If clients ages 50 and older are backing away from you, you could start by checking your body odor.
The next thing to check might be whether you know much about strategies for collecting Social Security benefits.
Nationwide recently released survey data suggesting that the ability to counsel clients about Social Security may be a major factor in determining whether financial professionals keep, or lose, clients nearing retirement age.
The Nationwide Survey
A research unit affiliated with Nationwide has posted data on clients’ views of Social Security benefits claiming advice in a summary of results from a new online survey of 1,315 U.S. adults ages 50 and older. About half of the participants were classified as “affluent,” meaning that they had $250,000 or more in investable assets.
Some of the participants had been retired 10 or more years, some were more recent retirees, and some were still working.
The survey team found gaps in Social Security benefits knowledge: about a quarter, for example, said their Social Security payment has turned out to be lower than they had expected.
Only about 8% said their Social Security payments have been turned out to be more than expected.
Roughly one-third of the survey participants are working with some kind of financial professional.
For financial professionals, the key takeaway may be this: interest in Social Security benefits claiming strategies could put their current clients in play, without warning.
- 37% of the near retirees with financial advisors said their advisors have provided advice about Social Security.
- 34% of the advised clients expect to get information from their advisors about Social Security claiming strategies.
- 76% of the advised near retirees said they are somewhat or extremely likely to switch financial professionals to maximize Social Security benefits.
What This Means for Financial Professionals
Tina Ambrozy, president of financial distribution at Nationwide, said in an interview in New York that she thinks many advisors’ slowness to start conversations about Social Security benefits represents a missed income planning opportunity.