August 13, 2012
--- Financial advisers consider addressing the issue of Social Security with their clients to be a central and important task, a recent analysis finds. ---
Nearly nine in ten (88%) advisers surveyed for a Pension Research Council working paper believed that it was incumbent upon them to educate their clients about how Social Security fit into their retirement finances. Independent financial advisers (93%) were particularly aware of the responsibility to address Social Security with their clients, especially compared to bank representatives (80%).
Further, most advisers specifically believed they should help their clients decide when to claim Social Security benefits. Wirehouse and regional broker dealers (68% each) were most likely to suggest advising clients about claiming, while life insurance agents (62%) were least likely to feel they should do this.
The advisers surveyed strongly believed that helping their clients make decisions about their Social Security benefits was an important part of their role. Moreover, for most clients, Social Security benefits made up a significant portion of their incomes in retirement. Three-quarters of advisers (76%) discussed Social Security with most of their clients, including the 41% who raised this subject with virtually all of their clients (90% to 100%).
In around half the cases, the advisers tended to bring up Social Security, but many times it was the client who brought up the topic. Advisers generally raised the issue of Social Security to clients around a median age of 55. When clients raised the issue, the discussion started later, at a median age of 60.