Help Your Clients Plan for Healthy and Wealthy Aging
Source: FA-IQ, Nov. 8, 2017
BRUCE LOVE, MANAGING EDITOR, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hi, this is Bruce Love with Financial Advisor IQ. And I'm here with Coventry Edwards-Pitt, the Chief Wealth Advisory Officer at Ballentine Partners. Coventry, you've just written a book about wealth planning and aging. What's that about?
COVENTRY EDWARDS-PITT, CHIEF WEALTH ADVISORY OFFICER, BALLENTINE PARTNERS, LLC: So there's two parts. So one is planning so we can all live our own vibrant later lives, and the second part is planning so we can hope to minimize the negative impact of our aging on our loved ones. And I wrote it with very much advisors in mind so they can use this as a tool when they're working with their clients -- either their older clients themselves or their children who are helping their parents age well.
BRUCE LOVE: When you think about aging for your clients, what are the specifics or factors you need to think about?
COVENTRY EDWARDS-PITT: So I actually try to use the acronym, AGED, so we could all remember this. So there's four they talk about. One is Agency, which is basically, I'm in charge of my own happiness, I'm not going to wait for anyone to do it for me. G is growth, continual learning. E is engagement, engagement with others beyond family. And D is drive, which is all about purpose and retaining that as we get older.
And then the second part is all about providing our families with the gift of clarity, which is that all of our children would love to know the meaning behind our estate plan, our end of life wishes, the family stories we wanted to have passed down. And most of our children will not know that because we won't have those conversations. So my aim was to provide both clients and advisors the specific questions which we all ask ourselves, and answer so we can tell those thoughts to our children and our loved ones who will be left behind when we're no longer here.
BRUCE LOVE: So tell us a bit about your thoughts on how you engage with clients about trying to get them to talk with their kids.
COVENTRY EDWARDS-PITT: Yes, it's very tricky. So first of all, people need to get their own heads around aging. I think that can be hard. I think it's the topic no one wants to talk about. But what I say is that the problem with not talking about it, is while there's so much we can't control about aging, there's actually so much more we can. And when we don't talk about it, we give up our opportunity to control those things. So part of what I want to do is make it OK for people to think about it.
And then I'm trying to make the clear point, that parents have this gift they can give their children. And my first book, which was about raising children well amid wealth, was all about the gifts we give our children that we probably shouldn't. This is a gift. Clarity about your wishes is a gift we all should give our children that few do. And it's within all of our power to do that.
So when I've been having conversations with my clients, I'm trying to impress upon them what a powerful gift that is that they can give. And in order to give that gift well, they have to do their own thinking, and get their thoughts clear in their own mind. And then they have to find new means of communicating that, whether in person, or even just simply writing it down and letting everyone know where those thoughts are written.
BRUCE LOVE: Thank you very much, Coventry.
COVENTRY EDWARDS-PITT: Thank you, Bruce. Pleasure to talk with you.