- Younger clients may feel overwhelmed when faced with financial decisions they need to make now or in the near future.
- Clients in their peak earning years should be focused on saving for retirement.
- Clients getting ready to retire need your guidance to evaluate if their financial strategy will last as long as they do.
Life is full of important events. And each one brings with it a series of financial decisions that can affect your clients’ finances for years — even decades — to come.
JUST STARTING OUT
For clients (or clients’ kids) just starting out (possibly in their 20s and 30s), it can seem a bit overwhelming at times. That’s where you come in. Here are a few times they’ll be faced with major financial decisions and could use your guidance.
Their first job
They worked hard in school and now they’re ready to put those new skills to good use. They may be making more than they ever have before, but they may also have more responsibilities than they’ve ever had before, too. Coach them on:
- Looking beyond just salary and examining an employer’s total benefits package.
- Paying down their highest interest loans first if they have debt.
- Signing up for their employer’s retirement plan, and contributing at least enough to get the full match.
- Building up their credit score by paying bills on time.
Few things can affect your clients’ financial lives more than tying the knot. Here are some other money matters to help them preserve their “happily ever after.”
- Review life and disability insurance coverage to ensure they have enough.
- Add their spouse as a beneficiary on their life insurance and retirement accounts.
- Talk to them about creating/updating a will to ensure their final wishes are known.
- Discuss their short- and long-term financial goals.
Buying a home
Purchasing a home can have an enormous effect on any client’s finances — especially younger ones. Counsel them on the associated costs of owning a home, such as property taxes, loan interest, home insurance, HOA fees, utilities, maintenance, etc. Talk to them about:
- Saving up for a down payment and why they shouldn’t raid their retirement funds.
- Buying a home they can actually afford versus how much they qualify for.
- Life insurance coverage to use for mortgage and life expenses.
- Disability insurance to cover mortgage payments in the event they’re unable to work.
Having or adopting children
It’s no secret: Kids aren’t cheap. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent numbers, it’s estimated that for a child born in 2015, a middle-income married-couple family will spend $233,610 from birth through age 17 on child-rearing expenses.1 But with some careful planning, good budgeting, and guidance from you, at least their finances will be one less thing keeping them up at night. Talk with your clients about:
- Whether both of them will work or if one becomes a stay-at-home parent.
- If they haven’t already, recommend creating a will to designate who will raise the child(ren) and handle finances if they’re not around.
- Getting a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) to use on day care, if offered by their employer.
- Starting a 529 plan or other educational savings accounts right away, if possible.
- Ensuring there’s enough life insurance to help raise their child(ren) in the unlikely event one or both parents are no longer around.
- Double checking that their beneficiary information is up to date.
Become a trusted resource
Younger clients may not offer a big commission now, but you can become a trusted financial resource. As their experience, earning potential, and income increases, you’re likely to be their go-to expert as they seek more insurance protection, financial, and retirement solutions.
PEAK EARNING YEARS
Clients in their peak earning years (likely their 40s and 50s) still have time to grow their nest egg, but they may be torn between saving for retirement and contributing to their kids’ college funds. Here are some areas where they could use your help in making major financial decisions:
Saving for retirement
Hopefully, your clients have already been saving in their employer’s retirement plan. If they haven’t, it’s time to put their savings in overdrive. Talk to them about:
- Boosting their contributions to their employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan
- Setting up a traditional IRA or a Roth to help maximize savings and tax advantages
- Consolidating or rolling over any funds from an old 401(k) or 403(b) into a rollover account
- Making catch-up contributions to their retirement plan or IRA if they’re over 50
Saving for college
If your clients have kids, they’re probably wondering whether they should fund college or their own retirement plan first. Counsel them on:
- The reasons to fund retirement first, since there are multiple ways to help pay for college
- How much they need to be saving for college
- Opening up a 529 plan to take advantage of potential tax savings
Sadly, some of your long-time clients may be facing the additional financial challenge of getting divorced. Splitting up a household is never easy — even in an amicable situation. Take the time to discuss:
- Securing legal counsel if they haven’t already talked to a lawyer
- Gathering information on all financial accounts and insurance
- Changing their marital status with the IRS and their employer
- Opening a separate bank account and credit card in their own name to help establish credit
- Revising beneficiaries on insurance, retirement accounts, wills, etc.
