Advisors need to plan for retirement, tooNews added by Benefits Pro on August 1, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Marlene Satter

While they’re busy helping their clients think about how to prepare for their retirements, advisors apparently aren’t giving a whole lot of thought to their own long-term plans.

So says research from CLS Investments, which found in a survey of 117 independent financial advisors that many have been relying too heavily on how much they might get from selling their practices. That causes many of them to put off a succession plan altogether.

CLS cited figures from Pershing Advisor Solutions and Moss Adams indicating that only 28.7 percent of advisors have defined or implemented a succession plan. CLS’s own survey results reflected a lower number — only 17.8 percent.

In addition, Cerulli Associates research indicates that 43 percent of advisors are over the age of 55 — at or near retirement age — with the average age of all advisors a graying 51. Nearly a third of advisors are between the ages of 55-64.

But even more critical is the fact that many are probably doing worse than their own clients at setting aside money to retire on. Some are putting most, or all, of their eggs in one basket, expecting the sale of a practice to be their chief — or even only — source of retirement cash.

In the survey, advisors were asked to estimate how much they’d need in retirement, a question they’re always asking their clients. CLS said in its report that “61 percent expect to need $1.5 million or more to be able to retire comfortably, with 42 percent expecting to need more than $2 million.”

“However, when asked how prepared they are to reach their goals, only 11 percent said they had achieved their funding levels and 48 percent said that they were less than halfway there,” the report said.

Moreover, more than 40 percent of advisors are relying on a practice sale to provide 26-50 percent of what they’ll need to live on in retirement. And 14 percent said such a sale would fund from 51-100 percent of their retirement needs. If their practices don’t turn out to be worth as much as they’d expected, something CLS said is true in the majority of cases because of valuation models, advisors simply put off any kind of succession planning instead of finding an alternative.

While some don’t plan to retire any time soon — more than 50 percent said they’d keep working till at least age 71, and some said they’ll never retire — the day will arrive eventually when most will have to find something else to do with their time. They should be planning accordingly, CLS suggests.

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