NU Online News Service, Nov. 12, 2003, 5:12 p.m. EST – LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn., has created a Retirement Resource Center to “help the industry capitalize on the growing retirement market opportunity,” says Eric Sondergeld.

Sondergeld, the head of the new center, disagrees with the conventional wisdom about the boomer retiree market: He says he does not believe boomers will stampede to retire all at once.

Although the market will grow significantly, the growth will phase in gradually, Sondergeld predicts.

But “I would never suggest anyone ignore this market,” Sondergeld says. “We’re going to have a growing number of people with fewer benefits from their employers than they had in the past…. They’ll need help.”

The resource center is trying to prepare advisors to meet that demand for assistance by offering them a retirement distribution and planning training program. The center also is developing a retirement planning seminar, a retirement readiness test and other services, Sondergeld says.

The center courses are meant to “raise awareness of just how big the coming opportunity is and to help sales reps develop a business plan around this opportunity,” he says.

The training program can be taken online or on a CD.

LIMRA also has introduced the Retirement Risk Matcher, a booklet designed to help consumers understand and prepare for the major risks they may face in retirement.

The booklet talks about risks that can have a significant impact on a retiree’s financial situation.

The Retirement Risk Matcher explains the major risks and gives readers statistics and other information about exposure and frequency. A series of questions helps readers rate their level of concern about each risk.

The booklet “educates clients in a nonthreatening way,” Sondergeld says. “These are issues lots of consumers aren’t well-versed in, so they ignore them, and many agents aren’t well-versed either.”

Major risks the booklet explores include longevity, the death of a spouse, big medical bills, long term care costs, inflation and investment losses.