Richard Jackson with client Alfreda White

Amid the fear and trepidation, market chaos and madness of the coronovirus crisis, a silver lining may present itself in the way enforced isolation encourages the older generation to adopt online tools and other contemporary methods of communication.

According to Assyat David, the co-founder and director of aged care support provider Aged Care Steps, many of those who may have been previously reluctant to embrace technology will be forced to try new methods of staying in contact with not only their financial adviser, but family and friends.

“There will be a silver lining and a legacy as older people learn how to use online tools,” David says. “Being able to dial in electronically makes a lot more sense of the other members of the family can also dial in with share screening on skype, zoom and all those things.”

Not only would this development give advisers better access to their retiree clients, but increased adoption could eventually lead to a broader market base of retiree clients.

“It also means for the advisers they aren’t limited to only marketing to clients in their area,” David says.

The other positive that could come out of the pandemic, which has been especially harsh on retirees given the increased danger it poses, is that it could encourage people to plan ahead more thoroughly for crisis situations.

“We’ve had the bushfire crisis, water restrictions and now this, so perhaps in the future people will think more about what it means for mum and dad when there is a crisis and how you can prepare if people are isolated,” David explains.

There are lessons to be learnt in the crisis, David reckons. The focus for retirees, their families and advisers will initially be on physical wellbeing, naturally, but as the crisis drags out mental health and loneliness could figure prominently as an issue that needs to be addressed. While it’s already a noted issue for retirees and the elderly, the crisis should highlight the need for solutions to combat the problem.

“The whole isolation issue is starting to pick up, it’s only been a couple of weeks but if it stretches to months the outcomes of being stranded as an elderly person will become important,” David says.

Richard Jackson, a financial adviser who specialises in retiree and aged care clients, says he has been encouraged by the amount of clients that are beginning to adopt online tools.

“I’ve already started doing that with a few people and they seem quite happy with the outcome,” Jackson says.

The older generation aren’t so afraid of technology, Jackson reckons.

“People in the 70s and 80s are pretty comfortable with email already, they’re on the internet more than you might think,” he says.

He agrees, however, that the current crisis could spur the older generation on to try more tools and applications than they might have previously been comfortable with.

“It’s a more of an incremental thing, they like to take things step by step,” he says. “But any development would be a good outcome.”

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.
One comment on “The pandemic’s silver lining for retirees”
  1. Avatar Kerry Darton

    My initial reaction was “silver lining… really”. However reading on in the article the points sits well with my messaging “start the conversations and preplanning is better than crisis planning”. I have been very concerned for my clients who are all high risk (Frailty years of retirement) and how they will deal with social distancing and the associated isolation. Need to just work out how we get them the access to online tools.

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