How to create great client personas – part 2: At retirement

By AdviceBridge

This is the third in a series of four articles aimed at improving your marketing effectiveness, particularly when it comes to your less profitable clients.

In the first article, we looked at the importance of knowing your clients, with a particular focus on the use of client personas. Last week, we then drilled down into one specific cohort of clients – the “40-something accumulators”.

This week, we look at another key segment – the “at retirement” market.

Introducing the “at retirement” market

This cohort of clients will almost exclusively be in their 60s. While some people retire in their 50s and some delay retiring until they are past 70 when it comes to putting a client persona together, we’re very much looking at the majority of a certain segment, and the vast majority of people retire in their 60s.

They are likely to be married, or in a civil partnership and, if they have children, they will have left home – with a good chance that they’ll have children of their own.

If they are still working, they are likely to be on a good salary after a long career or may have recently cut back – employment-wise, as they decided to take the pressure off in the last couple of years before stopping work completely.

Alternatively, they may own a well-established business that they will either be looking to sell or pass on to their family once they stop work.

They are likely to be mortgage-free, or with a small outstanding mortgage. They could own a high-value property, which might be too big for their needs if their children have left home.

They could have some debt on credit cards and other unsecured loans as that is often a quicker and easier solution than raising money through a remortgage on their property.

They would like to retire now, assuming they can afford it.

Their working life, and financial awareness

This segment is likely to consider that their period of employment is nearly at an end as they approach retirement.

They will probably be receptive to the idea of working part-time, or on a consultancy basis if that allowed them to augment their pension fund before stopping work but would not want a salary reduction to impact their quality of life.

Bear in mind that possible recent redundancy might have impacted plans and prompted them to consider retirement a few years earlier than they’d previously anticipated. The impact of lockdown may have made their mind up for them.

They will be quite financially aware after a long career working and having had the long-term financial commitment of a mortgage.

They could have a decent amount of pension savings, accumulated through a series of different employer schemes or their own personal arrangements. They are likely to also have other financial assets, such as ISAs.

They may have already had financial advice regarding their retirement. Research shows that people are more likely to seek financial advice the closer they get to retirement. They may have also had some financial advice regarding inheritance – although this may not be much more than making a will.

What matters to them?

They’ll have worked hard through their working life, and now want to relax and enjoy not working. They could well have a long list of things they want to do, that they haven’t previously had time for – travel, follow hobbies, spend time with family.

Their decision process could be driven by the state of their health, even if they have no long-term condition, they will be aware they are “not getting any younger” and could be ready to slow down.

Their quality of life will be important to them, and their family will highly likely be their top priority.

What keeps them awake at night?

They are likely to be conscious of their health and might be wondering how long they can continue working. So, they could be growing aware that time may be running out on them building their pension fund.

That realisation might sit alongside the concerns they have about whether they can afford to retire and maintain the lifestyle they have grown used to.

They will also worry about their children and grandchildren. While this is something that parents tend to do, it could manifest itself into concern over their financial future, and the desire to help as far as possible.

How do they get information and make decisions?

They are likely to be relatively tech-savvy, so will receive online messages – either direct by email or social media platforms. They could even be receptive to a well-crafted direct mailer through their letterbox.

From a news and information perspective, they will still be tied to some more traditional communication channels, such as TV and printed media.

What would prompt them to contact you?

A comfortable retirement will be their primary goal. They will want to have few or no financial worries. So, retirement income planning will be a key subject that they are liable to be receptive to.

If they have substantial assets, they will want to try and ensure their family inherit more of their assets than the taxman when they die.

If they are business owners, they will be concerned about the future of their business after they have stopped work, particularly if their intention is to pass it down to other family members.

So, how can you help clients who are “at retirement”?

There are a whole series of issues that you could support someone at retirement address. Clearly, much will depend on their current circumstances and the state of their financial arrangements, but the following would be a priority:

  • Retirement income planning, including the impact of pension freedoms, the lifetime allowance, investment strategies and tax-efficient income planning.
  • Current pension analysis, maybe considering pension consolidation if there was an opportunity to save on charges and create a single view.
  • Cashflow forecasting and “what if” scenarios.
  • Managing inheritance planning, including wills, power of attorney and business succession.

For many clients, one key thing you can offer is honesty. It might take someone independent to suggest to the client that they really cannot afford to retire now. It’ll clearly make it an easier conversation if you add that “if you follow these steps, you’ll be able to comfortably retire in X years’ time”.

But is supporting this segment of the market profitable?

Many advisers find that clients who are approaching or at retirement can be the most profitable to work with. But every client is unique and will have different needs and requirements, which could mean that they are not profitable for you.

However, there has been significant development in digitised solutions to allay these fears.

Furthermore, not offering a service or solution to this segment may cost in the long run. Those potential clients may well form relationships elsewhere with firms that have adopted technology to automate and improve current processes and procedures.

Where does AdviceBridge fit in?

AdviceBridge has developed an automated digital solution specifically aimed at meeting advisers’ needs in addressing the “at retirement” market, delivering a service that is profitable to them and engaging to this segment of clients.

Find out more about our service and how we can help you by emailing us at or calling us on 0203 925 3850.