A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows the role of financial advisers is moving beyond simply recommending investments, said John Diehl, senior vice president of The Hartford Mutual Funds.
Diehl spoke Tuesday at a financial leadership summit for accounting and financial professionals in Charleston.
In an interview prior to his presentation, Diehl said a division of MIT's school of engineering systems is studying aging. It's known as the Age Lab.
"They're studying aging not just in the U.S. but around the world and not just as it applies to financial services but as it applies to a wide range of industries," he said.
"The Hartford was a founding sponsor of the Age Lab around 1999," he said. "Our initial work focused on aging drivers and safety concerns, such as, 'How do we encourage participation between parents and their children about when the parents should give up the car keys?'
"About six years ago we focused on trust and advice, specifically as it applies to the financial services industry, trying to understand consumer behavior and decision-making, and the demographics that are impacting the way people do business with financial services and use financial advice."
He said the Age Lab mined social sites where people were discussing how they would choose a financial adviser, their views on retirement and their future lifestyle.
"What they discovered was the word 'retirement' is disappearing from the American dialogue and maybe not for the reasons you might expect," Diehl said.
"While it's true that many people don't know if they'll ever have enough money for retirement, many others describe their vocation as a very important part of their identity.
"In other words, what's the typical question after someone asks your name? It is, 'What do you do?' Just because we hit age 62, 67 or 72 does not mean we're ready to back out of society.
"It may very well mean that we leverage our experience and talents in a different way than we did n the first 25 years of our career."