Helping Advisors Eliminate Retirement Market Barriers

Helping Advisors Eliminate Retirement Market Barriers

As more financial advisors offer retirement planning services to clients, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate from one another. The commoditization of advice, especially through the rise of robo-platforms, has magnified the challenge financial advisors face in being able to substantiate their value proposition. It can take a significant investment of time and money to differentiate your practice in such a crowded and competitive industry. But, with nearly $30 trillion of retirement assets in play, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Clients today have many more choices for how they want to receive retirement planning advice. Financial advisors must be able to demonstrate a compelling value-add that strikes at the core of what clients need from their retirement planning, which is more than just a calculator. Equally important, they must be able to deliver a compelling message that speaks to the right groups of people about that differentiation. That’s no easy task if retirement planning is only incidental to your practice.

Financial advisors looking to differentiate themselves in the retirement planning market have two choices. They can spend several years building an institutional-quality retirement practice or they can latch on to a platform that has already done it.  

By Wealth Managers, For Wealth Managers

One such platform is Retirement Solved, developed over three years by Brian Saranovitz and Lynn Toomey, co-founders of Your Retirement Advisor. Retirement Solved combines planning, process, software, and marketing to create a turn-key business building system and brand that advisors can simply plug in to their practice and go.  Brian, a former football player with the New England Patriots and a 30-year veteran of the financial services industry, took over his father Norman's business, Saranovitz Capital Management.  Three years ago he decided to team up with life and business partner and technology start-up marketing veteran Lynn Toomey.

The pair has created both the Your Retirement Advisor and Retirement Solved brands to address the lack of retirement knowledge and preparedness many Americans face. They plan to deliver on both brand promises through Your Retirement Advisor local offices and an online advice model, and through affiliated advisors who license the Retirement Solved platform.  Led by a passion for retirement research and finding the best strategies for his clients, Brian has been successfully using the Retirement Solved platform in his local practice in Massachusetts. Backed by research, technology and a proven process, Retirement Solved engages, educates and guides clients to better retirement outcomes.

During an 18 month pilot phase, Brian has increased AUM by $15 million with his target group of 55-70 years old, an amount he says will be more than attainable each year now that the system has been tested, tweaked and proven. Your Retirement Advisor now manages $40 million just within its Central Massachusetts location.

A Disciplined, Repeatable Process

Retirement Solved has four components that advisors have access to: Planning, Process, Technology and Marketing. The four components work in conjunction with one another to create an efficient and easy to follow, turn-key system. Brian says the planning process aims to serve the best interest of clients as a fiduciary in the DOL landscape.  The system has also been compliance approved with Cetera Advisor Networks, Your Retirement Advisor's broker-dealer.

Retirement Solved takes an unconventional approach to retirement planning and income strategies. As the company's website says, "We’re building a network of old(er) dogs with new tricks (along with some young pups too). The profession is changing...are you?"  The Retirement Solved approach is not for everyone, but it is for anyone who wants to breathe new life into an existing practice or open a new practice in a new location.

Related: 25 Ways to Promote and Distribute Your White Paper

Growth Ambitions

As a 30-year start-up, Your Retirement Advisor is growing from a local advisory firm with 3 Massachusetts-based offices to what Brian and Lynn plan to be a large independent registered investment advisory firm down the road. Staking out a small claim of the $30 trillion market, their ultimate goal is to grow AUM to $1 billion within 5 years, while helping as many advisors stake their claim in this market, and together helping as many retirees as possible secure their financial futures.

Thus far, the firm has grown organically, largely through the around-the-clock efforts of Brian as the advisory face of the business, Lynn as the operations and marketing lead, and Retirement Solved as their planning platform. The entrepreneurs are in talks with several advisors, potential investors and partners on expansion plans. And they're welcoming conversations with anyone who's on board with their vision and the opportunity it represents. Brian commented, “Your Retirement Advisor is the culmination of our life’s work. We know with certainty that our services can make a big difference for people everywhere.” 