- Making sure what your client is left with is fair for everyone affected
The life insurance discussion
Life is constantly changing, and with it, insurance needs. Ask them if their family has grown or if they’ve accumulated additional assets since they first purchased their policy(ies). Make sure beneficiaries still reflect their wishes, and consider whether now might be the time to convert some of their term life insurance to permanent before it gets more expensive with age.
Remind clients that their most valuable asset is actually their ability to work and earn a living. Coverage for disability might be something to consider if they don’t already have a policy through their employer. There’s also coverage for long term care to start thinking about. Someone turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance they’ll need some kind of long term care during their life.2 If clients wait until they’re in their 60s or 70s to prepare for long term care costs, they’ll likely wish they’d done it sooner.
These clients are in their prime earning years, but their window of opportunity to grow their retirement nest egg is getting smaller. They’ll need your assitance to help keep them focused and make smarter choices than they probably made in their younger years.
GETTING READY FOR RETIREMENT
For clients getting ready to retire, things have finally gotten real. The goal line is in view, and the possibilities are now more vivid. For clients you’ve been talking to for years, they (hopefully) should be feeling confident about what their retirement lifestyle holds for them. For those you’re meeting for the first time, they could be feeling a bit panicked about their financial futures. Here’s how you can help them with major financial decisions:
Sharpen the focus on their financial picture
Clients retiring within the next 10 years will be looking for a solid assessment of their financial outlook. They’ll want guidance on setting a rough retirement date or if they should put it off — and for how long. Review the sources that will make up their retirement paycheck and look for any shortfalls. If you find some, help them create a financial strategy to address those income gaps.
Clients should make paying debt and building up emergency savings a top priority before taking the retirement plunge. Help them devise a plan so healthcare and long term care costs won’t tarnish their golden years.
To get the whole picture, discuss their plans for retirement. This can help you fine tune their retirement strategy to include any expenses that may come with enjoying their golden years to the fullest.
How clients drawdown their retirement funds is where you can really prove your worth. The old rule of thumb of 4% a year may be a good starting point for some, but it may not work for others. Discuss which sources to tap first and why. Then talk to them about required minimum distributions and the tax implications so they aren’t surprised after they turn 70½.
Speaking of health care, clients may need a basic tutorial on Medicare, including when and how to sign up. Discuss all the different parts and what makes sense for their individual situation. Even if they’re a number of years away from 65, it’s still good to plant the seed and make them aware of their options.
Probably one of the most frequent questions clients have is around Social Security. Help them estimate their payments and discuss the best claiming scenario for them as well as the advantages to waiting until age 70 to claim their benefit if they’re able.
It’s never a happy topic, but clients at this pre-retirement stage should be thinking about estate planning if they haven’t already. Remind them that it’s not just for the wealthy, and they probably have more than they think that needs to be accounted for (house, cars, savings, kids, etc.). Plus, it makes it easier on surviving relatives since they won’t have to guess or argue about your clients’ final wishes. If necessary, refer them to a trusted estate planning attorney to be sure they have all their bases covered.
Be the financial resource they need
Clients preparing for retirement need you now more than ever. They need your guidance to help them make the most of their remaining years in the workforce and set them on a course to make their retirement years their best years. Clients getting ready to retire may also have adult children that could use financial guidance as well.
Things to Consider:
- If you hear about a client going through any of these key life events, it might be a good excuse to check in with them and see if their needs have changed.
- Clients in their midlife years need your financial guidance more than ever because their window of opportunity to save for retirement is getting smaller.
- Clients looking to retire may have an income gap you can help them prepare for using different financial solutions.
1 “Families Projected to Spend an Average of $233,610 Raising a Child Born in 2015,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2017
2 “How Much Care Will You Need?,” LongTermCare.gov, accessed May 2019
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide medical, tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal and financial professionals regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as, medical, insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.