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Profiting From Retirement Planning

Advisors with comprehensive, easy-to-understand plans will get most of the business.

By Donald Ray Haas, CLU, ChFC, CFP, MSFS

If your practice is focused on just retirement planning, your workload is full and satisfying, with little downtime. You are probably prosperous as well. Americans who are currently 55 and older represent an immediate, untapped market of accumulated wealth that requires proper management. Over the next 10 years, rollover funds from 401(k) and 403(b) plans, IRAs, pensions and profit sharing plans will create asset management business not seen before in history.

You can profit from this wave of high demand for retirement planning by providing information, service, assistance and advice in the following strategic areas: calculating the income needed in retirement; selecting options for pay outs; developing a retirement cash flow analysis; and constructing proper asset allocation for retirement plans. What’s more, the horizon looks good since this trend will no doubt continue for the remainder of your financial advising career.

Since 1996, more than 11,000 Baby Boomers have been turning 50 each day. Hence, the number of retirement planning prospects is increasing at an astronomical rate. Moreover, it is valid to assume that the market demand for retirement planning exceeds the supply of professional financial advisors who specialize in this area.

While many players in the financial services arena are targeting this Boomer market, only those who offer the most comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand financial plans will receive the bulk of this lucrative business.

Putting it all together
As an Advisor Today reader, you probably already know the fundamentals of performing these services. Let me show you how to put it all together to benefit your practice.

First, an important cue for financial professionals 60 and up: You have a leg up on younger advisors because, as Pogo would say, “You is Them!” Your proximity to retirement gives you some very personal knowledge, attitude and experience that can be parlayed into a great deal of satisfaction and, of course, significant enhancement of your retirement cash flow. Consequently, if you are 60, 70 or 80, don’t end your career just yet-the best is yet to come.

The 20th century will be remembered for many accomplishments, not the least of which is the development of the retirement concept. Actually, the first pension plan was created by American Express in 1875, but the significance of retirement was not fully appreciated until well into the 20th century.

Now, in the early years of the 21st century, we find the concept of leaving a lifetime career at a certain age and date—called retirement—is undergoing a major transformation. What was once viewed appropriate for industrial-age workers is being replaced with a much better concept for this new age. Now, the retirement concept is being reformed so that each person decides when to stop working and what best suits his or her lifestyle.

This 21st century retirement involves a more active, engaging and productive way of life. It also involves choices such as shortened workweeks, temporary work, working at home or no work at all. Since chronological age is no longer relevant and the aging experience is different for each individual, the new retirement lifestyle renders the word retirement obsolete.

Retirement—or whatever you call it—has become simply one of many life stages. This period may be filled with a continuing career in your chosen field, a new career in a somewhat related or entirely different field, or a complete divorce from any notion of employment. It can be anything any individual desires.

For some, continuing to work will be necessary in order to maintain an acceptable standard of living. This is the worst option. Whether or not you work in later life should be based on desire, not need. When you must continue to do something you do not like, it can lead to misery and even illness. This is not a worthy goal for anybody. These columns should help you and your clients avoid such traps. Everybody should strive to have choices in life.

Of course, there are certain “musts” in life. You must eat and breathe. Also, each culture places certain additional demands on its citizens, such as wearing clothes, obeying community laws and procedures, and waiting until a certain age before enjoying a privilege. Even with these restrictions, you have many choices including your occupation, where you live and who will share your life.

This new century offers an impressive array of menu items from which to choose as you go through life. This era is about choices. Make sure retirement is an option and not a mandate. Plan to have choices and don’t be trapped. If this involves an increase, reduction or cessation of earned income, then it should be because you planned for such a contingency. Develop proper resources for the future and strive to have “money forever.”

Next month, we will delve deeper into financial advising for clients who are nearing retirement or are in retirement, and discover how to apply key strategies that will benefit your clients and hone your practice specialty.

Donald Ray Haas, CLU, ChFC, CFP, MSFS, of Southfield, Mich., has been an insurance agent and financial consultant for 45 years. He is the second recipient of the Loren Dunton Award. He can be reached at 248-213-0101 or at


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