A lot of advisors claim to handle retirement planning, but special skills are needed to stand out in the crowd, advisors say.

“Advisors who want to specialize in retirement planning are taking on a tremendous responsibility for their clients,” says Robert Klein, founder of the Retirement Income Center in Newport Beach, Calif. “The advisor has to help the client decide when to retire and to make sure the client can maintain his or her lifestyle in retirement.”

“To distinguish yourself as a retirement advisor, you need to make a distinction between retirement planning and asset planning,” he adds.

Klein says he tries to gain name recognition through blogs, his website, public speaking and writing for various publications.

“The advisor also needs to recognize that retirement means different things to different people and that it is never too early to start talking with clients about retiring,” Klein says.

Mike Kasecamp of CBIZ Retirement Plan Services in Cleveland says advisors have to talk to young people, as well as those close to retirement, to distinguish themselves in the retirement world.

“There is a lot more awareness about retirement savings today and even younger people are thinking about it more,” says Kasecamp, vice president and retirement plan consultant for CBIZ, which provides consulting for retirement plan sponsors.

“The value add that advisors can have is looking at all the potential risks for retirement plan participants,” Kasecamp says. “Coming out of the defined benefit era and going into the defined contribution era, advisors need to help retirement plan participants start saving early.”

For Equity Concepts, a wealth management firm in Richmond, Va., the secret is to be the advisor who does not leave clients alone after investing their money.

“We are going to be calling clients and keeping them informed,” says Alan Dole, wealth manager. “We are going to invest differently for older clients with an eye on volatility. We are not trying to beat the market, but instead aim to not get beaten up when the market declines.”

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