At the Future of Advice conference in December of 2019, Steve Gresham coined the phrase “Adoption is the new Innovation.” Steve was referring to how the adoption of technology is lacking across the advisor population. Steve’s message was urging advisors and industry leaders to leverage fintech to battle the many factors significantly slowing organic growth. When embraced, technology can help advisors be more efficient, demonstrate value, identify “next best actions” and improve the client experience. So why is it that more Mutual Fund and Insurance/Annuity carriers aren’t pursuing this opportunity to partner with fintech companies to facilitate increased adoption?
Social Security is far more complex than many people realize, and this complexity can make the decision regarding when to claim Social Security benefits a daunting one.
There are many options to consider around timing, as well as, how to file for benefits, and how to choose between these options, which can lead to a significant difference in Social Security income over an individual’s or a couple’s lifetime. In addition to the many possibilities, people have their own worries, such as time they took away from the workforce or their spouse’s life expectancy.
Advisors can help their clients overcome these worries and navigate through filing options to determine the ideal age to claim Social Security benefits and maximize their income.
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Do you have clients that are married? If you answered yes, you need to help them coordinate their Social Security strategies in order to maximize their combined benefits. Couples who file in a coordinated fashion get more Social Security income than when they file individually.
One element every advisor can add to their offerings is Social Security advice. Setting clients up to maximize their Social Security benefits in combination with the income they’ll receive from their other investments puts them in a more comfortable financial position during retirement.
If you ask 10 different people about their experience with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you’ll get 10 different answers.
The truth is, there is no one typical experience. Each claimant’s experience depends on the representative they interact with and how well versed that person is on the benefits.
Typically the SSA provides general advice, not advice that would maximize the claimant’s benefit. They do not offer any guidance regarding strategies for maximizing couples’ filings. In fact, retirees don’t exactly know how much they will actually receive until they file—up to that point all of the numbers are estimates.
During periods of market volatility, advisors typically recognize that rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting strategies are important for their clients. The ultimate goal is to maintain their clients’ target allocation and realize tax savings at the end of the year.
Both of the previously mentioned strategies provide value to clients in difficult situations. But before advisors begin this process, they should focus on identifying opportunities to set clients up for success in the long term.
In recent weeks, advisors have faced something they haven’t seen in a decade: a volatile market that ultimately resulted in a significant correction and the end of the long-term bull market. This current volatility is based on uncertainties around the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as an oil price war. To pile on, we are all transitioning to remote working environments and adjusting to meetings that aren’t in person. These circumstances would amplify any advisors’ insecurities and fears that their business will suffer.
Facing unprecedented situations in the markets raises stress levels for both advisors and clients. Fortunately, it’s still possible for advisors to have positive, productive conversations with their clients when the news is negative or uncertain.
Essential to this process for advisors is first examining how they do business. Face-to-face meetings shouldn’t be a requirement for a regular review meeting. Flexibility in how advisors deliver information to their clients is important.
For those who weren’t yet offering their clients ways to connect virtually, the spread of COVID-19 has forced our hands to explore options through channels like Zoom, Join.me or Go-To-Meeting. We can go kicking and screaming, or we can embrace this change and look for the opportunity. Now is a great time to add these options so that clients can still get the information they need in a comfortable setting.
We’ve spoken with many advisors over the past few weeks. It’s an uncertain time for everyone. But throughout these conversations, it’s become apparent that advisors need something positive to talk about with clients. After the longest bull market in history burst into oblivion, we can no longer count on positive performance to delight our customers. We have to dig deeper.
There’s power in community. When a group of like-minded people come together for a common purpose, the potential is limitless.
Chalice (the community) brings advisors together. CEO Keith Gregg kicked things off with some engaging and entertaining examples that highlighted the power of community. With the rise and mass-adoption of the internet, people find themselves looking to reconnect with the world around them. Advisors working solo or in a small shop can feel the solitude after a short amount of time. This community can help.
The current market correction has hit the industry hard. It's the steepest decline since 2008, and in the wake of a global crisis, the investment horizon has never looked less clear.