing? what would you add?
Population aging presents new challenges and opportunities for governments, corporates and citizens around the world. On the one hand, the process of growing old is associated with risks such as the de-accumulation of wealth, rising economic dependence, and higher reliance on family caregiving. On the other hand, aging is associated with the opportunity of a longer and healthier life expectancy due to technological and medical advancements. The rise in the life span of individuals is likely to have a positive impact on society, with longer periods of labor market participation and higher economic standing compared to the previous generations. Longer and healthier life expectancies are likely to offset the burden of aging on the economy and eventually full up a country’s GDP.
To date, the majority of the discourse on population aging has been focusing on its negative effects. This discourse has been questioning the sustainability of pension funds, healthcare providers, and labor markets through the growing old-age dependency ratios. However, we postulate that the negative perception of aging involves a limited understanding of the huge opportunities for the society that are associated with longevity.
Introducing Financial Longevity
Financial Longevity is a new concept that promotes the preparation of governments, regulators, corporates and other players from the financial sector for the opportunities of the aging trend, while fostering the financial well-being of their aging customers through innovation.
The economic challenges of aging are among the most important elements of population aging. These economic elements include the changing patterns of the way people live, save, spend, retire, or pass their wealth to the next generations. In the past few years, Financial Longevity has been developed as a new body of knowledge, that addresses the need for governments and corporates mainly from the financial sector to understand the effect of population aging on their strategies and business models.
By focusing on the role of technology in addressing the economic challenges of aging, the uniqueness of Financial Longevity is by considering the “silver economy” as an opportunity for growth for organizations and customers alike.
While many of the most compelling use cases for the latest innovations are those focused on the aging demographic, it is already clear that technology becomes one of the driving forces for Financial Longevity.
Our proposed methodology for Financial Longevity
Financial longevity is multi-dimensional and hence, requires a strong framework to build a new set of products and solutions for the aging population. Based on our expertise and understanding of the intersection between finance, longevity and technology, we suggest the following three underlines elements for Financial Longevity:
An inclusive mindset when it comes to new ideas, products and services for older adults, family caregivers and people in mid-life who are actively seeking to plan their financial future;
The needs to intervene during specific late life transitions (mainly retirement, changing health and widowhood);
An interoperable collaboration among many of the aging stakeholders (from social security to tax authorities, employers and family).
Specifically, we suggest that Financial Longevity should be based on the following three interrelated elements :
1. Inclusive mindset: Promoting the accessibility, affordability and usage of products and services that have the potential to increase the financial well-being of people as they age, through inclusive ideas products and services. An inclusive mindset should start at the ideation and R&D phases of any business process within the organization. In addition to that, an inclusive mindset within organizations fosters new practices for retirement, such as a flexible retirement model and post-retirement participation.
2. Transitional approach: Identifying the dynamics of the most prevalent late life transitions including changing health (onset of chronic illness), the transition from employment to retirement and widowhood. The objective of the transitional approach is to moderate the short- and long-term effects of late-life transitions on household wealth, through planning, utilization of rights, and late-life employment. Intervention through during the transitions will help aging adults and their families, be well prepared for the economic effects associated with a health shock, loss of a spouse and more.
3. Ecosystem model: Managingthe relations across the aging individuals and the different stakeholders of the aging ecosystem (governments, regulators, corporates, NGOs, healthcare institutions, etc.), given four life domains- health, wealth, skills and family, while fostering innovation among each one of the stakeholders.
Altogether, these three components are pivotal to reaching the objectives of Financial Longevity, to foster the financial well-being of aging adults and their families.
Example: Retirement planning
There is a dearth of products and services that can help individuals and families make informed choices towards the transition to retirement, one of the major late-life transitions people experience as they age. This scarcity of tools for retirement planning is primarily due to the lack of understanding of the changing nature of retirement, and the potential addressable retirement market for businesses.
Planning for retirement is different from planning for a better quality of life at earlier stages of life. Apart from the traditional objectives of building sound financial health for the period post-retirement, it is important to consider learning new skills, continuing work, or repaying outstanding debt over time during retirement.
In this particular case of retirement planning, an inclusive mindset is crucial to building new retirement planning products and services. Retirement planning should be affordable to all groups of the population, and not only to the educated and well-off. Personal health attributes, skills planning for retirement, and lifetime out-of-pocket expenses and long-term care projections (based on the likelihood of chronic conditions) should also be part of the equation.
Financial Longevity Focus Areas
Beyond retirement planning, the following ten areas have been identified, through research and practice, to have the most impact:
● Retirement income - Unlocking the potential of new sources of retirement income including the untapped opportunity in home equity among homeowners, and finding new ways to optimize assets, and housing in order to generate more income in retirement.
● Long-term saving– driven by behavioral economic attributes, exploring new models to encourage people to save for retirement, including “nudges”, goal setting and other mechanisms.
● Late life employment– building new innovation centers for “silver entrepreneurship”, and understanding the different practices of flexible retirement around the world. Learning about the barriers and opportunities in late life employment both from the demand and supply sides and promoting skill development and “silver entrepreneurship” to maintain the relevance of employees as they age.
● Inclusive Fintech and age-friendly banking – Learning from best practices around the world about new ways to re-engage with aging customers, given the digital transformation and the closure of many brick-and-mortar branches.
● Quality of life of people aging-in-place – Finding new ways to optimize skills, assets, housing and community in order to generate more income in retirement.
● Legacy and end-of-life planning – Democratizing legacy and end-of-life planning through web 3.0 applications, digital trusts and wills, digital vaults and a “dead man’s switch” service.
● Old customer protection – Learning about elder abuse and the typologies of scams and fraud against older adults, educating family caregivers about the “red flags” associated with these risks and promoting innovation that has the potential to protect older adults from scams and fraud.
● Utilization of rights– Helping people understand their public and private rights as medical and other insurance rights, eligibility for public healthcare and pension, and leveraging innovative tools as AI and big data to help aging adults with the financial navigation of complex financial decisions.
● Financial navigation for chronic illness– With population aging and extended longevity, chronic illness is becoming more prevalent among many families. Therefore, understanding the economic challenges of chronic illness and learning about the way that the financial industry can help, is crucial for the overall well-being of aging adults and their families.
Additional focus areas: long-term care financing, new models for managing longevity risk and longevity risk transfers (modern tontines for example), estimation of late-life events and their economic effect, women's longevity, managing intergenerational transfers, concierge services and more.
To summarize, Financial Longevity is a way for leading change and social impact by building a more inclusive society for the aging population across the globe.
If you are interested in learning more about Financial Longevity, you are invited to enroll in our next cohort (IV) of the Financial Longevity Leadership Program. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with additional information on the program.
About Fintech for Longevity:
Fintech for Longevity is a novel platform that bridges financial technology and financial inclusion. By focusing on the global aging trend, we help governments, global organizations, FinTech startups, banks, insurance companies, VCs and other financial institutions around the world prepare for the trend of aging and the future of longevity. We do so through research, consulting and education.