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Retirement Dreams Evolve; Mentors Matter: November Research—Slideshow

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In Research’s November cover story, “The Great Retirement Rethink,” Contributing Editor Ellen Uzelac examines how clients’ hopes and expectations for their later years have changed rapidly — and how advisors can make the most of these challenges and opportunities. Delving into new research on retirement preferences with cutting-edge thinkers in the field, Uzelac outlines a more flexible approach to retirement planning aimed at preparing for the unexpected.

Also in the issue, “Making the Most of a Mentor,” by Contributing Editor Jane Wollman Rusoff, points to the crucial difference that an experienced guide can make in helping an advisor move forward in his or her career.

In “A Lost Decade for Advisors?” journalist Gerald Burstyn discusses how weak market performance and erratic investor behavior have impacted advisors in the early 21st century. That impact, he finds, has varied greatly across the industry; the news is not all bad.

Click through the following slides to preview the November issue of Research.

The Great Retirement Rethink

The recession and continuing market turbulence have caused Americans to rethink retirement as never before, Ellen Uzelac reports. And that poses opportunities as well as challenges for advisors.

Delving through new research and speaking with innovators in the field, Uzelac outlines a post-recession approach to retirement. Matters that need to be reconsidered, Uzelac writes, include “everything from fees, to products, to straight talk not only about financial and investment planning but what your client needs to do to sleep at night.”

A central element of this emerging approach is helping clients prepare for the unexpected. As Steve Sass of Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research puts it, “You have to have a certain framework but you need to have add-ons for the curve balls. You’ve got to build robustness into a plan knowing that life happens.”

A Lost Decade for Advisors?

The period from January 2000 to December 2009 has been called a “Lost Decade” for stocks. And with good reason: $100,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund in January 2000 would have been worth $89,072 by mid-December of 2009.

Gerald Burstyn reports on what that situation has meant for advisors. In conversations with industry professionals, he hears the decade that has just passed described as “one in which hard work did not necessarily pay off.”

Yet for some advisors, Burstyn notes, the changed environment has brought new opportunity and success. As the ranks of advisors thinned and weaker firms shrank or disappeared, other advisors and firms remaining in the field ended up with more assets under management than ever.

“Right now, a stagnant advisor pool is chasing expanding pools of wealth located worldwide,” says recruiter Mark Elzweig. “If you’re an advisor who is still in the game, that’s a good thing.”

Making the Most of a Mentor

Having a caring and experienced guide who knows the industry is “nothing short of a godsend, especially in today’s tumultuous market,” writes Jane Wollman Rusoff.

Rusoff speaks with mentors and mentees to get a sense of how this vital relationship works and the far-reaching consequences it can have.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t use a principle word for word that I learned from him,” says Ohio advisor Jeffrey Dobyns of Lykins Financial Group about his mentor Ron Lykins.

A major obstacle to successful mentorship, Rusoff finds, is that many young advisors don’t realize they need a mentor, and thus shortchange themselves.

Measured Pace

This profile of Massachusetts independent Louis Ricciardi, written by Jane Wollman Rusoff, emphasizes the former wirehouse advisor’s penchant for careful preparation.

Whether he is choosing bonds or engaging in his trademark hobby of baking pies, Ricciardi takes a meticulous and carefully calibrated approach.

Part of that approach is to value simplicity. Clients, Ricciardi explains, aren’t “looking for the dazzle — they’re looking to understand, for consistency and for folks who will answer questions.”

Ricciardi went independent during the financial crisis, leaving UBS in 2009. In the first 10 days on his own, he moved $100 million in client assets.

Blocking and Tackling

In his latest Sales Seminar column, Bill Good propounds the importance of “blocking and tackling,” defined by marketing maven John Caddell as “work that’s not glamorous but is important.”

In keeping with that football-inspired emphasis, Good sketches out a “contact strategy” to keep you in touch with the people on whom the growth of your business depends.

Good writes about how to reach out to connections, ease prospects through the pipeline and keep clients happy with your practice. He also warns against an excessive focus on the high-net-worth segment of the market, arguing that for many advisors a larger client base is a best practice.

Economic Jump-Start

Global Economy columnist Alexei Bayer outlines a proposal for alleviating the current economic malaise.

It is a public-private approach: Governments at state and local levels should set up partnerships with industry to build infrastructure, invest in job training, fund local entrepreneurs and engage in micro-lending.

These partnerships, Bayer explains, should be for-profit operations in which corporations can buy equity stakes, which investors should be able to trade in the stock market. The tax code should incentivize companies to invest in such public-private ventures, rather than keeping cash on their balance sheets.

The Power of No Power

Closing Bell columnist Bill Miller recounts his experiences after losing electricity during Hurricane Irene.

The camraderie he found at a local coffee shop with others who had been inconvenienced gave him a characteristically out-of-the-box idea: step up your prospecting in times of disaster.

Be prepared, writes our whimsical columnist. Stock up on the items your desired client demographic needs. These may include “100-year-old Scotch, Cuban cigars and Yankees tickets.”

View the complete table of contents for the November issue of Research.


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