The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has produced guidance for financial planners on how to engage with clients approaching later life and empower them to make care funding decisions sooner rather than later.
The guide, produced as part of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Insuring Futures initiative and promoted during Carers Week (7 – 13 June), encourages financial planners to consider how to broach the subject of care funding, reduce anxiety around the conversations and highlights ways to provide reassurance that actions taken earlier in life can have a massively positive impact further down the line.
To minimise anxiety and provide reassurance financial planners are encouraged to consider:
• Ensuring the location of a physical meeting is convenient as well as accessible for the customer and appropriate for their needs.
• Facilitating the client has the right people to support them at the meeting i.e. partner, friend, family or named attorney;
• Making sure the client is under no pressure to make quick decisions, regular breaks are suggested, and any potential issues that have been discussed are confirmed in writing;
• Being wary of other parties, potentially with ulterior motives, swaying the client’s decision.
• Confirming everything in writing and allow for a cooling-off period.
In terms of communications, financial planners are urged to:
• Ensure language requirements, disability and cognitive capabilities are established and appropriate actions are taken prior to discussing any business;
• Avoid convoluted sentences plus jargon and write in plain transparent language;
• Send a comprehensive summary of all actions taken in a timely fashion, as well as allow customers to make changes to the summary prior to actions being undertaken; and
• Offer to send a copy of all correspondence to any/all attorneys named in any powers of attorney that the customer has in place.
Matthew Connell, director of policy and public affairs of the Personal Finance Society, said: “Later life planning needs to be reframed from a negative experience to one that, if done early and effectively enough, can maintain independence in later life.
“The pandemic has prompted people to assess their financial resilience and ability to cope financially with unexpected events, including what might happen in later life. We hope everyone can use the advice contained in this guidance to encourage their clients to view later life planning as a journey that should not be seen as a daunting one-off project but as a process to be taken step by step, over time.
“The financial planning profession plays a vital part in making sure more people understand most of us are not alone and our plan need not be made independent of others. By sharing the wealth of information and experience of employers, trusted friends and family they will benefit from their expertise and share the burden of the important decisions they are making.”