What You Need to Know
- A new credential, registered Social Security analyst, is available to advisors.
- Advisors find that understanding Social Security takes extra education to maximize client benefits.
- As baby boomers age, a larger audience needs this guidance.
There are many credentialed designations that follow names of advisors: CFP (certified financial planner), CFA (chartered financial analyst), PFA (personal financial analyst) and more. But a new one, registered Social Security analyst, has joined the alphabet soup.
The RSSA is the product of a new organization called the National Association of Social Security Analysts (NARSSA), which was co-founded by Michael Rosedale, a CPA, and Martha Shedden, a chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC), a designation given by the College for Financial Planning.
This new organization and program not only trains and tests advisors on the ins and outs of Social Security planning for clients — approved by the CFP Board for 8.5 hours of continuing education credits — but also has software available to create in-depth reports that project maximum Social Security benefits for clients.
Advisors who take the course are trained and tested on the Maximize My Social Security software developed by economist Laurence Kotlikoff, although other Social Security software programs are available.
Need for Social Security Knowledge
Looking to add more credentials behind his name, Brian Keith Moon, an RIA with Toro Bravo Investment Advisors in Amarillo, Texas, says he took the course largely because the firm saw “huge interest” in Social Security webinars it ran.
Upon taking the course, he says, “I was surprised how much I didn’t know. I do financial planning, I’ve taken prep for the CFP [exam], done financial planning education, but those were light on Social Security except for basics.”
He passed the test, got the designation, joined the association and uses the software. Due to the pandemic, he has run only about five reports for clients thus far, but hopes to run about five a month going forward, he says.
He acknowledges that at first he planned only to take the course, which includes use of its software, and then he realized that the tool can help in projecting the highest Social Security returns, sometimes 75% more than the Social Security Administration projects, he says.
Likewise, Will Robbins of Pacific Horizon Investment Management, a boutique advisory firm in Seattle, took the course a couple of years ago after researching Social Security training options. He says he wanted to “add a bow to the quiver to help clients.”
The training and five-module course was comprehensive, especially for “such a nuanced” subject as Social Security, and the firm acquired a license for the software, which he believes is a helpful tool, especially as it provides various filing strategies that can be presented to the client.