As Baby Boomers set up to retire, a battle is waged in the financial industry. Financial advisers, even bankers, insurance agents and brokers at securities companies, are trying to win over as many clients as possible. Now more then ever, long-term financial planning is needed to secure retirement money for the retiring generation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
There is "an enormous wealth opportunity for advisers," says Martha Willis, executive vice president at Fidelity Investments' Institutional Services unit. According to Boston-based Financial Research Corp., more than $2 trillion will be moved out of corporate-benefit plans and into IRAs over the next five-years, as soon-to-retire Boomers look for more investment choices in an effort to ensure financial stability during their post-working years.
The Journal reported that advisers say it is recommended for individuals to have a plan intended to generate a steady income as well as to keep on accumulating assets. To know just how to formulate such a plan, each advisor must first evaluate how much their clients will get from Social Security benefits, how much savings they have and what their current investments will yield. For advisers, planning in this fashion can bring in high profits.
"Clients are very clearly telling us that they are willing to consolidate their assets to the firms and financial consultants who can help them develop a retirement-income plan," says Suzanne Chochrek, director of retirement services at RBC Dain Rauscher.
Thus, RBC Dain Rauscher recently introduced a program that will help their financial advisers with retirement planning for their clients. The idea is to have two portfolios for each customer. One will take care of guaranteed payouts through retirement years, with the payments coming from investment-grade bonds. The second portfolio will consist of stocks and bonds that will hopefully bring in even higher returns. The second portfolio's profits are meant to replenish what the client has spent out of his bond portfolio.
Adam Brooks, an RBC adviser, says the two-portfolio strategy may allow investors to "not have to worry about the day-to-day fluctuations of their investments" while providing them assurance about their retirement income.
"We have a client who saved aggressively, invested wisely, and did everything right to achieve financial security. But the market volatility still created sleepless nights for him," With the "growth-to-income" plan, Brooks says, his client is able to "enjoy the fruit [finally]."
Another issue is clients' usage of assets. Advanced estate planning is crucial to avoid higher tax brackets, and to ensure that there will be something left over for the inheritors. If the client is trying to leave an inheritance, early transfer of wealth may be necessary to avoid the fees and taxes that come along with inheritance. Advisers have to take more of "a wealth-management approach" to ensure clients' increasingly sophisticated needs are met, says Ellen Breslow, managing director of financial-planning services at Smith Barney in New York. "It's not just about investments."
Many retirement planners stress that it is important to know your client, to truly wage a long-lasting relationship with them. That can lead to understanding what the client wants better, and avoiding the overspending many clients are prone to. A recent survey by OppenheimerFunds Inc. said of 1,000 Americans ages 45 to 75, with 600 retirees and 400 workers, 98% of the retirees regret how they spent money before retirement.