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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Are financial products too complicated?

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According to a recent study conducted by LIMRA, “the majority of financial advisors feel guaranteed income products are too complicated and seek materials and support from wholesalers and companies to help explain the products to their clients.”

“Most advisors said that retirement income planning is taking a more prominent role in their practices,” said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director, LIMRA Retirement Research. “The advisors we talked to expressed a desire for simpler, more transparent products that they could understand and explain to their clients. They welcomed education and training to learn more about holistic retirement planning but not for the expressed purpose of obtaining another designation. While they don’t want to be sold to, they were interested in learning how certain products could address the issues facing their clients.”

In the survey, 56 percent of advisors said they expect retirement income planning to increase within the next year. Also, in a February focus group, advisors said there is greater emphasis on financial planning as more of their clients are nearing or entering retirement. “Spurred by the economic downturn, clients fear they will not have enough money to last throughout their lifetime and are requesting retirement income planning.”

An interesting finding in the study saw that “the word ‘guarantee’ generates skepticism and questions from some clients who don’t believe that companies can realistically promise them.”

Ever since the financial meltdown, and to some extent even before it, the world of financial advisors has become smaller while ever expanding. The increased federal oversight is placing many, many more advisors into the “securitized” world–into one big basket where they compete and offer a myriad of safe (as well as guaranteed) products.

According to the report, “with the availability of a wide range of products, most advisors are using a more blended approach to financial planning — combining traditional asset allocation with product solutions to address the needs of their clients.”

Where do you find yourself in this new world order? Are you able to keep up with the complexity and variety of products? Are you finding yourself offering even more products now than in years past or hunkering down and honing your expertise on a select few items?


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