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Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin

Founder and director, MIT AgeLab

Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin

Dr. Joseph Coughlin is the founder and director of the MIT AgeLab, a multidisciplinary research program created to understand the behavior of the 50+ population, the role of technology in their lives, and the opportunity for innovation to improve the quality of life for older adults and their families. He is a member of the board of directors of AARP, AARP Services, and Benchmark Senior Living. Coughlin consults with major companies in the United States and internationally, including BMW, Colgate, Kimberly Clark, JP Morgan, Marriott, Johnson & Johnson, Cartier, and many others.

Inclusive Financial Planning Service Design Considerations for an Aging Population

Education Symposium

Rapid Fire Group D

August 25, 2023

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Presenting with Sheng-Hung Lee

We live in a global village; emerging technologies, complicated socioeconomic shifts, digital transformation, organizational change, and other critical factors have shortened the physical and digital distance between people, impacting our perceptions and services of financial planning systems. Financial planning services should not only include discussion of people’s wealth, but also consider improving people’s quality of life, education and living conditions, and much more. According to the US Census Bureau, by 2060 the percentage of the 65-and-above age group in the US is projected to increase from 16% to 23%. The high percentage of older adults has made financial planning services and toolkits much more complicated and critical. Further, only 57% of US adults are financially literate.

The study aims to explore and envision an inclusive financial planning toolkit and services for an aging population to facilitate difficult conversations, enable older adults to express their needs more explicitly, and build friendships and trust with financial planners. We used four 30-minute workshops with designers, financial advisors, and senior people to capture their discussions and interactions and summarize from transcriptions and body language. In the end, we suggest that inclusive financial planning services need to 1) be “fluid” to allow the models to grow, 2) evolve from human-centered design to humanity-centered design to make financial planning service more inclusive and adaptable, 3) consider inclusive financial planning services in dynamic stages, and 4) apply new inclusive service touchpoints to empower financial advisors and update financial education.

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