Explaining the Importance of a Retirement Plan


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An Edward Jones study done earlier this year found that 51 percent of Americans aren’t putting anything into a 401(k) (retirement account). This is an alarming statistic, especially considering the average retirement age is only increasing, not decreasing. It’s crucial to explain to clients why a retirement plan is important, and here’s a breakdown of how to do just that.

It’s not all about instant gratification

People don’t want to take out 2, 5, or 10 percent of their paycheck only to not see it for years down the line. Everyone wants instant gratification—to know that they can either spend or save their biweekly paychecks as they see fit. Saving for retirement is a long-term investment, and reminding clients of this is a point that can’t be overlooked. They’ll thank themselves later for that 401(k) contribution, so tell them that.

Ask them what their goals are

Put simply, not everyone can afford to significantly contribute to their retirement plan. Talk them through what their goals are—both short-term and long-term—in order to effectively hatch a plan. Maybe a client can’t put away 10 percent of each paycheck now, but plan with them for when they will be able to.

Help them visualize

Many people don’t even understand what a 401(k) is, let alone the value of it. Visuals can make all the difference when meeting with a client about retirement. Show them graphs, charts, infographics, and anything else that could increase their understanding of this tricky concept. Start with the basics, and work up to the more intricate matters of what a retirement plan entails.

Use a scare tactic

Obviously you don’t want to instill too much fear in your clients’ heads about savings, but if nothing else is getting through to them, it might help to explain to them what their life could look like without a retirement plan. Spoiler alert: it isn’t ideal. Maybe you know a retiree in your own life who wished they saved more, so use that as an example. Show clients what their future holds for them both with and without a 401(k).

If not now, when?

Ask clients this question when they bring up their concerns about retirement planning. This is especially vital when sitting down with millennials. Let them know that if they don’t yet have kids and a mortgage to worry about, this is the most lucrative time to be putting money aside for retirement. Starting to save early is the best thing you can do for your future self.

If you’re meeting with clients about retirement, and they don’t know where to start or how important planning for this life event is, then use the above tips as talking points to get them thinking ahead.

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