Financial advisors, now more than ever, must demonstrate value to clients in order to maintain and grow their businesses. But how?

Broaden your expertise

Improving lives through better financial decisions means advisors need to be current on Social Security rules, tax issues, risk management and how to supplement Social Security income by efficiently harvesting clients’ other assets.

Clients want Social Security claiming advice and expect their financial advisor to analyze the best retirement investment strategies. Knowledge of Social Security claiming options will help your practice, but so will continuing education.

Educate clients and prospects

When meeting with clients, make sure to address tax issues, risk management and how to supplement Social Security income by efficiently harvesting other assets. More Americans are choosing to work after retirement; it’s important to understand how working could impact a benefit amount. Determine how an early or delayed election will impact a client’s benefits. Examine claiming strategies under the provisions of new law. Provide clients with easy-to-understand visual graphics and use terms that everyone can understand — like dollars. If you can keep your clients from missing out on tens of thousands of dollars by analyzing the best retirement investment strategies to meet their goals, they'll recommend your services to their friends and colleagues.

Social Security Claiming: Claiming of Social Security benefits is one of the most important retirement income decisions facing today's baby boomers. While software tools have been developed to help advisors explain claiming strategies, many important retirement income planning issues require an advisor to use vocabulary that the client is familiar with, along with actionable reports that they can understand and relate to.

Risk Management: Perhaps one of the most sensitive issues that individuals planning for retirement face involve those of mortality, long-term care, and the general risk of outliving one's retirement assets.

Income Taxation: In some cases, retirees may see significant swings in income taxation depending on how their retirement income is structured. At times, projected reductions in taxation may come close to equaling the added value obtained by optimizing the Social Security claim. Maximizing retirement income by minimizing income taxation is important to include in retirement planning decisions.

Portfolio Management: How much a client has invested, as well as how those investments are structured can have a significant impact on the retirement income planning process. Since delayed Social Security claiming will increase foundational income, pressure on a client's investment portfolio may be reduced. Conversely, delaying Social Security benefits may create an income gap that has to be funded during the period of delay. Funding those gap years becomes a significant issue for clients who may not have accumulated sufficient retirement assets.