There’s a subtlety about getting old that really concerns people and we don’t talk about it enough. That’s loss of control, loss of being able to control their lives. I know I went through it with my mother when she became too old to drive.
She was driving years before myself and my two brothers were born. To her, her driver’s license was not a privilege. It was a right. And for us to say as her children, ‘You shouldn’t be driving’, it’s loss of control. She freaked out and it infuriated her. I don’t blame her. If someone does it to me someday, I’m going to go nutty also. But we’re all afraid of losing control.
I don’t care if someone has a million dollars or $1. Rich people are poor people with money. We’ve all got the same worries about losing control of our lives and letting other people make our decisions.
Listen to this audio episode or read the transcript below to learn about losing control, Frank Luntz, the pollster, and one of his books.
If you’ve seen political shows, you’ve seen Frank Luntz at work polling people. He also is a writer. And one of his books, which I loved, is ‘What Americans Really Want… Really!’ One of the chapters is dedicated to retirement. So Luntz in the book poll people over age 60 and he got the seven questions they’re most likely to ask. I’m going to read them now. Some of them you can’t answer because there’s no answer. But they’re all about losing control and this is what your clients are thinking. So, it’s important for you to say, ‘If you do business with me, you’ll be in control. You’re not losing control of your money.’
When people give a financial advisor a check, they’re afraid of losing their control of their money. You have to say, ‘All we’re doing is rearranging your living room. Have you ever arranged your living room?’
‘Of course, I have.’
‘Did you throw away furniture?’
‘No, I didn’t.’
‘All I’m doing is rearranging your financial living room. We’re not going to throw furniture away. When I get done, all your money’s going to be there and you’ll still have control.’
That’s important to people.
So, here are the seven questions people over 60 tell Luntz they worry about.
#1. Will I be able to afford healthcare when I get too old to work? That’s extremely important to people. No one wants to lose control.
#2. Am I one medical emergency away from bankruptcy and ruin? I’ve seen in my lifetime, and perhaps you have too, people will hardly go to a doctor because they’re healthy, spend no money on medicine and doctors their whole lives until they get sick and spend more in the last six months of their life than they spent their entire lives. So one medical emergency can wipe out not just the person, but the family.
#3. Is Social Security going to be there for me? That’s the most talked about topic on Capitol Hill. No politician would touch Social Security with a 10-foot pole if they liked their job. You can’t answer that question, but it concerns people. You can have an opinion about it.
#4. Prescription drugs are going to be so expensive. Will I have to decide between medication and food? That’s not a silly question, that’s a hardcore question because the cost of medication is through the roof.
#5. Will I run out of money before I run out of years? Again, it’s imponderable. Tell me the day you’re going to die. Tell me how much money you have. And maybe you can’t do that, but it worries people.
#6. Will I be a financial burden or a physical burden on my spouse or my children?
#7. Will I lose my independence and mobility?
So, one attribute that weaves through all seven questions is control. When you talk to your clients, talk about control and make them understand when they give you their money to invest, they are not losing control.