What challenges have you faced or do
you currently face in your practice?
When I first founded my firm, new client acquisition was always a challenge. We found a lot of success through workshop
marketing, to the point where referrals and workshop marketing have become the cornerstone of our prospecting today.
However, in an industry where new policies, regulations and
laws seem to arise more often than not, prospecting remains
a challenge for any firm. As a firm, it is important that we stay
at the cutting edge of all marketing techniques so that we can
stay top of mind with our ideal client.
The DOL’s recent regulatory changes also bring new challenges, especially with limited information available. As
retirement advisors who are also investment advisor representatives, our team already adheres to the fiduciary standard, so
putting client’s interests first is not new to us, but with some
of these changes, I believe there’s going to be a lot of different products and companies that may exit the market, which
could ultimately make it increasingly more difficult to serve
our clients in the best way possible. However, I look at the
regulatory environment and the changes as a positive because
many firms may decide to go in different directions. New
advisors may exit the business because they don’t have the
firm established yet. Older advisors may retire. The fiduciary
standard could be an opportunity for retirement advisors who
do follow the fiduciary standard to serve more people.
What is your process in terms of prospecting
and integrating new clients?
We believe that education is truly imperative, especially as
investors approach retirement and their investment needs
change. Many advisors only handle one or two areas of a client’s retirement plan, but we believe in order to best serve our
clients, we must assist them with all of the financial areas of
retirement and create one comprehensive plan. We also think
this is how you are truly a fiduciary to your clients, as advising on all areas and how they impact each other allows you
to provide the best possible advice. That is why our prospecting is educationally based around all of aspects of retirement
planning. At our workshops, prospects go through six checkpoints of retirement, learning not just about investment and
retirement planning strategies, but also about the importance
of health care and Medicare, long-term care, tax and estate
planning and the role each plays in a successful retirement
plan. By the end of the workshop, many referrals are ready to
set up their first appointment with our firm.
As far as integrating new clients, our appointment process
What challenges do the senior and boomer
is completely plan driven. Since the workshops help layout
the different checkpoints of retirement planning, the first
appointment is spent going through the client’s goals and ob-
jectives and understanding the retirement journey they want
to take. By gathering this information and understanding
how the client envisions their retirement, we are able to build
a plan that is not product focused but instead plan focused.
This comprehensive plan helps them to see the big picture and
understand what each of their investments and each of their
decisions are doing and how that impacts the outcome of their
overall comprehensive plan. Once a plan is built and imple-
mented, our clients feel peace of mind that all areas have been
addressed, and they feel empowered to go out and enjoy what
they have worked so hard for their entire lives.
markets face today?
I think the largest risk that retirees face today is longevity because longevity increases every other risk in retirement. Baby
boomers are different than the generations before them, many
of them without pensions or guaranteed income sources. This,
combined with the reality that life expectancies are continuing
to grow longer creates an uphill battle for many baby boomers.
The longer we live, the more challenges we will see, including
extreme stock market volatility and even crashes, inflation,
health issues and rising taxes. If a retiree does not address longevity first, the rest of their lives they’ll be on pins and needles
hoping that they have enough money to survive.
The other big issue that I see with today’s retirees is the low
interest rate environment. Many investors become more conservative as they approach retirement, turning to “safer” investment vehicles such as CDs, bonds or annuities. However,
all of these safe types of investment vehicles are impacted by
the low rate environment, which makes accumulating enough
for retirement increasingly more difficult, especially if we
have a long life. Portfolio growth is key, but another risk that
they could face, if dissatisfied with the returns of those safer
alternatives, is overextending themselves in the stock market
in an attempt to make more money. This usually doesn’t end
well and could prove very fatal to the overall success of their
What are your predictions for the industry
over the next 10 years?
I think we will see very interesting changes in the financial services industry over the next 10 years. The shift in demographics will be one factor. We have the baby boomer generation
that is now in retirement, and another big group is coming
behind them. They too will have their own unique challenges
and many of them are going to need the assistance of a financial advisor to navigate this challenging journey they’re about
to take. Those demographics also pertain to advisors as many
advisors are going to be exiting the business as they retire,