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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

How to Spring Into the Retirement Plan Space

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April in Minnesota. There’s nothing else like it.

It’s warm – well, warm enough to no longer be cold.

For me, springtime has always meant a chance to try new business-building ideas in retirement planning-–some of which I’ll highlight here.

Adopt a ___

When I was out for a walk after work last week, I passed one of the many beautiful city parks that surround my neighborhood. Suddenly, I saw the same sign in the same local park that I must have passed by a million times before—and that gave me a marketing idea.

In suburban Minneapolis, several smaller cities have Adopt-a-Park programs. For this program, volunteers work all year to keep the local parks beautiful. 

How about adopting a company-based retirement plan in your area instead? It’s a new way to gather assets and open a new investment-advisory relationship in 2013.

I believe it makes a great deal of asset-gathering and business-building sense. You’d probably be the only advisor in your local market with such a program.

I’m sure the many of your best clients who are still working have good-sized company retirement-plan accounts. After all, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457(b) plans make up a large part of many investors’ asset base.

Most company retirement-plan menus frustrate many clients (and even financial-services professionals) who participate in company, non-profit and other organization’s retirement plans.

With the stock market levels at multi-year highs, now is a great time to ask those same clients about their interest in an independent, third-party analysis of the investment options in their individual company retirement plan accounts.

Steps to Business Building

First, ask your best clients for a copy of the default menu of mutual fund options. 

Second, ask them for the most recent copy of their individual company retirement plan account statement.

Third, put those mutual fund ticker symbols onto two lists and use whatever investment-management software program you have.

Fourth, separate the best mutual funds from the worst ones, and let your client know how their current company retirement plan holdings stack up.

Fifth, after collecting the ticker symbols and performing an analysis of your client’s individual company retirement plan account, do the same thing for everyone else who works at the client’s company.

Haven’t you always wanted to know what prospects own in their portfolio before you approached them? The answer is by following the steps of this adopt-a-company retirement plan.

Maybe you’ve been frustrated by a client’s reluctance to introduce you laterally or vertically to others in his or her company? You can push that concern aside when you adopt that company’s retirement plan menu!

To recap: Be sure to gather the company-retirement plan information from an existing client relationship. Take that information, along with your analysis, and share it with key prospects at that company with which you want to strike up an investment advice relationship with.

Before you even make contact with the first prospect at your client’s company, you’ll know more about their company retirement-plan options than the people that work in the human resources department.

You can prospect with anyone, anywhere, at any time when you know the menu of investment options in their company retirement-plan account.

Plus, prospecting for new individual clients is a lot more productive when you know the biggest investment-management concerns in the company retirement-plan accounts before you call.

Happy prospecting this spring!


Ric Lager is the founder and president of Lager & Company, Inc, an RIA firm based in Golden Valley, Minn. He is co-creator of the “No More Pies” investment series for financial advisors and author of “Forget the Pie: Recipe for a Healthier 401(k).” For the last 12 years, Lager & Company has specialized in advising retirement-plan participants to help preserve the value of their retirement plan in the early stages of a stock market decline and to then invest in the right kinds of stocks, mutual funds and ETFs when the stock markets move back up.


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