Getting the Story Out

One look at both the Your Retirement Advisor and Retirement Solved websites and you can tell there's a different story being told here. The branding that Lynn has created combines the couples' unconventional approach to retirement planning with their personalities and backgrounds. Lynn commented, "The goal is to create a brand that stands out in a crowded (and dated) industry with lots of cliches around retirement and financial planning. We wanted to create a more relaxed and welcoming landing place, with a dash of frivolity for cynical clients looking for that extra measure of value in an advisory relationship." There’s certainly nothing frivolous about the leading-edge approach, technology, and resources on display here.

Their challenge, as with any fledgling company, is in finding more effective ways to get their story out. Their story is bound to spread organically through their popular e-learning tools and as more financial advisors discover the Retirement Solved platform. To increase the likelihood of success, they plan to target Cetera reps with their offering, engage with advisors nationally through digital marketing, and earn more publicity. It's apparent they're are off to a good start.

Dan Sondhelm
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Dan Sondhelm is the CEO of Sondhelm Partners, a firm designed to help financial clients attract investors, strengthen distribution and build brands. Dan was nominated by ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: Feb 19-23

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: Feb 19-23

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, Feb 19-23, 2018

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Don’t Get Pinged by the Social Security Earnings Limit

I’d like to introduce you to Peggy. Born in 1956, Peggy will be 62 in 2018. She has worked in retail her whole life, the past twenty-five years spent in management. Peggy divorced from her husband 14 years ago, is still single and has no children. — Dana Anspach

2. We're Back to “Bad News is Good News” and “Good News is Great News”

This week the markets shrugged off last week’s fears and went back to the slow and steady melt up, despite economic news that looked likely to once again rock the boat. — Lenore Elle Hawkins

3. Q1 2018 Factor Views

Themes established in 2017 across a wide range of markets and factors continued to resonate through the fourth quarter. Economic growth was strong and supportive of equity markets across the globe, a range of volatility measures reached all-time lows, and business and consumer sentiment remained elevated. — Yazann Romahi and Garrett Norman

4. A Beneficial Basket of Commodities

Advisors and investors that feel they are hearing more and more about commodities and the corresponding exchange traded products in recent months are right. That is a natural result of dollar weakness and yes, the greenback is floundering again in 2018. — Tom Lydon

5. 3 Trends Shaping the Future of Asset Management

As the industry works to cope with new regulation, wades through an outpouring of new products, learns to satisfy investors’ shifting priorities and manages the active-passive debate, the viability of business units will be questioned, and at times radical measures will be taken. Peter Hopkins

6. 5 Ways Advisors Leave Money on the Table, and What to Do About It

My hope is that this article points out some opportunities for you to make more money and serve your clients at a higher level and that you decide to do something about it. — Bill Bachrach

7. The Market Has Gone Wild! Is It Time to Change Your Investment Strategy?

Whether the market is flying high or taunting your emotions with new lows and some bumpy volatility, here are four things every investor should keep in mind ... — Lauren Klein

8. How to Deepen Client Relations and Capture New Business Using Engaging Content

Why financial advisors NEED to understand much more clearly the power of good digital market. With tools like AdvisorStream, it’s easier than ever to get the content you need to drive leads and referrals today! — Kirk Lowe and Matt Halloran

9. Three Ways The Most Successful Gain Big Attention

How do some firms and ideas go from nowhere to everywhere in a few short months? All of a sudden a restaurant becomes popular, a gas station gains a cult following, or a Broadway show becomes too popular to get a ticket for years. — Maribeth Kuzmeski

10. Who Are the Hottest FinTech Firms and Influencers Around the World?

"Worldwide, $27.4 billion poured into fintech startups in 2017, Accenture reports, up 18% from 2016. With so much in play, it’s not surprising that 22 companies are new on this, the third edition of our list."  — Chris Skinner

11. The New Stock Market Normal Is Not What You Think!

Many sensational headlines have been written the past few weeks about market declines, but two things have increased for sure: the viewership and the ad revenues of financial media organizations — Preston McSwain​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio