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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Middle-income America is about to retire, but are we ready for them?

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It’s no secret that many of today’s middle-income boomers are near retirement age. An estimated 78 million baby boomers, many falling into the middle-income category, will change the face of retirement planning. Many are feeling under prepared for what lies ahead. In fact, according to a recent study by the Center for Secure Retirement, approximately two-thirds (67%) of middle-income boomers feel they’re lagging behind where they expected to be in terms of financial readiness for retirement. At this point, they have two basic options:

? They can choose to cut their expenses and save more.

? They can work longer before retiring.

Regardless of which path they choose, financial advisors have the tools to help them build a plan for retirement and work toward fulfilling their dreams. But have we closed the door on them?

Much of the focus within the financial planning community has been geared toward high net-worth clients, generally a more profitable business model. However, this focus leaves much of America in the shadows at a time of prolonged market uncertainty. According to the same Center for Secure Retirement Study, more than half of middle-income boomers (55%) have saved less than $100,000 for retirement. One-fifth (19%) have saved less than $10,000.

So how can you help them?

Make sure your financial house is in order. You can’t coach or teach potential clients to manage their expenses or live on a budget if your financial house is in disarray. Analyze your business for profitability, review your budget and stick to it. Your confidence in your planning strategies (both business and personal) and offerings will be more powerful.

Offer free 30-45 minute consultations for people within your community. This gives prospects the opportunity to ask questions and overcome the common objection that advisors are too expensive. Also, if they don’t know how you are compensated, how do they know you are too expensive?

Focus on the needs of this demographic within your community. You’ve spent years branding yourself. Now is the time to leverage that hard-fought positioning. For advisors who have received the green light to use social media, one option is to establish a blog of relevant topics geared toward middle-income boomers (Example topics: expense management, creating a budget, understanding your 401(k), etc…). I’ve read numerous articles recently that mentioned boomers are actively seeking financial information online; what better way than to give them a credible source of information from someone who understands their community and needs? Tread lightly, as consistency is key when blogging. If you can’t stick to a routine of publishing content regularly, think twice before starting a blog.

In the end, you may not always be able to help each prospect that walks through your door, but you will provide a great service to them and your community. You never know who that person can refer you to, and you’ll be top-of-mind the next time they are having a conversation about where to turn for sound financial advice.

For more on the middle market, see:

How to reach and teach the middle market

Panel: Middle market key to industry growth

Wake up, middle market

For more from Todd Greider, click here.


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