There’s a funny thing about high school and college reunions: when we arrive, we’re shocked at how old everyone looks. We can pretend we’re not aging, but we can’t escape the fact that we’re growing a little older every day. Retirement may not be in our immediate plans, but it’s constantly creeping closer.

The same funny thing applies to your firm’s clients. With each year, they’re getting older, too. Some may have already retired, and if your firm has a large client base, a certain percentage of your clients will die in the coming year. If we want to be nicer and more businesslike about it, we can refer to it as attrition. No matter what we call it, though, it raises a serious question for your firm: can your client base survive old age?

A recent study by Fidelity found that 23 percent of RIA clients were at least 70 years old, and that as a group, they represented 28 percent of a firm’s assets. You don’t need to be an actuary to recognize most of them won’t be around in a few years, and those who are still alive have probably begun to draw down on their assets.

So what does that mean for your firm? Are you actively seeking out younger clients to replace those who are aging? Are you reaching out to your clients’ children and grandchildren to offer them seamless management and planning of the estates they’ll inherit one day?

If you haven’t already done so, analyze your client list and current prospects to determine their average age and each generation’s contribution to your assets under management. If a disparate share of your clients, their assets, or both is nearing the “golden years,” it’s time to get to work to protect your firm’s future. After all, when it’s your turn to retire, you want to make sure what you’ve spent years building is worth all that hard work.

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