“If you had the political willingness … you could solve the (Social Security) problem in 20 minutes.”
– Dr. Alan Greenspan at the MDRT Boomeretirement Summit, April 2007
In light of the continuing concern for retirement finances of the boomer generation, MDRT, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the Society of Financial Services Professionals have joined together in a Partnership for Retirement Education and Planning.
The unprecedented PREP collaboration, representing a total of more than 100,000 financial professionals, is focused on improving financial literacy for boomers. Experience shows that the more people understand about their financial situation the more self-sufficient they become and the more they value the products and services we provide.
One component of the effort is the Financial Dignity Bill of Rights, which all PREP partners have endorsed. This Bill of Rights suggests each individual has the opportunity and obligation to tend to their own financial well-being, supported by certain rights including:
- The right to participate in employer sponsored plans, if offered.
- The right to receive government benefits, if eligible.
- The right to receive ethical and honest counsel from trained and capable financial professionals.
- The right to financial solutions involving appropriate plans, products and fair, ethical practices from providers of financial services.
There are five critical parties in this story: the individual who needs to take more responsibility; his or her employer who may offer savings and benefits plans; the federal government and its obligation to sustain support programs for the long term; the financial services industry which must continue to offer new and better products for boomers; and those of us in the financial services profession who have a daily opportunity to impact the lives of our clients.
As frontline advisors, we are the critical connection among all the parties. We have the ability to encourage employers to offer retirement programs, and to encourage employees to enroll. We can and should share our expertise and our perspective with our politicians as they sort out economic policy and support programs for the future. And, as the critical distribution network for financial services corporations, we can provide feedback and help influence decisions on products that will be available to our clients in the future.
If you’re a member of these organizations, you’ll be hearing more about opportunities to get involved. Regardless, I encourage us all to step up and do our part in whatever way possible. There are people in need … and they have a right to our help.
Philip E. Harriman, CLU, CHCF, 2007 President of the Million Dollar Round Table, is partner with Lebel and Harriman LLP in Falmouth, Maine. Responses/questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.