What retirement issue has hit you or your clients out of left field, and how did you resolve it?
The meltdown in 2008 of the financial markets and the economy: this is something that can be addressed but not really resolved. We addressed it by a constant stream of letters and e-mails (sometimes weekly or bi-weekly), phone calls and face-to-face appointments.
What prospecting methods have been most successful for you in attracting retirement-planning clients?
Making sure we take the best care possible of our existing clients, ahead of worrying about generating new clients, and reminding our existing clients and other advisors that if someone they care about would benefit from the kind of services we have provided to the client, then please refer those friends, clients or family members to us.
Do you face any frequently occurring retirement-planning mistakes with prospects?
There are three common mistakes: Now that they are retired, they believe they are “entitled” to a certain income from their investments, and it is up to us to generate that for them.
Prospects (and sometimes clients) do not have realistic views of how the financial markets work. Specifically, they believe they will obtain returns consistent with the 1980′s and 1990′s, and they do not in the slightest understand how the variability of returns affects how long their funds will last in retirement.
Finally, prospects almost all accept our industry’s conventional wisdom that retirement cash-flow can “safely” be managed by investing with a total-return approach and withdrawing some percentage of the principal balance each year.