What worries financial advisors the most? It’s not a seesaw stock market that can lift a retirement account one minute or devastate it the next. It’s not talk about new industry regulation that may very well impact their licensing requirements and how they conduct business.
Those concerns are present, to be sure. In Senior Market Advisor’s 2013 Advisor Survey, the economy (26 percent) and industry legislation (20 percent) ranked in the top three headaches that leave advisors counting sheep at night. (Lead generation was sandwiched in the middle at 25 percent.)
Yet when Senior Market Advisor reached out to a trio of advisors who took the survey to learn more about the daily trevails they face, we found their concerns were far from the halls of Capitol Hill or the hustle and bustle of Wall Street. Instead, their challenge is on a more personal, Main Street level: getting clients to meet with them, gaining their trust and then constructing a financial plan that will see them through retirement.
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“A good dilemma”
Stefanos Loisou, principal of Financial Strategies for Life in Middleton, Mass. and Port Charlotte, Fla., says the industry has millions of potential clients who need the financial planning services advisors can provide. Doesn’t sound like a problem, right?
It is when you consider the difficulty of trying to reach all those prospects with that message. “That is a dilemma,” he says. “It’s a good dilemma, but it’s a dilemma.”
For his part, Loisou hosts a radio program on financial issues and conducts workshops. Yet he maintains the financial advisory industry as a whole must do a better job of relating what it has to offer to the general public, that it can provide an antidote to their greatest fear — outliving their income in retirement. “We can’t help them with their health, although we can remove a little bit of stress if we provide more financial security,” he says. “We have in our industry the unique strategies and platforms that, in fact, provide that guaranteed paycheck in retirement, that income they can never outlive.”
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So, once you get those prospects through your door, what’s the next step? Anthony A. Saccaro, ChFC, financial planner at Providence Financial & Insurance Services Inc., in Woodland Hills, Calif., says it’s “gaining trust from clients.” Not an easy task when they are bombarded with negative press about a few bad-apple advisors. Because of that, prospects and clients “are very leery of making any changes. Overcoming that is probably the biggest challenge.”