Retirement Coaching: Go beyond money management to make a deep client connection

Keith and Al: It's just a different conversation when you start with a life plan.

Keith and Al: It’s just a different conversation when you start with a life plan.

Episode Overview

The unstoppable pace of technology innovation and market competition could put you out of business unless you take steps today to add value far above and beyond traditional investment management.

Robo advisors, Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services, and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios are just a few of the firms who are transforming the delivery of financial advice. And these firms have bigger brands, huge resources, and offer their services at a fraction of the cost when compared to traditional financial advisors.

So here’s the deal–financial advisors who want to remain relevant for years to come, who want to maintain their profit margins, and who want to offer services that clients are willing to pay dearly for, will need to completely rethink the services and type of advice they offer.

Today’s show discusses retirement coaching as one possible advice area where advisors can add value to fend off competitive attacks.

My guests, Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence, authors of Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement, have done extensive research in how to successfully transition to retirement. We discuss how financial advisors can incorporate this type of retirement coaching and planning into their practice as a way to add value beyond investment management.

Read my article on Retirement Coaching at InvestmentNews.

Listen to the Full Episode

Five Quotes From Keith and Al…

  1. Retirement is the biggest transition people will ever make and as many as half of us screw it up. “The fastest growing divorce rate in our country are couples over the age of fifty-five. There’s a reason for that. In many cases, they haven’t thought about and planned this aspect of their life together. Another challenge is about half of boomers don’t enjoy their first year of retirement. It is one of the highest areas of depression. It’s also one of the highest areas of suicide,” said Keith. These sobering statistics create an opportunity for financial advisors to help people through this difficult transition.
  2. Financial advisors help clients increase the size of their nest egg yet it turns out, the size of your nest egg is NOT the main determinant of retirement happiness. “Certainly having a nest egg that supports your lifestyle is important, but the size of it is not what drives happiness. What drives happiness is a lot more than just the materialistic sorts of things,” said Al. Advisors can help clients understand and focus on these non-materialistic “things” as one way to add value beyond increasing the nest egg.
  3. It’s not easy but helping clients through the “crucial conversations” can add more alpha to your client relationships than any portfolio adjustment. Keith related a story from one of their workshops where they went around the room and asked everyone to introduce themselves. He said, “We were about a quarter of the way around the room and this guy announced he was retiring in six months and his wife slapped him and said, ‘The hell you are. We haven’t talked about that.'” Surprisingly, Keith and Al have found that only about one out of five couples have these crucial conversations–and there’s your opportunity.
  4. Clients can’t fall in love with an algorithm (aka Robo) but they can fall in love with you (metaphorically) if you help them reach a deeper state of fulfillment in their retirement years. Financial advisors who facilitate these crucial conversations with clients have told Keith and Al that they “learned more about their clients in a two-hour crucial conversation than they did in the last 10 years they’ve been a client.” You won’t get that comment by helping a client beat the S&P by 25bps.
  5. Encouraging your clients to “practice retirement” before actually retiring is one strategy to improve the odds of having a happy retirement. “Get your clients to think about what they would like to do when they retire. Is it travel? Is it volunteering? Is it following a cause that they’re interested in? If you can find ways to start working on it to bring that into your life today, you can both work and ‘retire’ at the same time because you’re practicing all of those wonderful things you’re looking forward to,” said Al. Just like anything else in life, practice leads to a better performance.

Five Free Retirement Planning Tools 

  1. Five Retirement Myths
  2. Bucket List Primer
  3. Crucial Conversations
  4. Four Questions About When to Retire  
  5. Assessment for Key Elements of a Successful Retirement

Keith and Al on retirement…

About 50% of people will ‘fail’ retirement.

iTunes Between Now and Success

Soundcloud Between Now and Success


Free Resources!

  1. Grow Your Business Now!: A special report on 52 strategies, tips and tools to Grow Your Business Now! This is a tremendous resource guide.
  2. 5 New Ways to Grow Faster Podcast: This is a 40-minute recording of me being interviewed about 5 new ways to grow your business faster.
  3. How to Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program: This valuable ebook shows you exactly how to design and launch a content marketing program that gets your message out to your target audience and generates high-quality leads.

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Got a question? Email it to me and I’ll give you my take on it. 

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Steve Sanduski, CFP® is the CEO and co-founder of ROL Advisor, founder of Belay Advisor, host of the Between Now and Success Podcast, a New York Times bestselling author, and an international speaker.

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By | 2018-02-21T16:14:57+00:00 December 14th, 2015|


  1. Rudy Garcia December 24, 2015 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Are you recommending using Retirement Coaching as a revenue center or a client enhancement? If as a revenue center, how do you monetize it? Thanks Rudy

    • Steve Sanduski, MBA, CFP® December 24, 2015 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      I’d start by using it for enhancing client relationships. Download the free tools from the post, get Al and Keith’s book, then start using some of those resources in client meetings. Over time, consider doing an event(s) related to retirement coaching. You might even want Keith and Al to come out and speak at the event. Longer-term, once you have a great retirement coaching system in place, you might consider charging a separate fee (or a higher planning fee) to do retirement coaching. I don’t see this as a huge money maker, rather, I see it as a way to add more value and maintain current margins in an era of commoditized investment advice.

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