Employee benefits for the ageing workforce

APW 51Take a look at your work colleagues. Are they looking a bit grey? Getting on a bit? It wouldn’t be surprising if they are: the first of the post-war ‘Baby Boomers’ hit retirement age around 2010 and there is a huge population wave fast maturing behind, many of whom are planning on working on into their retirement years.”

I am sitting here reading the article* from which the excerpt above was taken and I am struck by two things.

First, how did I get to be in the age group this refers to? No seriously, it seems such a short time ago that my wife and I were embarking on our life together, getting a house, then thinking about kids; stuff that lots of people do.

And now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, here we are part of the workforce that’s apparently “looking a bit grey” (can’t argue with that mind you).

The second thing though, which is less about my own aging crisis and more about the job I do, is the evident need for better planning for later life and beyond in this age group.

Over the last six months or so we have seen a surge in the number of online wills we are providing through our partners and intermediaries. It’s always been a strong part of what we do, and typically, these partners have either been general insurers, banks or ‘industrial’ will writers looking to improve their own process.

Now though, we are seeing more and more demand from life insurers (who are keen to help their clients all through their adult life not just at the end) and even more strikingly from benefits providers.

You see, for many previous generations things like wills and powers of attorney have been a bit of a taboo, not something one talked about in polite company; the generation this article talks about though (and the one I am such a reluctant part of) is very switched on to the need to get the affairs in order.

And as employers take an ever greater interest in finding better and more useful ways to support and enhance the general wellbeing of their most valuable asset, so it follows that something as core as a will can be seen as a meaningful ‘gift’ to an employee.

As the writer of this article says:

“Most advisers working in employee benefits, whether with small to medium enterprises or large multinationals, are going to need to factor age into the range of products and services they offer clients. Even those industries, such as IT, currently considered youthful, will in time succumb to the inevitable.”

The will as a benefit may seem a little macabre; but trust me, as a 50 something husband and father I can’t think of anything I’d rather my employer gave me as a benefit than the comfort of knowing my loved ones are protected in the event of my demise.

Now where did I put my cycling helmet – there’s life in this old dog yet?

Andrew Walker, Commercial Director at Epoq

 * Cover Magazine June 2016