Will Social Security Income Planning Fulfill My Purpose and be a Business Builder?
By Martha Shedden and Frank HorathMr. Horath is the author of the eBook, “How to Grow Your Financial Practice with Social Security Income Planning,” and a Social Security Specialist . He is the Principal of ClientFirst Financial, an independent firm. Connect with him by e-mail: [email protected] Visit www.clientfirst.info. Martha Shedden is an associate and Social Security specialist with ClientFirst. Connect with her by e-mail: [email protected] Visit www.clientfirst.info.
Part 1 in a 4-part series
Becoming fluent on how to help your clients maximize and optimize their Social Security income election can essentially guarantee you a large, captive client audience for your financial services and products.
Consumers are looking closely at Social Security to harvest more income. The variance between a poor and really sound income election decision can be in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars over a couple’s and single’s lifetime—in today’s dollars!
Very few financial professionals understand how to calculate, distill, and optimize the multitude of strategies available to couples and singles to optimize their Social Security income election. Once you’ve mastered tools to guide clients through the Social Security election maze, you’ll have addressed an issue that is very near and dear to them. By helping them solve this problem, you can grow both your practice revenue and level of client satisfaction.
By providing Social Security income planning services, you will spread goodwill and generate concrete solutions for your clients. As always, by serving, the “law of reciprocity” will tend to ultimately work in your favor resulting in both more business and greater personal gratification.
Existing Clients – Solving a good client’s Social Security planning need will help minimize your risk of losing them to a competitor who is educating them about Social Security. Furthermore, if you help them with Social Security, there’s a good chance they might say something like this to their family and friends… “Our advisor not only takes care of our investments/portfolio, but he/she takes time to help us maximize our Social Security… he/she really does care about us!”
The Social Security income topic is very well received by the public through everyday conversation, print, radio and social media. Initiating Social Security income planning conversations frequently results in fruitful client and networking conversations. The general public readership (e.g. print newspaper) responds quite favorably to articles on the various Social Security income planning topics. I’ve personally received a multitude of call-in inquiries from articles I’ve written for local newspapers.
Direct mail marketing has been shown to provide a productive return on your marketing investment dollar. Mail pieces on Social Security income optimization (e.g. seminar invitations) have an excellent response rate when compared to many other traditional, “tired” financial product/service marketing pieces.
What Are Some of the Niches Within This Service that I Can Pursue?
As an advisor working to gain the trust of women, Social Security income planning is the perfect service to offer. It is a very natural, non-threatening topic. They will appreciate your knowledge and respect you for providing a service to them that is not merely another product sale. What better way to show you care about their well-being than to help them plan for maximizing this most important retirement asset? Advisors will not only be providing a valuable service to their existing clients, but will become known in their community as the one to go to for this service.
The Social Security election decision is critical for women due to their longer life expectancy, more years out of the workforce care-giving, and historically lower lifetime earnings. Women often marry men older than themselves so as a couple they are the likely survivor, and the ones who will “inherit” the larger of the two Social Security income amounts. This is probably the single most critical aspect of Social Security income planning. It is VERY important for a couple to plan for the survivor income amount to be as large as possible during the years when she is a widow.
Only a handful of advisors speak with attorneys and other Center of Influence (COI) partners about how to help clients optimize the Social Security income election. In particular, estate attorneys have traditionally been somewhat inundated with financial advisors “pitching” their investment products and services. Social Security income planning is a mindful, non-threatening, constructive way to approach and educate these influential professionals.
Estate planners, just like financial advisors, want to help their clients maximize their estate value. So, these attorneys are naturally a captive audience for wanting to better understand Social Security planning maximizing concepts as well. Moreover, attorneys often have clients who need help understanding the survivor, divorce, and disability benefit provisions of Social Security, in addition to the more common Social Security income optimization issue. Consequently, attorneys and other COIs may be looking for a specialist resource—such as you—to help solve their clients’ Social Security planning needs.
My personal experience has been that advisors with Social Security planning expertise are in high demand as guest speakers for many CPA and other community association’s meetings and functions. CPAs and attorneys are also a captive audience for you to provide to them their required continuing education units. These units can be provided by you once you’re equipped with quality Social Security income optimization content and registered with the appropriate umbrella organization(s).
View The 3 Niches Video (Frank) here
How Will I Learn the Mechanics of Social Security Claiming Techniques?
Becoming educated and fluent on the Social Security income election techniques and applying best-in-class software are vital to helping your clients maximize and optimize their Social Security income election. Relatively few financial advisors are aware of the new software available for calculating the best-fit Social Security income solutions for their clients. These recent advances in technology provide you with a powerful tool giving you quick access to a multitude of easily understood and displayed strategies to discuss with clients.
The complex interplay of Social Security income election options for couples is something very few financial professionals understand and are educated enough to explain. There are hundreds of possible income election options for couples and many creative, yet little-understood, ways for divorcees and widows/widowers to harvest more lifetime Social Security income. A small percentage of advisors are fully aware of strategies such as “File & Suspend” or “Claim-Now-And-More-Later.” Even fewer advisors know how to quantify the results for these strategies and present them to their clients. Yet, these are very powerful techniques with which you can greatly assist your clients when optimizing their Social Security income picture.
By becoming trained and educated about the most common Social Security claiming rules and adopting a user-friendly software capable of calculating your clients’ best-case claiming strategies, you will be ready to market your new expertise to a wide range of prospects in your community.
Why is Social Security So Important in the Big Financial Retirement Picture?
The Social Security income and survivor benefit can be the foundation for many clients’ hard-earned retirement. The balance of the retirement puzzle pieces can, and rightfully should, be framed around this foundation. By taking this approach and guiding your clients through the Social Security Maze, you’ll differentiate yourself from your competition.
The Social Security income planning gateway provides a seamless transition for cross-selling your additional financial products and services. Optimizing your clients’ Social Security income election ought not to be executed in a vacuum. The Social Security income decision must be evaluated in the context of your clients’ 401k, IRA, pension, annuity, life insurance and their mortgage balance.
- Should your clients take Social Security now or later?
- If they take it later, how do they optimally draw-down upon retirement accounts and/or other income sources to bridge the income gap?
- Does your client need more life insurance or will the Social Security survivor income benefit be enough for the surviving spouse?
Each of these cited issues—and many more—can be impacted by the Social Security income election decision. Consequently, constructing a smart Social Security income election solution can provide you with the opportunity to review and enhance your client’s comprehensive financial asset and income picture.
The key to growing your practice with Social Security planning is for you to concretely and accurately grasp the fundamentals and common client applications in the most time-efficient and cost-effective ways possible. Next, acquire effective tools and integrate them into your practice to help clients solve their problems. Once you develop this expertise, you’ll want to market your powerful niche with equally cost-effective, time-efficient marketing tools and targeted distribution channels that are congruent with the vision, staffing, and scale you have for your practice
We are at the beginning of the baby boom population retirement surge. You have heard the numbers—10,000 turning retirement age every day. By adding Social Security income planning to your financial practice, you will be providing a service that few other planners are now offering.
Existing clients and prospects alike will appreciate your knowledge, advice and assistance with preparing for and choosing their best Social Security income election. An added bonus is that they will most likely share this appreciation with their family and friends who could also benefit and you will be in the perfect position to provide this valuable financial service.
The authors have also published an introductory article for this series, Understanding the SSI Suspend & Restart Rule- Super size your client’s social security income. View this article here.