Helping clients who are reluctant to discuss retirement risks

Breaking the ice can help create a sound retirement strategy that addresses risks such as increased healthcare costs and the rising cost of living.

Last year was stress-inducing for all of us. Between the health, economic, and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking to brighter days ahead. But some of those stressors are still lingering. According to the Allianz 2021 Retirement Risk Readiness Study, Americans are more worried than ever about a variety of retirement risks this year, including:

Concerns about healthcare costs

71% vs. 65% in 2020

The rising cost of living

67% vs. 59% in 2020

The impact of a market downturn on retirement savings

66% vs. 54% in 2020

But interestingly, while worries are up, people still don’t seem to be discussing these concerns with their financial professionals. Among respondents who are currently working with a financial professional, approximately two-thirds indicated they are not currently discussing these topics, but would welcome that conversation. The issues people are most interested in getting professional guidance on include:


Running out of money before they die (66%)

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The impact of a market downturn on savings (64%)


Being too conservative in investments and missing out on market gains (63%)


More than half said they would like to discuss concerns about high healthcare costs (59%)

The rising cost of living (58%) 
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Potentially lacking funds to do all the things they want to do in retirement (57%)

Broaching the topic

Chances are these worries have crossed your clients’ minds. However, the study found that respondents who are more recently retired (within the past 10 years), feel more concerned than those who have spent more time in retirement.

Recently retired respondents reported feeling significantly more concerned about the majority of retirement risks when compared with those who have spent more time in retirement, including healthcare costs being too high (64% vs. 40%), the rising cost of living (54% vs. 27%), the impact of a market downturn on retirement savings (61% vs, 39%), and running out of money before they die (46% vs. 24%).

Looking for protection

Perhaps not surprisingly, with worries up, the number of people who expressed a preference for protection products was also up. When asked whether they would rather have financial products that have the potential for big gains, but also potential for big losses — or products that protect from big losses, but come with smaller gains — nearly seven in 10 (68%) said they would prefer the protection product.

Now is the time to check in with clients (in particular those who are newer to retirement) about how these risks could impact their retirement security.

*Allianz Life conducted an online survey, the 2021 Retirement Risk Readiness Study, in December 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 individuals age 25+ in the contiguous U.S. with an annual household income of $50k+ (single) / $75k+ (married/partnered) OR investable assets of $150k.