Research: What retirement issue has hit you or your clients out of left field, and how did you resolve it?
Robert Scott: Last year’s market issues were certainly something out of left field. What resulted was that we were proactive and made portfolio adjustments for our older or more concerned clients and adjusted them to the level of risk that they were willing to take on during these difficult times.
For those clients who wanted to take action, we typically made portfolio adjustments to reduce or remove small cap positions and move into cash in the first quarter of 2008 when it was clear we were in a recession.
What prospecting methods have been most successful for you in attracting retirement-planning clients?
I have solid relationships with three local CPA’s who refer clients to Main Street Wealth Management. Over the years, CPA’s have been the best and most consistent referrals source for us.
In my 18 years in this business, I have never made one cold call, sent a direct mail piece or conducted a seminar. I’m a firm believer that great client service and results speak for themselves.
Do you face any frequently occurring retirement-planning mistakes with prospects?
We see mistakes made by “do it yourself-ers” or clients from other planners that just didn’t put in the time and effort to stay in synch with the client’s objectives and life changes.
The most common mistakes we see with prospective clients are they are spending at too high a level to make their retirement goals a reality, and they have a portfolio that has been ignored and is not set properly for the level of risk that they are actually willing to take.
What challenges do you face when modeling clients’ retirement incomes and cash flows, and how do you resolve them?
The main challenge is to show them how expensive it is to retire and how to generate enough income to last for the rest of their potentially long lives.
Clients are generally in the dark about bonds, annuities and other fixed income-producing vehicles. One of my top priorities is to educate them on all the various income-producing options out there.
What mix of products and solutions do you use most often and why?
We use a combination of various products with the goal of taking the least amount of risk possible to the get the job done.
To generate income, we use a combination of dividend-producing fixed-income and equity mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), individual bonds and notes as well as some variable, fixed, or immediate annuities.