Social Security Big Opportunity for Advisors

Social Security Big Opportunity for Advisors

Investors want advice on Social Security and are willing to make changes to get it. In a recent Nationwide study, 60 percent of investors surveyed said they would switch advisors to get advice on maximizing their Social Security benefits.

About 74 percent of U.S. adults plan on collecting Social Security, with a majority of pre-retirees expecting to start accessing benefits at age 63, according to the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s Consumer Social Security Study.

In conjunction with Harris Poll Online, Nationwide surveyed over 900 U.S. adults aged 50 or older in June 2015 who currently collect or plan to collect Social Security benefits.

Nationwide’s poll found that only about one in five pre-retirees said they were very confident or confident in their knowledge of Social Security. Even among investors who are already retired, only about 24 percent expressed complete confidence.

And yet, less than one in five investors reported working with a financial advisor who provided them with advice on Social Security, according to the report. Overall, the poll found about 32 percent of U.S. adults aged 50 and older are working with a financial advisor.

But investors are willing to seek out an advisor who will help them maximize their Social Security benefits, particularly pre-retirees. About 71 percent of those over age 50 who had yet to retire said they were extremely or somewhat likely to switch advisors.

Investors reported that, for the most part, they initiated the conversation around Social Security with their advisors. A little over a third of investors surveyed said their financial advisor began discussions about issues regarding Social Security. 

“This is a huge opportunity for financial advisors,” says David Giertz, president of distribution and sales at Nationwide. “Advisors don’t have to know everything about Social Security benefits, but, at the very least, they need to be able to point clients to tools and information to help investors make good decisions.”

Of those investors who did receive advice regarding Social Security benefits, an overwhelming majority—94 percent—said they followed it. For those who didn’t follow the advice, over half said it was because they had not yet retired or were not yet eligible to take Social Security.



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