Robin Mueller, motivational speaker and insurance industry insider, explained during his workshop at the NAIFA Career Conference and Annual Meeting that recent changes to Social Security laws create situations for advisors to interact with clients
A recent law change eliminated the government’s practice of sending paper Social Security statements. This creates an opening for advisors, Mueller said, who can ask clients or prospects whether they have seen their statements online. Follow up questions then include:
- Have you had a chance to review it?
- Do you have questions about the statement?
- Are you happy with the numbers you see?
This last question presents an opportunity. “Here’s where you make your money,” Mueller said. He explained that most people will answer “no,” which provides a good opportunity for the advisor to discuss products that can help prospects or clients better prepare for retirement.
Another question advisors are likely to hear from clients: I’m thinking of taking my Social Security benefits early, what do you think?
Mueller suggested six talking points when answering this question:
- Life expectancy. How long is a client likely to live?
- How is the client’s personal health and family health history?
- How will the Social Security earnings limitation effect benefits? For every $2 a person taking benefits earns over $14,640 they lose $1 in benefits.
- What is the status of their health insurance?
- Is it an election year? What are candidates saying? How are laws affecting social security likely to change?.
- The final point ot bring up is quality of life. Is the lost benefits money worth the added quality of life attained by retirement at an earlier age?
Similarly, advisors may hear: I’m thinking of delaying my SS benefits, what do you think?
For people born in 1943 and later, retiring at age 70 will increase their benefits by 8% per year. For a typical person, their break even point, when the percentage increase covers the money they would have gotten during the years they remained at work, will occur when they are well into their 80s. For this person, talking points 1-5 above are not likely to apply.
The main point to consider is quality of life: will the added money later in life improve the client’s quality of life?
Finally, Mueller had another piece of advice for advisors helping clients with retirement planing. “Get yourself to your local Social Security Office and develop a relationship with a representative you trust and who can be your go-to person with client questions and problems,” he said.