The Average Advisor Has at Least 7 Clients With Some Form of Cognitive Impairment; Are You Prepared?

By Dr. Mikol Davis via

Recently, we were invited to speak at the Buckingham Alliance annual conference where we gave the keynote address on the issues of managing aging clients.

The average advisor has at least 7 clients right now with some form of cognitive impairment. Because of this, older clients often lack the ability to make safe financial decisions. This is why a change in the way advisors manage these clients must start now. We found that many conference attendees told us they were reluctant about bringing up the subject of their client’s getting older and specifically when they had concerns about changes in their financial decision-making abilities. Most of us are conflict-averse when it comes to bringing up something like this that can be controversial.

With increasing longevity and its attendant risks, particularly of cognitive decline, it is imperative that advisors change the way business is done with the older client. Change isn’t easy for anyone. When advisors get used to doing things the way they’ve always done them, a shift can feel overwhelming. Most of us prefer to stick with what we know. If business is good, and no disasters have happened with the older folks in your book yet, you may think it’s ok just wait until “something happens” and then figure out what to do then.

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