By Cyril Tuohy
With the nation aging rapidly and the booming market in serving the financial needs of retirees and the elderly, Merrill Lynch and University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have announced a new training program for financial advisors
The initiative is known as the Merrill Lynch Longevity Training Program. It will offer advisors insights into the latest advances — sociological, psychological and physiological — in the field of aging, according to a press release from Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch.
More than 50 Merrill Lynch financial advisors began participating in the training program last month.
Merrill Lynch also said the program will be open to the company’s 14,000-plus advisors and specialists beginning in April. In May, the program will be expanded to include human resource and benefit plan experts working for companies that are clients of Merrill’s retirement and benefit plan services.
At the end of the training program, financial advisors are eligible to receive up to nine continuing education credits for Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) or Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) professional designations, Merrill Lynch said.
In the life insurance and retirement marketplace, annuities are the products designed to hedge against longevity risk, or the risk of living too long.
Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, said that increasing longevity brings “longer retirements, changing health care choices, more housing transitions, and many other challenges to financial security and independence.”
Indeed, adults are finding that for many of them there is a “post-retirement” period after their 70s or 80s when their needs change yet again.
Population projections in the U.S. show population segments older than age 65 among the fastest-growing over the next 35 years.
More people will be turning 65 in the next few years as baby boomers move further into retirement. In addition, experts predict that people already in their 70s and 80s will have longer life expectancies than previously expected.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that in 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to rise to 83.7 million people, almost double what it was in 2012, as survivorship rates increase and mortality rates decrease.
In 1972, life expectancy at age 65 was 15.2 years but by 2010, life expectancy at 65 rose to 19.1 years, a gain of nearly four years, according to the Census Bureau.
Gains for those turning 85 have also been noteworthy. In 1972, the average time to live for someone turning 85 was 5.5 years, census data show. By 2010, the average time to live for Americans turning 85 had risen to 6.5 years, a gain of one year.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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