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Clarity of Vision for Retirement Advisors

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In a static and slow-moving economy, it is pretty easy to see the few sectors that have attained velocity. Retirement advice, along with prescription drugs and geriatric care are among them, and demographic trends should ensure a couple of good decades, at least, for those serving America’s aging population. It is noteworthy that in our cover story (“Exploring Independence”), which looks at five niche areas that advisors have been able to hone by developing independent practices, each specialization is in some way connected to retirees.

Advisors catering to this segment, or hoping to, will therefore want to know that the publication of this latest issue of Research coincides with the launch of an important new book for retirement advisors — Moshe Milevsky’s The 7 Most Important Equations for Your Retirement: The Fascinating People and Ideas Behind Planning Your Retirement Income.  We have had the distinct privilege of previewing Milevsky’s work in this and the five previous issues of Research. This month’s article on Solomon Huebner (“What Is Your Financial Legacy — Today?”) is the final installment. But these heavily edited excerpts, reducing 7,000-word chapters to some 1,200 words, have of necessity omitted the gentle guidance for advisors in how to apply crucially important ideas about retirement in their practices.

Milevsky’s 7 Equations is 224 pages short, but it helps advisors stand tall. That is because, by deepening an advisor’s knowledge of the key concepts in retirement income planning, client-facing advisors can become more articulate exponents of their profession, with the enhanced credibility and business opportunities that that entails.

The 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote that “concepts without percepts [meaning things that are seen and observed] are empty; percepts without concepts are blind.”

Financial advisors, who deal with the practical concerns of clients on a daily basis, function in the world of perception and experience. But far too many are flying blind because they lack adequate training in concepts. What exactly is a present value for a future stream of income, and why does it matter? What is a mortality table and why is it useful even though we can never know the date of our death?

And there is no better way to learn concepts than with a guide like Milevsky who is gifted in the art of communicating them clearly.

Financial advisors with established practices are fortunate. There are plenty of quants out there, knowledgeable about concepts, but void of practical experience. Advisors have already done the hard part of forging relationships with clients. They are only a small step away from attaining the clarity of vision needed to become experts in the burgeoning field of retirement finance.


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