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Everyone’s a Specialist

Much of the conversation about the later years in life focuses on the “retirement crisis”; in fact, nearly 70 percent of working-age adults do not participate in an employer-sponsored plan, according to a 2015 study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School.

Yet, help abounds, according to a recent survey. Nearly every advisor hangs out a shingle and claims credentials as a retirement planning specialist. Overall, 92 percent of advisors consider retirement planning to be a specialty of theirs, their firm or both. Seventy-one percent say retirement planning is a “very prominent” skill set at their firm. 

And, while retirement investments account for an average 61 percent of an advisor’s assets under management, this part of their business consumes only 42 percent of an FA’s time. Why the discrepancy? Perhaps it’s the advent of new retirement planning tools, calculators and software that lessen the time an advisor needs to focus on creating individualized tax-efficient account withdrawal strategies?

Or perhaps most advisors lean on the “retirement readiness” playbook when pitching their services to prospects, without distinguishing methods for navigating the complexities?    

For the most part, advisors use mutual funds, ETFs, annuities and stocks for retirement planning clients. But larger firms, those with more than $200 million in assets, are more likely to recommend stocks and laddered bonds than annuities and life insurance. 

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