How to Help Clients Stay on Track with Retirement Savings Goals

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Today's future retirees face many demands on their personal finances, and they're often torn in numerous directions. They may be gearing up to help their kids fund college or perhaps trying to get that mortgage paid off before reaching the years of retirement bliss. Whatever the case may be, it's important for financial advisors to keep clients on track when it comes to saving for their future.

While personal accountability remains an important factor in reaching retirement readiness, it's often not enough. In fact, many savers don't understand the investment options available in their workplace retirement plan—and since financial advisors are the most trusted source of financial information for both current workers as well as retirees, as an advisor, you're in the perfect position to help.1

Related: How to Build Relationships with Clients as an Advisor

Three tips to help clients stay on track for retirement

When it comes to savers' retirement confidence, the trends don't look good. There's been a significant drop over the last few years in the number of employees who are optimistic that they'll have enough money to live throughout retirement1—in part because of rising inflation and uncertainty surrounding the future of Social Security. Now, only 18 percent of savers are very confident they'll have enough money to comfortably live throughout their entire retirement1, which means advisors are in a prime position to help the other 82 percent of the population. Here's how:

Help them clearly determine their retirement goals

While many workers dream about the day they can hang up the proverbial towel for good, most people haven't really put too much thought into what retirement will actually look like for them. And as the old adage says, if you don't know where you're going, you might end up someplace else. Having direction is paramount for clients when retirement planning, and workers need to have a clear vision of what their desired retirement experience looks like before a successful savings strategy can be put into place.

Do clients plan on traveling more in retirement? Spending more time (and money) on hobbies like golf or gardening? Helping them understand what their future retirement could look like will give them a better idea of how much they need to have saved in order to get there. Use resources like our Monthly Living Expenses worksheet or Social Security Benefit Planning Guide to help clients get a better idea of what to expect when it comes to their income and expenses in retirement.

Create a written savings strategy for clients

Once your clients have clearly identified what their desired retirement lifestyle looks like, it's time to create a written savings strategy to help them get there. And the “written” part is very important because people are significantly more likely to achieve a goal when it's written down.

Help clients develop attainable savings goals—like setting aside 10 percent of their income for retirement, increasing contributions when they get a raise, or cutting back on unnecessary expenses— that will lead to a growing nest egg. Identify milestone savings goals, and encourage them to celebrate appropriately when those milestones are met. Finally, remind them to regularly review their retirement statement and investment portfolio to ensure that their savings strategy is still aligned with their goals as time goes on.

Read more: How to Talk to Clients About Their Risk Tolerance

Help them build a financial safety net

Your written financial plan likely includes automatic payroll deductions to your client's retirement account with specific, pre-determined allocations going to stock and bond investments. But the stock market is unpredictable, so it's important that clients—especially those who are getting close to retirement—have an adequate cash reserve to fall back on as a safety net. Clients with an emergency fund covering up to six months of expenses will face less stress in an economic downturn or from unexpected job loss than those without, with enough cash saved to cover rent or living expenses, groceries, car payments, and the like until the market recovers or a new job is found.

Using your tools and experience as a financial professional to help clients determine their goals, assess their financial condition, and prepare a written savings plan can enhance the probability that they will achieve the retirement they've always envisioned—which is the whole goal of providing financial advice after all.

For additional tools and resources to help clients save for retirement, check out our Advisor Toolkit and Retirement Saving Resource Library. Regardless of how your client saves for retirement, we want to help them get there. Our wide range of retirement plan solutions allow you to create a flexible plan that fits each client's unique needs. To learn more, give us a call at 800-345-6363.


1"2023 Retirement Confidence Survey" Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2023.