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How to outwit retirement planning procrastinators
Saving for retirement is a little like eating well and exercising — we all know we should do it, but most of us find ways to put it off until “tomorrow.”
So, how do you encourage your clients to actually make a plan and to start saving — today?
Why do we delay?
It helps to understand the reasons why people procrastinate — and there are many. It takes a lot of momentum to start the planning process. Even if they have good intentions, people may be overwhelmed by the complexity of gathering the information they need and doing research. They may not know where to look for answers, or the right questions to ask. Others may be embarrassed to reveal how little they know about their own financial situation.
Even once they have a plan, many people fail to start saving. Often that’s because present needs take precedence. After all, retirement seems a long way down the road. On the other hand, fear that they’ve left it too late can be just as paralyzing.
Tips to get started
Here are some tips to get your clients into the right mindset to begin the planning process and commit to retirement saving.
- Time it well. Retirement planning can be fraught with negative emotions such as guilt, frustration and fear. People may have an easier time entering into a discussion when they feel positive about their finances, such as after receiving a raise or bonus at work, a tax refund or an inheritance. The new year and birthdays can also be good times to reach out, because people are naturally looking forward to the year ahead and are in planning mode.
- Make the first step a small one. Taking that first step is the most challenging hurdle to overcome. Make it easy for your clients with a simple invitation to get them in the door to talk — no pressure, no preparation required. Then you can let the next steps unfold from there.
- Help them envision the future. Retirement may seem a long way off, so anything you can do to create a connection between “then” and “now” can encourage clients to act. People are excited by the possibility of what they can do once they retire, especially being able to spend more time with friends and family. Communications that invite them to imagine this reality help create an urgency to take the necessary steps to make that possible.
- Simplify the process. People often perceive retirement planning as a lengthy, complicated process. It helps if you can reassure them how simple it can be with your expertise and guidance. Reduce cognitive overwhelm by reducing the number of decisions you ask them to make. Create checklists that break down the process into small, manageable tasks. Provide lists of the documents you need. Help them track down information such as government pension estimates, and complete forms together rather than asking clients to do them at home.
- Personalize your communications. Even though general formulations and guidelines about retirement financing may be applicable to the majority of the population, many people think they need advice created specifically for them. Make all your communications as personalized as possible. Even if you are sending an article out to a number of people, address it to each individual recipient. The Carte Links content management system makes it easy for you to send secure and personalized content for each client.
By taking steps to guide your clients down the retirement planning path, you can help them create a more secure financial future.