Sure, most financial advisors and wealth managers have heard of retirement income planning by now. And they know they’ve got to provide it if they want to hold onto, or win more, baby boomer clients. But that doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job at it. According to a recent report by Fidelity Investments called “Adapting a Practice for Retirement Income Planning” investors still aren’t getting the retirement planning services or products that they want and need.
It’s a real risk. If you don’t provide the retirement planning services your clients want, they may look elsewhere for financial advice. Three out of four investors added or switched advisors within 15 years of retirement, according to the Fidelity report, which cited McKinsey & Co. as its source for the figure.
In addition to knowing your client’s expectations and financial backgrounds, providing retirement income planning demands an understanding of key risks facing retirees, such as longevity, health care expenses, inflation, asset allocation and withdrawal rate. The report showed that 60 percent of Americans between 55 and 70 want to discuss critical illness insurance, long-term care, longevity insurance and/or reverse mortgages with their advisor.
More specifically, nearly half (46 percent) of investors say it’s “extremely” or “very” important that their advisor have detailed knowledge of long-term care planning; and 39 percent would like to discuss health care coverage with their advisor. But less than 25 percent of investors describe their current advisor as having “excellent” knowledge of long-term care and Social Security.
The same is true for other products. Some 13 percent of survey respondents said they want to discuss critical illness insurance with their advisor, but only 2 percent said they actually were obtaining through their advisor; some 21 percent of survey respondents said they would like to discuss longevity insurance with their advisor, but only 5 percent said they were getting it; and while 11 percent of respondents said they would like to discuss reverse mortgages, only 2 percent are actually getting it.
Advisors are optimistic that this will change. A full 94 percent of advisors surveyed by Fidelity said they expect their business to grow over the next five years as a result of offering retirement income planning, and nearly a third expect their business to at least double.
But beware. Increasing your focus on retirement income planning comes with a couple of catches. First, building retirement income plans is more time consuming than creating savings and accumulation plans—by about 20 percent, according to Fidelity’s survey. As a result, Fidelity says, advisors might have to reduce the number of clients they serve by 20 percent.
There’s another problem. You can’t offer retirement services alone. If you do, you risk depleting your assets under management—and revenue. Retirees typically draw down income to fund retirement, and they also tend to invest more conservatively, which can limit asset growth, and shift assets to fixed income investments, which tend to generate lower commissions and trails. The study found that advisors who focus only on retirement savings experience revenue declines of up to 48 percent over a ten year period.