This was the challenge that educator and retirement authority Barry LaValley threw out to almost 200 financial advisors at the recent Advisor Group ConnectED Conference in Washington, D.C.
LaValley, who was presenting in partnership with Loring Ward, noted that traditionally, investment and financial planning focused on positioning the client for the future.
But with approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, the future is here NOW.
According to LaValley, this means that advisors will have to go beyond the traditional advice they provide on wealth preservation, converting retirement savings to income and estate planning. A true “Retirement Advisor” will need expertise in the life issues that clients will face as they age and the financial implications that flow from these.
LaValley noted, “A Retirement Advisor is not just an advisor who helps clients retire. Retirement is often the beginning of a client’s journey through the last third of his or her life. For some clients, that may mean that they view their advisor as a coach. For others, it might mean that their advisor relates to them as a mentor or a guide. For most retirement clients, the advisor will be a catalyst, helping them understand the planning issues that they should be aware of and help work with them on the appropriate strategies.”
First and foremost, LaValley believes that advisors will need an understanding of how communications must change as their clients age, since the aging process affects how clients think, act and make decisions. It will also affect how advisors frame their discovery process and their overall messaging to reflect the role that emotion plays in an aging client’s decision-making.
Next, advisors will have to hone their skills as conversationalists and coaches and move their discovery process towards understanding life issues.
Finally, according to LaValley, advisors will have to gain an overall understanding of how retirement affects their client’s life. Retirement is a major transition and impacts everything from personal and social relationships to leisure activities, health concerns, housing and even the client’s view on money.
LaValley believes there are six main retirement issues every advisor will need to focus on:
- Health Care Costs
- Long-term Care
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Spending in Retirement
As LaValley noted in wrapping up his presentation, “Advisors don’t have to become experts on these issues but they must have a working understanding of what those issues are if they are going to work with their clients to develop effective financial and investment strategies.”
How Loring Ward Can Help
According to Jim Duryea, Loring Ward’s Regional Director for New England who introduced LaValley, Loring Ward is committed to providing advisors with the tools and resources that they can use to build their Retirement Advisor practices, including:
- A 360 discovery process (including guides, templates, even Redtail workflows) that focuses on uncovering client values and life issues that will form the foundation of their long-term financial goals for retirement
- A durable Asset Class investment philosophy designed to give clients the highest probability of achieving their retirement goals for their chosen level of risk
- Ongoing education seminars, workshops and materials for advisors to help them understand and address elder issues
As Duryea observed, “When you combine Loring Ward’s experience in building portfolios with our discovery tools and our training and education programs, we believe we can help committed advisors make a real difference for their aging clients.”