It’s a new year, and new opportunities for advisors are ripe for the picking. Are you ready to grab them? Or are you hanging on to old approaches?

Find out by answering these five questions:

1.  Do you have a one-size-fits-all approach to retirement education?

If so, you’re limiting yourself. To attract and serve more clients, you need to embrace demographic and cultural diversity.  For instance, the Employee Benefit Research Institute says Hispanic workers born outside of the United States have the lowest retirement plan participation rate of all other workers — often due to language barriers and cultural influences.  As this study found, addressing language barriers doesn’t go far enough to deal with the cultural underpinnings that may be preventing U.S. Latinos from embracing retirement savings. The approach needs to go beyond bilingual to bicultural to be successful with the booming Hispanic marketplace. 

2. Are you really ready for retirement readiness?

You’ve heard the buzz about retirement readiness. But does your strategy still focus on saving instead of retirement income? My last blog post explains why you should make the switch—and how to get started. You can also check with your service providers and third party administrators. They may have the resources you need to assess your clients’ plans and consult on plan design changes.

3. Have you changed how you approach retirement plan investment lineups?

The recession taught us that building investment portfolios based on the old style boxes alone isn’t enough. The new trend is outcome-based investing. Instead of just aligning to an investment style, this approach uses strategies that seek to minimize four key risks: volatility, inflation, emotion and longevity.

4. What’s your strategy for capturing rollover assets?

You know that relationships are key to capturing rollover assets. For your best shot at future rollover assets, start building relationships with young investors today. After all, the average rollover balance of the under-thirty crowd — $20,900 — will someday be the $119,600 average rollover balance of those aged 50-59, according to Cerulli & Associates.   Do you have a strategy for reaching young investors?  Incorporating social media into your practice is a good place to start.

5. Does your value proposition clearly define how you’ll add value in 2014? 

Don’t expect potential clients to appreciate your value if you can’t articulate it yourself. Your value proposition should specifically outline what sets you apart from the pack. Taking the time to define and refine your value proposition is critical to success in 2014. Try an exercise like this one to get started.

I’ll write more about these key issues in the months ahead.  In the meantime, consider applying this old adage to your practice in the areas above:  out with the old, in with the new. 

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