Like a good marriage, successful pre-retirement planning starts with a mutual commitmentand the similarities dont end there. During my 14 years in financial services, and particularly over the past few years when Ive placed a heavy emphasis on pre-retirement planning, Ive found many areas where my job mirrors my marriage.
It all starts with commitment and grows from there. When I meet a prospect, I say, “I am asking for a lifetime partnership.” I think this helps separate me from my competition, because I dont think most financial services representatives ask for that.
Today, I wont start a relationship with a new client without that mutual commitment. I want my client just as excited about what we can accomplish with our new relationship as I am.
With mutual commitment, which encompasses trust and open lines of communication, we can accomplish great things together to secure and grow a wonderful retirement for the client.
Recognizing the Need
My focus on pre-retirement planning reflects the growing need for this service by increasing numbers of people, led by the baby boomers entering retirement age.
Pre-retirement planning starts for my clients in their early 50s and continues into their 60s. I begin the process 5 to 7 years out and get them to make a commitment regarding the date they want to retire and the retirement lifestyle they are seeking.
Ive found that commonalities among people in this age group, whether they come to me through seminars or referrals, include that:
? They come with assets and a desire to figure out what to do with them;
? They seek information and education on how best to leverage their assets;
? They want to verify when they can retire and maintain the lifestyle they are used to; and
? They want to ensure they dont outlive what they have.
Serving Pre-Retirement Clients
Whether my pre-retirement people are new to me or are my long-standing clients now entering their pre-retirement years, I tell them these next several years are going to be critical in planning and implementing their successful retirement. Particularly with new clients, I ask tough questionsfor example, questions about what they would do in the event of the unexpected death or disability of a spouseto test their commitment.
Let your common sense and creativity be your guide in asking these questions. Remember that youre the financial advocate for not only your client, but also their dependents.
Even with clients Ive had for years, I let them know were entering an extremely important phase of our relationship, a phase that will take them out several years to their retirement at the age they specify. I tell them we will work together in such areas as:
? Pensions. Leveraging of the pension can involve life insurance and, typically, a review of their trust(s) in conjunction with their attorney.
? Asset allocation and re-allocation. These should reflect changing needs as the retirement date approaches.
? Funding sources. For example, is an annuity chassis on top of the IRA appropriate?