Not enough financial advisors write comprehensive financial plans for their clients, according to some people in the financial industry.
And if the advisors do write them, the plans go on a shelf in the clients’ homes, never to be looked at again.
Neither of these are good scenarios for planners or clients, according to Robert Klein, founder of Retirement Income Center in Newport Beach, Calif.
“Statistics say only half of the clients of financial planners have written financial plans done for them,” says Klein.
Many in the field feel the percentage is much lower than that. Klein is a firm believer in having a plan done. “The way retirement planning alone has changed in recent years from asset accumulation to retirement income planning means a financial plan is needed,” he says.
Klein has been writing financial plans since the mid-1980s and he says it is much easier and less time consuming than it used to be because of advances in technology and account aggregation.
However, many plans sit on a shelf in a client’s home, “never to be read, let alone updated, again,” he says.
“Just because your plan got you to retirement does not mean it will get you through retirement,” Klein advises clients. “If you are retired and you have not had a retirement income planning checkup lately, it’s probably time to dust off your retirement plan.”
Writing a holistic financial plan for a client can also be good for the advisor, says Charlie Gipple, national director of index products for Genworth, who says only a small minority of advisors write plans.
The days of transaction-based relationships are gone, Gipple says. “It is now about planning and helping clients through life stages. Retirement is much more complicated than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Now it is about risk management.” Financial advisors who do written plans for their clients get a better view of what the client needs, and they sell more products to fill the gaps, he says.