Great agents do not sell products. We provide certainty in an uncertain world. We help clients achieve and maintain financial, emotional and physical independence. We provide guarantees.

But first we must inspire people to share their feelings with us. As always, you can start by asking questions, like “How do you plan to stay in control of your life in retirement?” We must have real conversations with prospects and clients about what kind of retirement they want, what concerns they have, and what retirement issues they do not understand or have not considered.

Different emotional reactions

My clients have astonishingly different emotional reactions to the thought of retirement. Some are excited and energized, because they are ready to begin the next phase of their lives. Others are terrified, because they feel like they are being put out to pasture. I actually have clients who believe they will die sooner because they are being forced to retire. Some people are uncertain whether they will ever be able to retire.

But the one thing they all have in common is the need for guaranteed income that they cannot outlive. What is the difference between an old man and an elderly gentleman? Money! Surveys reveal that baby boomers are more afraid of running out of income than they are of dying.

Rather than scaring them, I find that encouraging my clients is more likely to inspire them to take action. Here is an easy strategy to show clients that they are closer to retirement success than they realize. This strategy helps to easily determine an approximate income goal. I give this presentation to everyone between ages 40 and 60.

What I ask my clients

First, I ask for their tax returns for the last three years. From those returns I determine and write their gross income at the top of a blank page. I subtract their federal and state taxes; Social Security and Medicare taxes; and contributions to 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs and investments.

Gross incomes of $80,000 to $100,000 usually net approximately $50,000 to $60,000 after those deductions. Next I ask, “Are you able to live comfortably on your take-home income? Could you live on that income if you retired and didn’t work?” The answer is frequently yes.

Couples in these income categories receive $25,000 to $35,000 in Social Security benefits. Then I apply a low interest rate to the value of their savings, 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs and investments. For example, $200,000 would provide $8,000 per year of income at 4 percent. 

Closer than they realize

When added together, my clients can see that they are much closer to retirement success than they realized. They are willing to take the necessary steps with me to get the rest of the way there. It is simple and powerful. Try it!

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