Retirement Income Planning a Priority for Clients

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Registered investment advisors and clients seeking financial advisors are in alignment about the importance of retirement income planning in an overall financial planning package, according to two recent surveys.

Among RIAs, retirement income planning is the area they most want to become expert in, followed by estate planning and advanced tax planning, The American College of Financial Services says it found in a survey of close to 400 independent advisors fielded from May 11 to May 18.

Meanwhile, retirement income planning is also the most desired offering among consumers, regardless of age and gender, according to a separate survey of 1,157 individuals with investable financial assets of at least $25,000.

“Understanding how much I can safely spend in retirement” was cited by 31.3% of consumers as the top service they sought from a financial advisor, The American College of Financial Services says.

Independent advisors and consumers alike also put stock in continuing education: 49.2% of consumers cited knowledge among the top three attributes of their advisor, and 27.1% said it was the most important characteristic, according to the survey.

Among independent advisors, meanwhile, 58.5% said they strongly agree that the increased knowledge that comes as part of obtaining a financial services designation has helped them further their career, The American College of Financial Services says.

Moreover, 79.4% of the advisors surveyed agreed they would not have been able to offer integrated services had it not been for the knowledge obtained while pursuing such a designation, according to the survey.

“Continuous learning is critical to the growth and success of investment advisors whose value is more linked to integrated planning services than active security selection,” Michael Finke, professor of wealth management and director for the O. Alfred Granum Center for Financial Security at The American College of Financial Services, said in a statement. “Looking at the data, we see a clear need for further education and specialized knowledge in retirement income planning — it is what consumers want, and it is what advisors in the RIA community think is valuable.”

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