The Silver Tsunami of Baby Boomers is about to crash on the shore of mortality. But that doesn’t mean they’ve done their estate planning.
Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65. This phenomenon will continue through to the year 2035. This is the age when people begin to think more concretely about their mortality. They’re seeing their elderly parents die, and suddenly their peers are dying at an increasing rate.
The Baby Boomers think they will live long, healthy and active lives. That is, until they aren’t healthy, active or alive. A 2019 Caring.com survey indicates that while 76% of U.S. adults said that having a will is important, only 40% actually have one.
And don’t forget the Millennials, the next big demographic wave in the United States. They are the Baby Boomers’ young adult children. With the current rate of adults not doing estate planning, a dramatically increased number of Millennials will be scrambling to figure out what to do about their parents’ estates.
In the Caring.com survey, among that 40% of those who do have a will, 45% are White, 31% are Black, and 26% are Hispanic. Those who have a post-graduate college education are twice as likely to have a will as those with only a high school education or less.
The top four reasons these Americans said they don’t have a will are:
- “I just haven’t gotten around to it.” 50%
- “I don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone.” 22%
- “I don’t know how.” 6%
- “It’s too expensive.” 6%
Kenneth Gronbach, a demographer, marketer, and author of Upside: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead, says “My long-standing axiom for selling to Boomers is: Make my life easy. Save me some time. Don’t rip me off.”
What can estate planning attorneys do to make it easy to sell estate planning to Baby Boomers?
At the 2019 Before I Die New Mexico Festival, Jim Plitz, attorney and partner with Morris Hall, PLLC, (an AAEPA member firm), spoke to attendees about estate planning. He spoke at two events, one in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque.
The majority of attendees in the audience were Baby Boomers in their 60s and 70s. They knew they needed to do estate planning and took advantage of this free public event to ask questions. Many of the questions revolved around the high cost of doing an estate plan, and how one can work around that cost.
Here’s the video of Jim’s hour-long talk in Santa Fe. Watch how he addresses those concerns.
What do you say when people raise the issue of cost when it comes to estate planning? Maybe when you speak to Baby Boomers, remember to make it easy for them, save them time, and as Kenneth Gronbach says, “Don’t rip me off.” How will you demonstrate that value and help Baby Boomers plan ahead with you before they crash on the shore of mortality?
Gail Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist, a pioneering death educator who uses humor, funny film clips, and outside the box activities to encourage people to plan ahead for end-of-life issues. Called “The Joan Jett of Death Education,” Gail was one of the first people in the United States to hold a Death Café and has coordinated Before I Die events in multiple cities. Her website is www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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Phone: (858) 453-2128