How, When Retirees Communicate with Advisors


For many people, life changes upon retirement. Time slows down for most people. Priorities are altered; some disappear while new ones crop up.

The need to communicate changes for retirees. The hubbub of the workaday world and the constant need to be updated washes away upon retirement, and professional communication becomes less necessary or evaporates entirely.

Communication with financial advisors changes, too, when investors retire. But the change for retirees is that they may actually communicate more because they have the time to do so, and one person they often want to talk to is their financial advisor, because the kids and grandkids are often too busy to talk.

 “Retirees have more time to consider all of their actions and activities, and many investors become more involved with their investments and their financial advisors," Spectrem president George H. Walper Jr said. “Advisors need to be aware that retirees are not just calling because they are bored; they have issues related to their portfolio and want to discuss them with the advisor who put them in the financial position they are in.”

Spectrem study Communicating with Advisors and Providers looks at how modern investors communicate with their advisors. Retirees are included in that group, and when their study responses are separated from responses of other investors, it is revealed that retirees are still communicating the old fashioned way, pre-dating even email.

Communication is different today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Much of communication which occurred via telephone at the turn of the century is today conducted via email, texting and social media.

But retirees, who are almost by definition among the oldest subset of investors, are locked into the old ways of communication, at least for now. They are less likely to participate on social media (only 53 percent of retirees use Facebook, and only 11 percent use Twitter), and 66 percent of retirees say they still place a call on their telephone as their primary form of contacting their financial advisor. 

Advisors need to be aware that their older retired clients not only like to place a call to have a conversation, but they also are willing to answer their phone to discuss issues (yes, some people still answer their phone).

Today’s cellphones are more often used as tiny computers than as communication devices, and when they do provide communication, it is often in the form of texting rather than a phone call.  But when asked how they feel about texting their advisor on a 0-to-100 scale, retired investors placed their interest at a low 30.23 (working investors were only mildly more interested at 35.47).

Only 26 percent of retirees say they have ever texted their advisor. Texting is not as ubiquitous as some people believe.

There is one other aspect of the telephone call vs. texting vs. social media debate when it comes to communicating. Retirees believe that if they place a telephone call to an advisor and are required to leave a message, that call should be returned quickly. Fifty-seven percent expect a return call within 5 hours, and 37 percent expect a return call in two hours.

That’s fast. Although texting is considered immediate, it is determined by when the message is received, but retirees see placing a phone call as more immediate, and expect immediate responses in return.

Advisors need to keep these expectations in mind when dealing with retired investors.




©2018 Spectrem Group