Wednesday, April 06, 2016

April is Financial Literacy Month

By Dina Mestel, Sales Trainer

More and more consumers are taking control of their finances in order to secure their future. They are seeking tools, resources, and help – but not necessarily from you (or at least not yet!). According to a Society of Actuaries study conducted in 2013, barely half of pre-retirees (48%) and just over half of retirees (55%) report that they consult with a financial professional who helps them with their financial and retirement strategies. The need for your services is there and the need continues to grow. This same study reports that an even larger number are concerned with running out of money, inflation, healthcare, maintaining standard of living, and the possibility of eventually needing long term care.[1] You are in a unique position to help address those concerns through education about saving and preparing for retirement, as well as building financial strategies around those concerns.

There are many things you can do, as a financial professional, to aid in your clients’ financial literacy. It boils down to providing resources and education about what’s out there, their options, and how they can make informed decisions about their choices. In the course of providing education, make sure you’re really getting to know your clients. By doing so, you’ll be able to uncover their personal concerns and address more specifically their questions about finances, putting you in a better position to help guide them toward their retirement goals. Preparation, planning, and methodical review are necessary in order to continue to understand your clients’ goals and help them to stay on track.

Initially, looking at a client’s financial “big picture” can be helpful in order to break down the planning into short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. In addition to a typical client profile financial analysis, this can be established by asking general questions geared toward their lifestyle, spending and saving habits, and length of time until retirement. How do they picture themselves in retirement? How many vacations do they plan to go on each year? To start, help your client get organized by setting goals, determining how much to save or invest, and tracking spending by creating a budget. Then, determine areas where you may help by providing products that align with their “big picture”. Additionally, make sure that you are meeting regularly, at a minimum annually, to go over progress and to make adjustments when needed. Lastly, always ask for referrals. There are many individuals out there that would greatly benefit from having a financial professional’s opinion. Your best advertisement is a satisfied client.

Technology can be a great ally to your business practice. There are several ways that technology may aid in your endeavor to educate your clients. Make sure that you are empowering them to use it. There are several great tools for money management available to the public, as well as a wealth of information at an individual’s fingertips to learn more about virtually any type of financial instrument or strategy for saving and building wealth. The better they understand the help you are providing the more they will appreciate your experience and advice on this complex topic.

Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange has a variety of educational pieces and tools available to use with your clients. Contact your marketer at 800.321.3924 for further information.

Dina Mestel | Sales Trainer
Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange
Ph: 800.321.3924 x119 | Dir: 734.786.6119

[1] “Key Findings and Issues-Understanding and Managing the Risks of Retirement” 2013 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey Report. Society of Actuaries. Web. Accessed on 26 Feb 2016 at

Designed for Financial Professionals.