Focus on Retirement by P-SimonSchuster


More Info
									Focus on Retirement
Author: The Staff of the Wall Street Journal

Several times a year, The Wall Street Journal publishes Special Reports about active living for those fifty-
five and older. And with the number of older Americans at an estimated 45 million and growing, it's no
wonder these reports are one of the most popular features of both the print and the interactive versions of
the Journal.Here, in Focus on Retirement, is the best of these Special Reports. As you might expect
from the nation's preeminent business publication, here are tips on how you can stretch your retirement
income, when you should pay your estate taxes, and how many players you really need on your financial
team. Here are the best stories from the popular If You're Thinking of Retiring In... feature, medical news
on combating heart disease and other illnesses, and ideas on what to do with all that free time. In Focus
on Retirement you will Meet Barbara Barrie, a 68-year-old actress who has turned her battle against
colorectal cancer into a crusade for public awareness; Ride the rails with Ira Lomench, who organized an
18-day transcontinental charter train trip for a few friends; Investigate Sun City Huntley, an active-adult
community 45 miles from Chicago that boasts a golf course and a 94,000-square-foot lodge with health
club and lounges; and Join the annual national reunion of the Knickerbocker clan in Schaghticoke, New
York, advertised on the family website.Collected and presented here for the first time in e-book format,
Focus on Retirement is a searchable, portable, and hugely valuable resource from the award-winning staff
of The Wall Street Journal.


The Soft Sell


March 6, 2000

Jim Corliss, a burly, affable real-estate agent in Murphys, Calif.,
strongly believes this to be true: When older adults begin taking steps
to sell or buy a home, they might be better off with an agent who is
"more counselor-driven than sales-driven."

Real-estate firms are betting that a new type of
salesperson-- with a laid-back style-- will appeal to

That's the thinking behind a growing specialty within the real-estate
business: salespeople who cater to the senior market.

The sale or purchase of a home, of course, can be trying at any age. But
as people approach or begin retirement, new difficulties can emerge,
including anxieties about parting with 30 years or more of memories;
questions about how the transaction should fit into larger estate
planning, and uncertainties about whether the next house could be, or
should be, the last house.

Accordingly, such customers don't always need a hard-charging
salesperson as much as they do an adviser, someone with the skills-- and
perhaps most important, the patience-- to navigate what could be a
lengthy passage. Recognizing that need, real-estate companies and
individual agents across the country are developing training programs
that show sales staffs how to work with a market of older buyers and
sellers. Does a client have a question about inheritance laws and the
sale of a house? A senior specialist provides a tax attorney with the
answers. Does a client, widowed and alone, need a ride to the doctor?
The senior specialist pulls up to the front door. Is a client unable to
make a decision about selling his or her house? The senior specialist
steps back and waits-- for years, if necessary.

About this particular market, Mr. Corliss, himself 61 years old, says,
"Overcoming fear of change is a major factor."

One of the pluses of choosing a real-estate agent who focuses on older
customers is that a salesperson trained in this field is likely to be
more familiar with the issues-- legal, financial and emotional-- that
might affect the 55-plus crowd. Less appealing, and sometimes less
evident, is the fact that some agents who advertise themselves as senior
specialists are, in reality, on the sales staff of a particular
retirement community or other age-restricted neighborhood and are simply
trying to get you to buy property in that single development. Indeed,
the first commandment in choosing a senior real-estate specialist might
be: Beware of agents who market only one product. A salesperson should
be willing and able to discuss a full range of housing options.

The growth in the specialty, of course, is being propelled by the
nation's changing demographics. Almost 60% of Americans age 55 and older
currently own their homes outright, and by the year 2010, one in five
Americans will be 65 or older. Today, more than half of homeowners age
65 and older have lived in their homes at least 20 years; as such these
individuals have substantial equity-- and increasingly-- a wide variety
of housing options to choose from if they decide to move later in life.

If there is a guru of senior specialists, it is Mr. Corliss, who left
his first occupation-- that of Franciscan monk-- to become a real-estate
agent at age 22. Because he began working in West Los Angeles, where at
the time there was a large population of older residents, he always had
senior clients.

To top