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.
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.
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