Given that some of the finest retirement planning minds in the UK gathered for the Money Marketing Retirement Summit last week, we could hardly pass up the chance to devote our lead feature in this edition to the future of later life advice.
Where we saw an opportunity to learn from the best and brightest, many of the advisers themselves noted they are faced with new and pressing challenges in the retirement space.
That is undoubtedly true. But where doors are closing, windows are being opened too.
Take the absurd political posturing currently devouring Westminster as a prime example. Yes, I’m sure we would all love to see the back of the uncertainty, but that is exactly what has and will continue to drive clients towards financial advisers.
The next Conservative Party leader may throw some radical ideas into the mix – see Boris Johnson’s idea to hike the higher rate income tax threshold from £50,000 to £80,000 – but they are also highly likely to position themselves as the polar opposite to “tax and spend” Jeremy Corbyn by putting some money back in the pockets of advisers’ clients.
There was some particularly articulate discussion at our conference about whether or not cashflow modelling tools are cut out for the emergence of such a complex post-retirement world.
Whether or not you think they are, again, opportunity knocks, as retirement advisers continue to learn from the worlds of behavioural economics, life planning and coaching to turn the cold outputs of a cashflow model into a warmer reality for clients.
Yes, planning for individuals who are living longer, and healthier for longer, is a struggle, particularly when fewer and fewer will have defined benefit entitlements to fall back on, annuities continue to be unloved, and the state pension just won’t cut the mustard any more.
Fortunately, the world of defined contribution planning really is evolving rapidly.
Clients are becoming increasingly aware of the need to make their money last longer, and providers are developing solutions specifically cut out to tackle their problems head on.
All of this is manifesting in a very healthy advice market to serve these needs. As FCA data revealed last week, revenues are up, profits are up and even the smallest of firms are still making good margins. (See page 15 for the full rundown of the statistics).
So let’s concentrate on the opportunities, rather than challenges, for now, and continue to learn from the wealth of experience advisers can draw on.
Justin Cash is editor of Money Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Justin_Cash_1