Retirement Planning Meetings – Getting it Right!
There are several times during a client life-cycle that their Advisor should insist on a frank retirement discussion:
- When they should begin the savings and investing mode
- Several times, mid-term, to monitor, review and adjust their retirement plan
- In earnest, 5, 3, 2 and 1 year before retirement
- Six months ahead of retirement to execute detailed actions to prepare for income generation
Most clients believe that their job is to hand you money, and your job is to make it grow as much as possible. That’s only partially true.
And if you rely solely on investment advice to deliver valued service to clients, get ready for mass defections after you’ve put in decades of work on their behalf.
Instead focus on Planning, Preparation and non-investment services. Invest in understanding your clients’ retirement goals, situation, expected lifestyle, location, health, family relationships, etc., and you will gain a client for life.
Firstly, as always, focus on your client’s financial goals. Provide them with a structured savings program incorporating Pre-Authorized Contributions to Registered and Non-Registered Accounts, understand their debt and asset situation, provide guidance, and deliver investment returns.
And once a robust financial plan is in place, you can begin to deliver services differently than the majority of your competition. Not “better”, but, “differently”.
Schedule a meeting specifically to discuss ONLY their retirement. Inform them in advance, that this meeting is a joint investment by them (and make sure both members of the couple are present). Gather meaningful information to discuss retirement planning and make suitable investment recommendations and decisions.
Key Factors to Know
Ask your clients about their:
Overall Retirement Perspective
- Do you have an idea of what your retirement will look like?
- Are you optimistic about retiring?
- Do you know the activities that you would like to pursue?
- Does your spouse share this vision?
Activities and Habits
- Why do you pursue the activities that you engage in?
- What are they?
- Will the increased time to pursue your activities affect your desire to pursue them?
- Do you view them as expensive, and will the cost rise in retirement?
- Will your lifestyle change in retirement?
Fitness and Longevity
- Do you pay attention to diet and exercise?
- Do you visit the doctor regularly?
- What do you think your real life expectancy is?
- Are there any major health issues in your family background?
- Do you have a Living Will or POA for personal care?
Leisure and Pastimes
- In retirement will you continue to work?
- Are there aspects of your work that you enjoy?
- Do you have a clear purpose for your retirement?
- Is there anything that will impact your availability to pursue your interests?
Community and Relationships
- Do you have strong relationships with family and friends?
- Are your relationships centred at your work or elsewhere?
- Are you a member of community and/or volunteer organizations?
- When you retire will your social circle change?
Housing and Accommodation
- Will your home serve your housing needs in retirement?
- Do you and your partner agree about where you’ll live?
- Will your home meet your social and family needs?
- Will you be able to adequately maintain your home in retirement?
Gifts and Estates
- The purpose of my accumulated wealth is to . . . . ?
- How long has it been since your will was last updated?
- Do you own life insurance? If so, what kind?
- How do you feel about your Estate Plan?
The Bottom Line
Begin the process of understanding your clients’ needs and desires, early and differently from your competition.
According to a study released by the Financial Planning Association, 43% of Advisors have not documented their Value Proposition, 75% have not written down their client service processes, and 85% have no client feedback system.
The summary? Clients are unsure of the value received, wouldn’t know how they would receive it if they did, and have no way to tell their Advisor whether they are being serviced to their expectations or not.
So begin true communication with a simple questionnaire about the goal you are helping them achieve: Their retirement.