Sixty-two percent of advisers say their clients frequently ask them about when to collect Social Security, the Nationwide Retirement Institute learned in a survey of advisers. Yet, in a separate consumer survey, Nationwide learned that only 13% of American workers have discussed Social Security with an adviser, and, among this group, 40% say they started the conversation.
This same survey found that 88% of older adults do not know how to maximize their Social Security payments, and 63% of pre-retirees are not confident in their knowledge of Social Security.
The adviser survey found that only 25% think that 80% or more of their client base understand the factors that will impact their Social Security income.
The adviser survey also found that 90% think there is a retirement readiness crisis in America, and only 54% are confident in their clients’ plans to live comfortably in retirement.
Eighty-three percent of advisers think their clients expect them to give advice on Social Security, and 42% say their clients might move to another adviser if they don’t show them how to optimize their Social Security benefits. The consumer survey found that 72% of investors would actually switch advisers if this were not to happen.
Only 37% of advisers say they are confident in their ability to help their clients maximize Social Security.
A separate survey of adults ages 50 and older who are retired or plan to retire in the next 10 years found that 27% of the retirees say their Social Security payment is lower than they had expected. Twenty-six percent of future retirees think they can live comfortably on Social Security alone.
Retirees who worked with an adviser receive Social Security benefits that are more than 20% higher ($1,500 vs. $1,234). Additionally, 88% of the former group vs. 55% of the latter say they are able to do the things they want in retirement.
“Advisers can easily build trust and relationships by starting the Social Security conversation,” says Ron Ransom, senior vice president of integrated relationship strategies at Nationwide. “Social Security is a universal benefit and a primary source of retirement income for many. However, it’s often overlooked in the planning process.”
The Harris Poll conducted the online survey of 252 advisers for Nationwide last October.
Nationwide offers advisers a free Social Security 360 Analyzer tool so that they can help their clients maximize the benefit.