Five Questions For Financial Gerontologist Cyndi Hutchins

By Michael Bodley
The Baltimore Sun.

As baby boomers ebb out of the workforce and into retirement, financial advisers are helping wind down their clients’ careers by preparing them for soon-to-be-reduced incomes.

Meet Cyndi Hutchins, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s director of financial gerontology, one of the country’s first such positions at a financial management firm.

Her recent appointment marks the company’s first foray into the science of aging. Hutchins works with other Merrill Lynch financial advisers to manage their clients’ transitions into retirement.

She specializes in settling the fears many aging people have about life without a steady paycheck.

Hutchins recently went back to school to earn a master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California to better understand her clients.

Hutchins explained how her newfound knowledge of “what is driving generational challenges” has helped her see the financial concerns of older clients in a whole new light.
Q: After almost 30 years in the field, what inspired you to go back to school to focus on gerontology?

A: The focus of my practice as a financial adviser was to help clients put their financial pieces in place and get themselves in a position where they can retire. When I became interested in all this, I started speaking to others, people and clients, and got to their thoughts and feelings about retirement.

There are a lot of issues covering the baby boomers and their aging we really weren’t covering. It was for my own personal knowledge. I wanted to really know what was driving their generational challenges, for instance, the disappearance of defined-benefit pension plans and how that changed the landscape as baby boomers are facing retirement. It was for my own personal benefit to get to know the client I was dealing with.

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