For decades, Americans thought about retirement planning in terms of a three-legged stool: Social Security, an employment-based pension and personal savings. However, all three legs of this stool are folding under the pressure of change.
Social Security is forecast to run out of funds by 2035, company pensions (as well as full-time employment itself) are in decline, and millions are facing a squeeze on savings. People planning for their retirement are looking for fresh advice to help guarantee long-term financial security.
Thanks to technology, we live in an age of personalization — from made-to-order Nike shoes to your Spotify station tailored to your specific tastes in music. In previous eras, “mass customization” was a contradiction in terms. But that’s no longer the case when it comes to retirement planning.
New fintech platforms help advisors to cater to non-traditional retirees, who are now emerging as a result of shifting career paths and work patterns. For example, is your client taking a “mini retirement” at age 35 with plans for a career change? You can use data to determine when they will need to begin earning again (and how much) to ensure long-term financial stability and see projections via platforms.
But even among the larger group of more traditional investors who plan to retire in their 60s or later, no two individuals are the same. Digital platforms enable customized asset location that strategically maximizes income while minimizing tax liability and increasing liquidity, all in line with investors’ specific goals.
This is a crucial development for advisors who may have struggled to identify such opportunities for optimization across a large number of clients. Advisors are also using data as a window into clients’ personal desires and to identify intangible necessities and solutions, such as enhancing credit, strategic debt repayment or saving funds to capitalize on prize-linked savings that promote healthy reward opportunities. The cumulative result is that the advisor becomes a consultative financial and life coach, strategically weighing in on client decision making across various areas of their lives, beyond managing wealth and income.
It’s not just digital platforms that serve as innovative enablers of personalization. The availability of clients’ financial information at one’s fingertips and the ability to visualize it has also led to the emergence of innovative new products that offer new financial solutions.
A prime example is how AIG Retirement Services. “One of the most important decisions in the retirement journey is how you turn your savings into income,” said CEO Rob Scheinerman. “Over the next few years, we expect workplace retirement plans to increasingly provide income solutions that offer new levels of flexibility and choice, thanks to modernized platforms and data that provide on-demand insights.”
We’ve been closely collaborating with clients to deliver these types of customized solutions at scale, taking full advantage of the new products available. This has been particularly important to major investment management firms we work with, like PIMCO, where there’s a need to keep up with the demands of a more personalized retirement planning space while scaling for thousands of investors.
“Investors are looking for some sort of stability in their retirement income amid a changing landscape, and they also want to align assets and investment vehicles with their own specific situations and objectives,” said Rene Martel, head of retirement at PIMCO. “Fintech platforms make it easier for even a large, global fixed income leader like PIMCO to visualize data, address risks and develop tailored solutions for investors from all walks of life.”
The three-legged stool of American retirement may be weakening, but the opportunities for stronger solutions for individuals’ retirement goals are ample. Advisors must capitalize on the new digital platforms and products available and position themselves to guide investors through their personalized financial futures.
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