Client Service

To Truly Help Participants, Consider Their Family Situation

Advisers who inquire about family obligations assert that they provide more comprehensive service.

By Lee Barney | March 01, 2017
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When retirement plan advisers talk about their primary concerns for clients, it usually revolves around deferral rates and retirement income projections. However, there are a handful of advisers who use their one-on-one advice sessions as an opportunity to gain insight into participants’ family obligations and goals—and they claim the approach enables them to provide a more complete financial picture.

“My view of financial planning has always been holistic,” says Billy Lanter, fiduciary investment adviser at United Trust Company in Lexington, Kentucky. “It’s a little bit harder with retirement plans because the number of participants who seek out advice is not as high as it is in the high-net-worth space, but anytime I have a one-on-one conversation with a participant, I bring up their spouse, their kids and their parents, and how their needs relate to them and impact their goals.”

Joe Duran, chief executive officer of United Capital in Newport Beach, California, agrees, saying that he believes that taking a person’s family into consideration “is an imperative. Most individuals’ financial plan will fail because of unintended liabilities that they were not aware of—their parents not having health insurance and getting sick, the distant cousin expecting them to pay for their college education, or the child who decides to go to graduate school. All of these responsibilities have a massive impact on a person’s financial life.”

When Sandra Goodstein, managing director and senior financial adviser with Wescott Financial Advisory Group in Philadelphia, begins working with clients, she asks them what impact other family members will have on their finances.

NEXT: What, exactly, to discuss