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When providing advice on risk, how far does your responsibility go? Is it enough to simply address clients’ own personal risks? What of the risks of those around them, with who their lives are intertwined? Expanding the risk analysis beyond the actual clients in front of you and considering their immediate family as a standard rule with every client is not only good for the client, it can be great for your business.

A few months ago, I wrote an article which appeared in RiskInfo magazine. It tackled the intergenerational advice approach and how many advisers have embraced this proposition as a value-add to their clients.

Consider this; younger Australians will be expected to provide fully for their own retirement like no other generation before. Due to number of factors (no doubt there are many views on whether they are primarily economic, social or lifestyle-related in nature), they are also far less likely than their parents to be prepared for the later stages of their life. Most are not only under-insured, they are also asset-poor and heavily dependent on income.

Many parents unknowingly face a significant risk from their children. In the event of serious illness or disability, they could be required to take them under their wing again just at the time of their life when they might have other plans.

The great opportunity for advisers is to have this conversation, which may not have been considered previously. In doing so, it presents the opportunity to take a deeper interest in their client’s wellbeing. It also opens the door to engaging their children as potential clients.

There are a number of ways advisers can make this issue clear to clients. Mind-mapping during the engagement process has been embraced by a number of progressive advisers as an especially effective means of doing so. With the family tree laid out, issues impacting the wider family suddenly become very obvious.

It’s logical that in preparing for retirement, clients might want to ensure that all risks are taken into consideration. Providing greater peace of mind for their children whilst doing so is simply an added bonus.

If ever there were an opportunity to provide value through strategic risk advice, this is one of them.


This post was authored by Stewart Bell who was a coach with Elixir Consulting between 2010 and 2014.